Tag Archives: Taiwan’s National Science Council

Taiwan’s NARLabs signs Letter of Intent to cooperate with Plug and Play

With the goal of enhancing “global excellence, local impacts,” Dr. Liang-gee Chen, president of Taiwan’s National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) led a delegation to California from June 23 to 30. Among one of the trip’s highlights was the signing of a LOI between Chen and the Sunnyvale-based Plug and Play Technology Center (PnP) President Canice Wu on June 24. PnP is a renowned global accelerator specializing in cultivating the next generation of revolutionary technology start-up companies.

The LOI signed by NARLabs and Plug and Play opens up new prospects for Taiwan’s innovative teams, offering more hands-on experiences, funding opportunities, social networking and added exposure to the highest technical caliber of assistance. It is the type of cooperative efforts sought by Taiwan’s National Science Council (NSC) to stay at the forefront of the technology industry.

On the home front, NSC has also worked hard to encourage entrepreneurial programs aimed at helping Taiwan’s young innovators to start their own business. One such program is called FITI, From IP (Intellectual Property) to IPO (Initial Public Offerings), combining the resources from Taiwan’s business and government sectors. Administered by NSC, NARLabs facilitates the program to assist young innovators in taking their ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace.

As part of FITI, an Entrepreneurial Camp is set up consisting of 200 teams. The program is chaired by Acer’s Founder Stan Shih, who selects the top four to six teams for final consideration in August.


Taiwan Tech Trek internships

This year’s Taiwan Tech Trek (TTT) program will be accepting applicants from January 9 to February 4. According to Dr. Wang Ting-an, the director of the Science Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, “TTT gives young Taiwanese-Americans the opportunity to intern for eight weeks in Taiwan so they can further understand the island’s hi-tech development.” Spearheaded by Taiwan’s National Science Council, in conjunction with the country’s leading institutions, the TTT program offers young Taiwanese-Americans a chance to intern in Taiwan’s leading research institutions, science parks, national laboratories, universities, national museums and hi-tech companies.

As one of the largest information hardware producers for the semiconductors, optoelectronics, and information and communication products, an internship in Taiwan offers an excellent opportunity for applicants to gain work experience in a cutting edge environment and also to build relationship that can enrich their future professional careers.

The deadline for both programs is February 4, and applicants may not apply to both programs at once. The TTT program is currently recruiting 230 to 280 youths of Taiwanese ancestry between 18 to 30-year old. The eight-week summer program will begin with a 6-day internship orientation from June 23 to 28, while the seven-week winter internship will begin its orientation on November 29. During the orientation, food and lodging will be provided, with a daily stipend around $20 dollars thereafter.

The Taiwan government hopes this program will build strategic relationship in the workforce, attract long-term returnees in the future and increase future goodwill towards Taiwan. To submit an application or find out more about the Taiwan Tech Trek program, please visit the National Science Council’s website at https://nscnt12.nsc.gov.tw/ttt/.

Taiwan copes with brain drain, again

It is hard to believe, but the Economics Department of  National Taiwan University (NTU), Taiwan’s top university, is unable to recruit faculty staff. Yet, this is the sad truth. Wang Hung-jen, the department chair, told Taiwan Panorama that “We had six assistant professor positions open in 2010, but only one was filled. In 2011, we mobilized recruitment through the department’s alumni association taking advantage of various salary incentives and subsidies available at the school to issue five contracts but only hired three staff in the end.”

“Global demand for talented new economists is very high. Taiwan is losing the battle due to offering a low level of pay,” said Wang. He cited NTU as an example, noting that the starting salary for an assistant professor is about NT$1 million (US$33,300) a year. While in China, many universities offer better salaries and include a housing subsidy, bringing the total annual compensation to NT$2 million (US$66,700) or more. In Hong Kong and Singapore, salaries are four to five times those in Taiwan.

Samuel  C.L. Chen, associate dean of the College of Commerce at National Chengchi  University (NCCU), said that even though his college is ranked 41st in the world and first in Taiwan by the UK’s Financial Times’  2011 list of top MBA programs, this international acclaim is of little help in recruiting faculty staff. In fact, there are currently more than 20 positions open in 10 departments at his college. They had six positions open this past semester, and succeeded in filling only two by the end of the term.

Chang Ching-fong, deputy minister of the National Science Council (NSC) said that their data has shown that at least 100 professors and researchers have been poached from local universities and Academia Sinica over the last five years, and not just to China, Hong Kong or Singapore. Non-Chinese-speaking countries such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia have also come to Taiwan in search of talent.

