Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) said the institution would work toward becoming a platform linking the human resources of research institutes to industrial sectors, adding that he was confident Taiwanese researchers would soon receive a Nobel Prize.
At a session of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee reviewing Academia Sinica’s budget, Wong was questioned by legislators on how the institution planned to deal with the unbalanced employment of talented individuals in Taiwan.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) said that of the more than 300 postdoctoral researchers at Academia Sinica between 2008 and 2009, only about 3.6 percent later entered industrial sectors.
Saying that he recognizes the problem of imbalance in the research sector, Wong said he is also dissatisfied with the current standard of training.
“I think we need to face the fact that training, technological development and economic development need to be linked,” Wong said. “If Taiwan wants to head toward innovation, these three aspects must be integrated.”
Wong said Academia Sinica puts a lot of focus on fundamental research, so it is understandable that many postdoctoral researchers choose to stay in academic fields, but he also agreed that the percentage of people entering industrial sectors could be increased to at least 10 percent.
Academia Sinica can serve as a platform to inform academic fields on what kinds of talents are needed in industrial sectors, as well as let the industrial segments know what research abilities are being developed in academic areas, he added.
KMT Legislator Chen Pi-han (陳碧涵) also asked whether Taiwan has the ability to produce a Nobel Prize winner in scientific research fields, like Japan did in just a few years after it announced its determination to train Nobel Prize-worthy researchers in 2000.
Wong said that although obtaining a Nobel Prize should not be the main goal for scientists, he is confident that local talent in fields such as chemistry, physics, medicine already possess the ability to receive the prize, adding that the honor would likely be bestowed soon.
However, he said the nation has to remain consistent and focused in its nomination of researchers to the Norwegian Nobel committee, instead of allowing research institutes to make separate nominations.