Thu, Sep 22, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Researchers team up with Canadians over nanotech

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local research institutions signed a partnership pact yesterday with a Canadian counterpart, as a part of the government's efforts to boost the nanotechnology industry.

The National Science Council (NSC), the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and the National Research Council of Canada will embark on joint research in nanotechnology, said ITRI president Johnsee Lee (李鍾熙), at a press conference of the 2005 Taiwan Business Alliance Forum.

One of the research projects includes a three-year research project covering the areas of sensors, power supply and measurements utilizing nanotechnology, Lee said.

The cooperation will start this year, with a preliminary investment of 5.6 million Canadian dollars (NT$158.6 million).

The government has allocated a budget of around NT$8.43 billion for the National Science and Technology Program for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology up to this year, Lee said.

Launched in January 2003, the six-year program is estimated to have total funding of NT$20.65 billion through 2008 from the government, according to the National Science Council.

Through the 2005 Taiwan Business Alliance Forum, the Ministry of Economic Affairs intends to introduce Taiwan's nanotech development to the international business sector and solicit foreign investment, said Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥).

When asked for further details, however, a ministry official said that the government does not have concrete plans to attract foreign investors, because the applications of nanotech have yet to find a commercial application.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the forum thus will serve as a good platform to kick-start more business opportunities.

The forum is a series of activities called "Taiwan Nano Tech 2005" -- marking International Nanotechnology Week -- which kicked off yesterday and will run till Sunday.

More than 400 representatives from domestic and foreign industrial and academic sectors are expected to attend the discussions of the forum, which will cover four main topics on the applications of nanotechnology in traditional industry, energy, optoelectronics and biomedicine.

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