From 1970 to 1990, large numbers of Taiwanese students studying in the US chose to stay in America after graduation, contributing to the island’s first brain drain. Later, with the encouragement of the Taiwan government, many of these people decided to return to Taiwan to start businesses, breathing life and success into Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan’s Silicon Valley.

Morris Chang is a typical case in point. After serving as a group vice president at Texas Instruments and the president and chief operating officer at General Instrument, Chang returned to the island to establish Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) in 1987. The company played a pivotal role in  laying a strong foundation for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry.

In recent years China has become a magnet for Taiwanese talent, especially given the improvements in cross-strait relations and greater job opportunities there. With the advantage of having the same language and culture, it is estimated that one million Taiwanese business personnel, corporate executives and their families are now permanent residents in China.

According to the Institute of International Education, Taiwan had 24,818 students studying in the US in 2010-2011, ranking fifth in terms of foreign student numbers. Taiwan ranked No. 1 in the 1980s, but the number of Taiwanese students in the US has dropped by 34 percent from its 1994 peak of 37,580. However,China has surged ahead with 157,558 students studying in the US in 2010-2011, who will go on to become the backbone of China’s economic development.

It is reported that there were 84,281 international scholars in the US in 2003. Taiwan accounted for just 1,241 of them (1.5 percent), versus China’s 15,206 (18 percent) and South Korea’s 7,286 (8.6 percent). The dilution of Taiwanese talent in the international sphere and the decline in the number of Taiwanese graduates holding teaching positions at American universities is almost certain to reduce the number of scholars able and willing to “speak for Taiwan” at international forums.

Wu Se-hwa, president of NCCU said, “We should encourage more Taiwanese students to study abroad while also ensuring the quality of locally trained PhDs. Such an approach would likely resolve more than half of Taiwan’s talent shortfall.”

Lo Ching-hua, NTU vice president for academic affairs, said that whereas Hong Kong and Singapore are urban states with little room for research, and China is a totalitarian state, Taiwan, as a liberal and diversified society, still enjoys some advantages. It offers a rich and unrestricted research environment and is highly visible and influential for scholars.

“Taiwanese people who take jobs overseas don’t cut ties to their homeland. Most conduct research related to Taiwan and end up on the frontline of academic discussion and international cooperation,” noted Taiwan Panorama.

Oral history project spotlights Taiwan’s IT pioneers

Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum (CHM) and Taiwan’s National Science Council (NSC) jointly hosted a reception at CHM’s Mountain View, CA, headquarters on September 27 to celebrate a ground-breaking initiative to collect digital oral histories from Taiwan’s information technology (IT) industry pioneers.

The reception was attended by over 60 high-tech leaders and government officials from the US and Taiwan, including Jack K.C. Chiang, director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco, Joseph Yang, director of TECO’s Science and Technology, and Gwo-dong Chen, director of Science Education, National Science Council.

CHM president John Hollar said that due to the fact that Taiwan holds such a special position in the global computer industry and information technology revolution, the museum collaborated with the Taiwanese IT sector to start the oral history project with the help of the Taiwanese government about a year ago.

Ten Taiwanese IT pioneers were interviewed in the documentary including: Chintay Shih, chairman of the Institute for Information Industry, Chun-yen Chang, former president of National Chiao Tung University, Ding-hua Hu, chairman of Champion Ventures, Barry Lam, chairman of Quanta Computer, Ding-yuan Yang, president of Winbond Electronics, Matthew F.C. Miau, chairman of Mitac, Synnex Group, Stan Shih, former chairman of Acer, Robert H. C Tsao, former chairman of UMC, Johnny Shih, chairman of Asustek Computer, and K.Y. Lee, chairman of Qisda Corp. Earlier the CHM also interviewed Morris Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation.

In addition to reviewing the development history of computers and information technology in Taiwan, the interviewees shared stories of their personal struggle, the future outlook for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry and the post computer era.
Professor Kuo Sy-yen of National Taiwan University and Professor Eric Ing-yi Chen of National Taipei University of Technology were instrumental in coordinating the oral history project in Taiwan. They told Taiwan Insights that the project is the first part of an initiative by the Computer History Museum to document the global IT pioneers.

Some of these stories are already available at the Computer History Museum’s website. http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/oralhistories/