Fri, Jul 15, 2005 - Page 2 News List

NSC to promote scientific ties

JOINT VENTURE In order to strengthen scientific collaboration with Russia and Eastern Europe, the National Science Council has signed an agreement

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's scientific ties with Russia will be strengthened over the next three years because NT$108.5 million (US$3.4 million) will be available for at least 60 collaborative research projects ranging from basic to applied sciences, Deputy Minister of the National Science Council Shieh Ching-jyh (謝清志) said yesterday.

Late last month, Shieh visited Russia and revised a bilateral agreement signed with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) last November. The pact ensures that a mutual fund of NT$76.6 million (US$2.4 million) for joint research projects will be increased by an additional NT$31.9 million (US$1 million).

"Since we've received more than 100 proposals, which show the potentially great results of scientific research, we decided to offer more support to scientists from both sides," Shieh said at a press conference yesterday.

Shieh said that Taiwan will be responsible for offering about US$2.4 million for the bilateral scientific collaboration. The fund will be used from this year until 2007 to support three international conferences and 60 research projects with topics ranging from aerospace, nanotechnology, material sciences and financial management.

Shieh said that during his trip to Russia, a representative of Moscow State University, the largest and the most influential one in Russia, also expressed interest in working with Taiwan's space scientists on satellite projects.

"We might send skilled engineers and scientists to the university, which has a reputation in the design of artificial satellites. They would do scientific research on projects involving joint satellites," Shieh said.

Meanwhile, the council is also strengthening its connection with Latvia and Lithuania by financially supporting six research projects pertaining to nanoscience, organic chemistry, biomedicine, genetics and ecological statistics.

"We hope to extend our contacts to as many countries as we can. In Eastern Europe, we can benefit from working with excellent scientists who have strong backgrounds in mathematics, high energy physics, and others," Lin Kwang-lung (林光隆), director-general of the council's Department of International Cooperation, said.

Lin said Taiwan was interested in promoting research on high energy physics, saying that an agreement on Neutron Beam Applications Research was recently signed by the council and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization. Lin said that Taiwan might contribute NT$191 million to Australia for future use of its newly completed research facility, which cost NT$7.9 billion.

"By using the unique facilities, Taiwan's scientists might be able to learn about the structure of biomaterials. We predict that results could be gained soon to improve Taiwan's biotechnology and medicine," Lin said.

On August 1, the council will launch a new science and technology division in New Delhi to further strengthen scientific ties. James Chang (張和中), former director of the council's Science and Technology Division in the UK, will be the first chief in charge of the joint venture.

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