National Science Council (NSC) Minister Cyrus Chu (朱敬一) yesterday announced the appointment of Hocheng Hong (賀陳弘) as deputy minister and said that finding new, talented academics and supporting their research were the council’s most important tasks.
Chu, who assumed his position at the council on Monday, is the first NSC minister with a background in social sciences. He received his doctorate degree in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has worked as a professor at National Taiwan University. He has also served as a vice president at Academia Sinica and a minister without portfolio.
As many young postgraduate students have no opportunity to do research or have difficulty finding a job in an academic field, the council would seek to give these young academics more opportunities to do their own research, Chu said.
It is important to loosen the now rigid framework of academic performance evaluations, which academics often say has limited the direction of their research, Chu said.
He added that the council would review the evaluation system and make an effort to find a solution that balances the quality and quantity of research.
Chu also announced that two other deputy ministers — Chen Cheng-hong (陳正宏) and Chang Ching-fong (張清風) — would remain in their jobs and that Hocheng would fill the vacancy left by Jou Jing-yang (周景揚), who has returned to the academic field.
“As dean of National Tsing Hua University’s college of engineering, Hocheng has abundant administrative experience and has also received many awards for his academic performance,” Chu said. “We have many similar ideas on educational reform.”
Hocheng will be in charge of supervising the field of biology and the science parks that are managed by the council.
Answering reporters’ questions on whether there would be a gap between the practical management of industries at the science parks and the ministers’ experience in the academic field, Chu said he would visit the science parks today to gain a better understanding of the current situation.
“Sometimes people from different backgrounds can discover problems previously unseen because they are looking at them from another perspective,” he said, adding that they would take time to learn about the industries and make adjustments.
“Detailed knowledge about technology isn’t the most important thing in an era of innovation, insight into the industry is more important,” Chu said.
He also said he would exchange opinions and ask for advice from industry experts when necessary.
Because of the global economic crisis, Chu said that at this point he could not promise to raise the council’s technology development budget every year, but that he would pursue the most benefits for the public within the council’s limited budget.