This is the first list the business magazine has created for Vietnam, featuring women who pioneer, or lead others to explore new areas and overcome limitations and challenges.

“I am delighted to receive the accolade but I would like to point to the many other inspirational women who are transforming society for the better each day,” said Dr Bui. “My work in Vietnam has enabled me to collaborate with researchers and experts from many countries and across disciplines to understand the concerns and aspirations of local communities in relation to sustainable development. That has been a hugely inspiring experience.”

Dr Bui is a member of the leadership team within the School’s International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM). The centre leads the way in research on higher education innovation, supporting strategic change with governments, higher education institutions and international organisations.

She has worked with colleagues globally in economics, health, infrastructure planning and more, to collaborate with local communities in Vietnam and devise development plans that mirror their values and priorities.

From a project in Yen Bai, a disadvantaged mountainous province of North Vietnam, the team succeeded in putting wellbeing on the list of key indicators for the government’s development of a province, and it is now used by local government across the country.

In Yen Bai, the team navigated tension between aggressive economic development versus quality of life and wellbeing to lead the development of a strategy that moved the focus from building large industrial zones. Instead it centred on improving wellbeing, protecting the forests, and sustaining the environment. Households were encouraged to develop their own business in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, working with existing organisations to gain business skills and knowledge.

Professor Rajani Naidoo, Co-Director of ICHEM, said: “Hong’s research illustrates the importance of co-creating solutions for development with local communities. Linking educational strategies with other disciplinary expertise to sustain vulnerable communities reflects ICHEM’s vision of innovating in education to contribute to global wellbeing.

“We are immensely proud of Hong’s contribution to transforming the lives of some of the poorest communities in Vietnam, through sustainable development, innovation and start-up support, and this recognition is richly deserved.”