Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 2 News List

European-Taiwan scientific research cooperation begins

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Science Council (NSC) and the the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) yesterday announced the beginning of the first EU-Taiwan science cooperation workshop in Taipei.

The workshop invites top Taiwanese research programs to participate in the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), EETO Head of Office Guy Ledoux (李篤) said at a press conference yesterday.

EETO also wished to identify ways that EU researchers could participate in Taiwanese research programs, he said.

FP7, the largest ever EU research program with a 53 billion euro (US$77 billion) budget, was launched in January this year and is projected to last through 2013, Ledoux said. Areas of research include energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, transportation, humanities, security and space, information and communication technologies (ICT), environment and health, he said.

FELLOWSHIP

Ledoux also invited Taiwanese researchers to apply for the Marie Curie fellowship, an exchange program for researchers to collaborate and spend time in each other's countries.

"Taiwan's expenditure on research and development is an impressive 3 percent of GDP; correspondingly it has cultivated many top notch science and technology developments in fields such as ICT," Ledoux said. "[The EU's] current figure is 2 percent, but we aspire to catch up with Taiwan."

NSC Deputy Minister Yang Hung-duen (楊弘敦) said Taiwan has signed collaboration agreements with 17 EU member states to help improve the quality of Taiwanese research programs, in addition to the "quantitative strength of patents and research papers we produce annually."

"FP involves only Europe's best and pioneering researchers," he said. "While the EU comes to Taiwan looking for collaboration with our top researchers, it is also a premium opportunity for [Taiwanese researchers] to learn and enter the `elite society of science.'"

ENERGY AND FUEL

"Our main interests in collaboration with EU researchers lie in biotechnology and energy," Yang said. "In particular we have will focus on energy conservation and renewable fuels."

"Since Taiwan's participation in FP5 [2005], the NSC has sponsored 11 participating projects for a total of NT$70 million [US$2.16 million]; the council will continue to sponsor each participating program up to NT$3 million per year," Lin Kwang-lung (林光隆), the director-general of the Department of International Cooperation said, adding that, "Though we have identified focused areas of research, we are open to any program of good quality."

"So far we have not set a cap for the amount of sponsorship; we encourage all top researchers to apply to FP7," he said.

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