Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 4 News List

TSU legislators say Academia Sinica biased in funding

OVERSEAS TRIPS Academia Sinica's vice president said that the Genomics Research Center had researchers who had to travel abroad frequently

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's leading research institute, Academia Sinica, yesterday denied accusations made by a group of Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators that one particular branch of the institute is receiving preferential treatment while another one suffers from low funding.

TSU legislative caucus whip Luo Chih-ming (羅志明) and TSU Legislator Chen Ying-ho (陳銀河) had asked why the Genomics Research Center's budget is six times higher than that of the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology even though the two departments have a similar number of staff.

proposed budget

Luo said that, according to Academia Sinica's proposed budget, the Genomics Research Center will receive up to NT$14.5 million (US$450,000), but the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology was only allotted NT$1.89 million.

Moreover, he said, on average, the travel budget for researchers working in the genomics center is NT$390,000 per person while the institute's researchers only receive a little more than NT$60,000 per person.

unique

Academia Sinica Vice President Andrew Wang (王惠鈞) said the Genomics Research Center is a unique branch made up of many foreign researchers who are frequently required to travel abroad for research purposes.

Also, since the center is still new, the institute must send people abroad in the search for new talent, he said.

travel grants

He added most researchers apply for travel grants from the National Science Council (NSC) but when the NSC runs out of money, the institute foots the bill.

Another reason for the discrepancy is that people in different positions fly in different classes.

Wang agreed to give the TSU caucus a detailed report on the institute's spending in one week to prove that each branch was being dealt with fairly.

The former director of the Genomics Research Center, biochemist Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), became the ninth president of the institute in October last year.

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