Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Conference draws roadmap for the scientific future

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Eighth National Science and Technology Conference opened in Taipei yesterday under the theme pursuing scientific and technological innovation and creating value while building a good quality of life and a sustainable society.

Attended by leaders from academia, business and governmental sectors, the conference will attempt to set the tone for developments in science and technology for the next four years.

Four fields will be the main focus of the conference: energy-related technology, wire communications, biotechnology and intelligent healthcare, National Science Council minister Lee Lou-chang (李羅權) said.

“A national science and technology project [looking at] new energy development will not only allow us to [achieve] carbon reduction, but Taiwan will also be less dependent on imported energy,” he said.

In an opening speech, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that as part of his election campaign promises he would seek to increase the nation’s research and development budget by between 8 percent and 10 percent each year in order to reach 3 percent of the nation’s GDP.

He said that he would deliver on this promise this year, adding that 45 percent of Taiwan’s GDP depends on the export of advanced technological products.

“Although the current global economic situation is not optimal, the money spent to improve Taiwan’s research and development conditions is a worthy long-term investment, even if the nation carries a little more debt and invests a little more now,” he said.

“Since the beginning of the global economic crisis, the government’s policies have generally been in the right direction,” Ma said.

Ma said that in this coming year the government would also increase the educational budget by NT$26 billion (US$781 million) so that more quality personnel could receive training in the high-tech industry.

The conference ends on Thursday.

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