Since 1982, the Grenoble University of Technology (INP Grenoble, France) plays a crucial role in the French-Vietnamese cooperation in Engineering Sciences with the three Universities of Technology in Vietnam. INP Grenoble has been receiving and training around 350 Vietnamese students, in which more than a hundred have become PhDs in engineering sciences.

In 1996, INP Grenoble is one of the 6 French Grandes Ecoles constituting the consortium for the ambitious project P.F.I.E.V (Training program for engineers of excellence in Vietnam). At the same time, Vietnamese colleagues from the Hanoi University of Technology (HUT) which is one of the big four Universities of Technology in Vietnam, planned to build 2 MASTERS programs in Signal Processing with high scientific and pedagogic levels: the MASTER Instrumentation and Control Systems (ICS) and the MASTER Information Processing and Communication (IPC). After 3 years with great efforts of INP Grenoble and HUT, P.F.I.E.V started in September 1999, and the first class of students started and run in October 1999. The opening ceremony of these ICS and IPC MASTER programs has been hold in the 18th February 2000 in Hanoi.

It is necessary for education programs with high scientific and technological level in associated with research activities. Since the beginning of this French-Vietnamese universities cooperation programs, it is brought into in issue that the formation and teaching aspect must be completed imperatively by the development of concerted, well-thought actions in fundamental and applied scientific research. Therefore, one of the biggest objectives in this cooperation project is to build in Hanoi a Research Center, which specializes in the domains of signal processing and multimedia information systems. This project of building constitutes the research aspect as core action in the cooperation program.

The economic stakes linked with the information processing techniques are very important. The development of such technologies will be a major asset for a developing country. Accordingly, the Vietnamese government decided to invest and give funding for the development of information technologies and software engineering since it would be one of priorities of the country development, as well as on the industrial level rather than on the university teaching level. In August 2000, a budget of around 500 million US dollars had been given for this priority development for the five years. An idea of establishing MICA International Research Center perfectly fitted in this priority axis defined by the Vietnamese authorities. Hence, it has been built to answer to many preoccupations in relation to the evolution of the information technologies and the computer-aided instrumentation at present for one part, and to contribute to the development of Vietnam, as well on the industrial level.

As a Research Center, the MICA laboratory has defined four major sociological objectives in the covered domains:

  • Developing quality research actions
  • Validating these research actions by hardware and software achievements
  • Transferring the knowledge and the know-how to the students, the lecturers of the Vietnamese universities, but also and above all to the Vietnamese industries by helping to develop with them and for them the hardware and software tools that they missed currently
  • Reaching an international level

From its establishment, the MICA Center is composed of two principal research teams:

  • The TIM team (Multimedia Information Processing or Traitement de l'Information Multimédia in french), which develops fundamental research actions in the domains of speech, image and multimedia information;
  • The SIA team (Advanced Instrumentation Systems or Systèmes d’Instrumentation Avancée in French), which develops applied research actions with strong partnership with Vietnamese industries, in advanced instrumentation and by developing distributed and embedded processing.

Both teams are complimentary and will collaborate tightly.

These two teams gave way in 2009 to research groups more suited to quality research actions, as more flexible and responsive to rapid changes in the Vietnamese context:

  • The group "Speech and acts of communication"
  • The group "Images / videos, semantic extraction and multimodality"
  • The group "Advanced Instrumentation and perceptual environments"
  • The group "Application and Industrial Prototypes" (AIP)

In September 2011, MICA became an International Research Institute. This evolution is accompanied by an overhaul of its structure to meet the standards of the best Vietnamese research institutions. The research groups become departments and the AIP group becomes a transfer center:

  • Department "Speech and acts of communication" - Department "Speech Communication"
  • Department "Computer Vision" - Department "Computer Vision"
  • Department "pervasive spaces and interaction" - Department "Pervasive Spaces & Interaction"
  • Center of "Technology Transfer & Applications"

Since 2009, the faculties of Hanoi University of technology (HUT) have evolved in School of Engineering. The available human resources at the HUT are composed of professors of the three faculties of which the scientific and pedagogic domains are similar to the domains of MICA. These faculties are the faculty of Electricity faculty, the faculty of Information Technology and the faculty of Electronic and Telecommunication. To these forces will join researchers from other universities in Hanoi, such as the Linguistic Institute of Vietnam, Hanoi national university or the Military University. However, the MICA institute wishes to be an international structure, and we hope to welcome French researchers from other research organisms (CIRAD, Telecom Bretagne, ect...), but also francophone (Swiss, Canadian of Belgium) or from other foreign countries.

As the history of the relationship between the Hanoi and Grenoble Universities of Technology, the context of current cooperation that represents the P.F.I.E.V and the MASTERS IPC and ICS programs, and the research actions already initiated between the HUT and laboratories from Grenoble as the CLIPS laboratory, ensure about the potential success of this project. With high perspective, MICA is expected to develop in the long term and will become a reference center for the future development of Vietnam and also become a regional center of excellence in South-east Asia.