The USAID BUILD-IT & Dow Vietnam STEM Program Support Student-led Innovation

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – March 9, 2022 – Friday, February 25th, 2022, the Final Showcase of the USAID BUILD-IT & Dow Vietnam STEM Program: Engineering Projects in Community Service was held. More than 150 participating STEM students from six engineering and technology universities concluded their five-month program following the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) curriculum model. EPICS is an internationally recognized model of service learning where students not only learn by doing, but also learn by creating prototypes to address social challenges. Teams from Da Nang University of Science and Technology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City won top awards for their innovations of rehabitation gloves, Assamica tea and diagnostic software for breast cancer.

This is the sixth EPICS program held in Vietnam, and the fifth year of collaboration with the Dow Vietnam STEM Program. Working together, the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance, implemented by Arizona State University, and Dow Vietnam support student-led innovation and service-learning at Vietnamese universities. To date, Dow Vietnam has leveraged over $182,000 to provide more than 900 opportunities for students to gain the confidence and capacity to engineer social innovations. Dow Vietnam provided funding for student projects, faculty support, and industry-based mentoring to motivate students to address the pressing challenges in Vietnam including recent COVID-19. The unique challenges that the students and their communities have been facing during the pandemic have inspired students to develop engineering solutions for real world problems, such as building an information managing system to help the local government effectively collect and manage information of the vaccinated population or offering an automatic robotic solution facilitating goods delivery. In addition, the students also developed solutions to help Vietnam solve environmental issues, sustainability, agricultural productivity and social welfare improvement.

Twenty-seven student teams from six Vietnamese BUILD-IT partner engineering universities showcased their innovative prototypes to judges from government, industry, and academia at the USAID BUILD-IT & Dow Vietnam STEM Program: Engineering Projects in Community Service Final Showcase hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education. This is a key program within the BUILD-IT Alliance’s mission to integrate project-based learning into top universities’ curricula, and signals the solid commitment of government, industry, and academia to integrate project-based learning into the curriculum at pioneering universities.

Judging the students at the Final Showcase, Mr. Ekkasit Lakkananithiphan, President of Dow Vietnam, said, "Dow’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. We are very delighted to support students and university faculties and more than happy to see students realize the current social and environmental issues in the community and develop innovative solutions to address it. With that spirit, we strongly believe that this STEM Program would inspire the younger generation to solve tomorrow’s world challenges."

The partner universities in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho are contributing to the program and working towards their own integration strategy. The next installment of EPICS aligns with CTU’s first EPICS course, DUT’s 21st Century Skills extracurricular program, and HCMUT’s EPICS model integration to their Introduction to Engineering and Soft Skills courses. The adoption of international engineering programs supports these leading universities in training young engineers who are ready to contribute to their careers, communities and country for decades to come.


EPICS is an international award-winning, designed-based, service-learning program founded at Purdue University in 1995. EPICS is a designed-based, service-learning program where student teams will partner with a community organization to design, build, and deploy systems to solve engineering-based. The program guides student teams through processes of design innovation, team management, testing, and presenting in technical English. EPICS projects span the spectrum - finding solutions to challenges in human health care, energy, sustainability, and more.

About the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people progress beyond assistance. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. Please visit or follow for more information.

By modernizing technology and engineering higher education in Vietnamese universities, the BUILD-IT Alliance is helping Vietnamese model universities produce graduates with the skills that Vietnam's increasingly sophisticated economy demands. BUILD-IT leverages diverse government, industry, and academic partners to directly link higher education to the needs of the private sector. The Alliance builds strategic leadership skills to help the university's own leaders advance university autonomy, improve program and instructional quality, and form lasting partnerships with the private sector. BUILD-IT supports women's participation in technology and engineering programs through leadership forums, academic initiatives, and scholarships.

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About Arizona State University
Arizona State University was rank #1 Most Innovative University in America by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years 2014. With over 100,000 students, ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural, and overall health of the communities it serves.

About Dow Vietnam
Dow has been present in Vietnam since 1995. The Company today counts around 110 employees at three main locations in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and its manufacturing site in Dong Nai Province, serving customers in the consumer care, infrastructure and packaging industries. Dow is a partner in Vietnam's economic growth by adding more value to the country's advanced manufacturing industries, providing more innovative and sustainable solutions to help Vietnam address the challenges and is a caring member of the Vietnamese community. For more information, please visit