Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Science, EPA ministers take posts

IN WITH THE NEW:Both the new EPA head and the first-ever minister of science pledged to continue where their predecessors left off, but also devise new policies

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

From left to right, newly appointed Minister of Science and Technology Simon Chang, President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo and former National Science Council minister Cyrus Chu applaud at the ministry’s inauguration ceremony yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Minister of Science and Technology Simon Chang (張善政) yesterday vowed that his newly formed ministry would make good use of the nation’s financial and human resources to serve as a catalyst for Taiwan’s technological development.

Chang made the remarks at the ministry’s inauguration ceremony, which was attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) and Cyrus Chu (朱敬一), the former head of the ministry’s predecessor: the National Science Council.

Chang said he plans to continue the council’s policy of subsidizing academic programs and fostering collaboration between the technology and science industries and the education sector, but also pledged to have the ministry serve as a platform for assisting the technological development of other agencies.

“The ministry should serve as a foundation for the nation’s technological development, providing a platform for the reviewing of budgeting, expenditure and human resources for the benefit of other state agencies,” he said.

An academic research council is to be established to review and improve the subsidy mechanism under the leadership of Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), Chang added.

A university-industry collaboration promotion council will also be established, with National Taiwan University professor Lee Chih-kung (李世光) as its convener, that will aim to link research with the needs of related industries, he added.

The minister said he wants to focus on encouraging research and innovation, improving the linkages between the academic and industrial sectors, cultivating practical research talent, as well as on strengthening the application of technology in cultural and daily life.

At the ceremony, Chu said he wished to pass three features of the council on to Chang, with the first being that: “We never allowed ourselves to be lobbied or influenced by government officials or legislators. This is a good tradition that we hope the new minister can continue.”

The second feature Chu listed regarded basic and application research, with the last being balancing environmental protection with development at science parks.

A handover ceremony was also held at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday, with new EPA Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) pledging to devote the expertise and experience that he has accumulated over the past 43 years to the nation.

“I grew up drinking Taiwan’s water, eating Taiwan’s rice, so I want to pay the nation back by devoting myself to mother Taiwan,” the former National Taiwan University geology professor said.

Wei said that the EPA’s establishment in 1987 marked a paradigm shift in national attitudes toward the relationship between humans and their environment, a shift that made sustainable development a national goal.

He vowed that under his stewardship, the environmental agency’s policies will be based on the principles of “thinking globally and acting locally.”

Wei said his first priority in his new role will be to complete the transformation of the EPA into the ministry of environment and natural resources.

The ceremony ended with a hug between Wei and his predecessor, Stephen Shen (沈世宏), who was bid farewell by more than 100 of his former staff as he head toward the nearest MRT station.

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