Sat, Jun 04, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Liao named Academia Sinica head

‘BACK TO NORMAL’:Tsai appointed James C. Liao out of respect for the institution’s vote, despite controversy over its late rule changes and leak of the candidates list

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Academia Sinica research fellow James C. Liao, who was appointed by President Tsai Ing-wen as Academia Sinica president yesterday, is pictured in a photograph dated last year.

Photo courtesy of the Academia Sinica

James C. Liao (廖俊智) yesterday was tapped by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to head Academia Sinica, as the Presidential Office promised to maintain the professionalism and neutrality of the nation’s premier academic institution.

Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) said Tsai, along with Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Chien-hsin (劉建炘), had held a video conference with Liao, who was still in Los Angeles, before making the decision.

Huang said that Tsai made clear to Liao that she had chosen him out of respect for the Academia Sinica’s vote and to put to rest claims questioning Liao’s legitimacy to the position due to controversy over the organization’s voting for candidates to the position.

The voting process was controversial due to moving to amend the regulations for nomination on the day of voting and premature leaking of the list of candidates.

When asked by Tsai if he was still willing to take the position, Liao responded that he would gladly take responsibility for leading the institution and that he hoped to contribute to Taiwan during his term as Academia Sinica president.

Huang said that Tsai emphasized that because Academia Sinica is the nation’s most prestigious academic institution, the Presidential Office is offering to do everything it can to help maintain the professionalism and neutrality of the organization.

Under the leadership of a new president, it is hoped that the Academia Sinica will return to normal and continue to produce high-quality academic findings, Huang said.

The Presidential Office is to officially notify Academia Sinica of Tsai’s decision shortly, and is to announce the official appointment in the coming days, Huang said.

The Presidential Office said that Liao: received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2010; became a member of the National Academy of Engineering in the US and received the ENI Award for Renewable Energies in 2013; received the NAS Industrial Application of Science award from the US National Academy of Sciences in 2014; became a member of the US National Academy of Sciences last year; and became a member of the US National Academy of Inventors this year.

Liao received a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987 and is currently the chair of bioengineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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