The National Science Council (NSC) yesterday denied it was wasting national stimulus package funding, saying that a proposal to hire research assistants would proceed according to its pay schedule.
Chen was responding to media reports that the NSC plans to hire 3,500 new research assistants, offering graduates a starting salary of NT$35,654 per month, master’s degree holders NT$40,769, and doctorate holders NT$63,199, which the reports said were “higher than the market rate.”
“The reports have misinterpreted the NSC’s budget proposal,” National Science Council Deputy Minister Chen Cheng-hong (陳正宏) said.
“If you look at the budget in detail, the money the NSC will use to hire assistants is the total amount for each employee — including their health and labor insurance, as well as retirement contributions,” Chen said.
Bachelor, master’s and doctorate research assistants will earn NT$30,000, NT$35,000 and NT$55,000 respectively, Chen said.
“This corresponds with NSC pay schedules set before the stimulus package,” he said.
While the jobs will mainly be for out of work college graduates, the NSC will retain some positions for students graduating this year.
In response to criticism that the NSC was over-hiring, Chen said “our employees will be strategically placed in fields the nation aims to develop; the decisions are not random.”
“Among research projects approved by the council, only 6.9 percent have post-doctorate assistants, whereas the percentage in advanced countries generally exceeds 10 percent … We have known this for a while, but always lacked the funding to close this gap,” Chen said.