Facing a brain drain and difficulty recruiting top research personnel, the academic sector is coming up with a possible solution — adopting a flexible salary structure that encourages and rewards excellence.
The Ministry of Education has recently unveiled a plan to replace the existing flat salary structure for public university faculty with a flexible structure, with a formal announcement of the policy expected in July.
The proposal has won the support of Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), president of Academia Sinica — the country’s top research institution.
Wong pointed out that the existing seniority-based compensation system adopted by the academic sector is similar to that of the civil service.
However, this stable system provides only “false fairness,” because it does not reward research fellows who achieve excellence, he said.
Since 2002, a total of 27 research fellows have left Academia Sinica, 13 of whom were recruited by research institutions in the US or Europe, and nine of whom were recruited by institutions in Hong Kong, Wong said.
He said the new system would target new staff in the hope that personnel could be paid at a level that is competitive with international academia.
He estimated that the new system would require additional funding of NT$4 billion (US$125 million) to NT$5 billion a year and he suggested that the government finance this extra spending by raising its annual budget for science expenditure.
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