Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Private sector urged to invest more in universities

RESEARCH The premier said the government can't be expected to fully fund high-level research and he called on industry and the schools themselves to do more


To boost the nation's competitiveness, the government will encourage both private sector investment to maximize universities' research capacities and "green concepts" in core research subjects to secure the country's sustainability, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.

In closing remarks to the Seventh National Conference of Science and Technology yesterday afternoon, Yu said that research capacities in universities should be fully open to society.

Yu said that only 3.25 percent of the total amount that universities spent on research in 2002 came from the private sector -- compared to 12.19 percent in Germany, South Korea's 13.86 percent and Canada's 9.33 percent.

Yu said universities must start to do their own fundraising, which would also help them to distinguish themselves.

"Universities can't just rely on the government," he said.

Yu said that there might be adequate numbers of researchers in some fields but more are needed in fields such as international affairs and interdisciplinary studies.

Conclusions made by the conference suggest that the government's budget for science and technology grow annually by at least 15 percent because the Executive Yuan aims to increase related R&D investment to at least 3 percent of GDP by next year.

However, the estimation is based on private sector investment in R&D growing annually by at least 11 percent.

"Gaining private sector support to maintain the R&D investment accounting for at least 3 percent of GDP is a way to get abreast of other developed countries," National Science Council Chairman Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) told a press conference.

Wu said that, in the past, high-tech development had helped the nation boost its economic capacities as well as make an effort to collaborate internationally.

Funding figures

* In 2002, just 3.25 percent of the money that universities spent on research came from the private sector -- compared to 12.19 percent in Germany and 13.86 percent in South Korea.

* The Seventh National Conference of Science and Technology urged the government to raise its annual science and technology budget by at least 15 percent a year.

Taking grid computing as an example, Wu said that Taiwan has great potential to play a key role in networking global scientific communities, which will rely on grid computing technology's capabilities to deal with a large amount of raw data.

For the past three years Taiwan has been part of global grid network woven by other influential players, such as the US, Wu said.

In addition to research in areas related to national development plans, such as semiconductors, life science, and information and communication technology, the conference suggested widening core research fields to "green conception" energy technology, marine science and ecology, space technology and an accelerator generating photon sources.

Wu said that internationalizing local research issues would not only allow the nation to share its ecological resources with the international community help the nation secure its position in the world.

NSC Deputy Chairman Liao Chun-chen (廖俊臣) said boosting marine related research will be a major target because the abundant biodiversity here had been recognized as one of the most valuable sources in the world.

Liao said that Taiwan's old research boats would soon be replaced by a 2,000 tonne research boat costing more than NT$1 billion.

The conference also suggested a national marine science research center be established and that the budgets for environmental education, research and preservation of marine creatures, and preserving and monitoring ecological reserves be boosted.

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