The nation’s leading universities are stepping up research efforts and drawing up regulations as the Ministry of Education prepares to propose an amendment that would allow them to launch start-ups to manage research products.
The draft would change Article 38-1 of the University Act (大學法), the ministry said.
The start-ups would be wholly owned by the institutes, giving them total control over areas of research, according to the draft amendment.
The proposal is to be sent to the Legislative Yuan for review by the end of this year, Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德) said yesterday.
National Tsing Hua University said that in a bid to better promote its research products, it has set down guidelines for launching start-ups in accordance with the Fundamental Science and Technology Act (科學技術基本法).
According to the guidelines, the university is required to cover 80 percent of patent application costs and inventors can receive half of the revenue gained from transferring their technology to a third company, it said.
The guidelines include rules on personnel, equipment and facilities, as well as requirements on research integrity, the university added.
It gave as an example a system invented by associate professor Tzeng Chyng-shyang (曾晴賢), who has 27 years of experience in his field, to grow giant mottled eels.
The university said it is also working with businesses to develop and utilize technologies with the aim of applying them in the food and ecological industries.
National Cheng Kung University said it in 1996 founded the Research and Services Headquarters, which serves as a platform to coordinate research projects across disciplines.
The university also has research centers at each of its nine colleges and a research service center, it said.
It has a research support network that involves alumni, firms at the Nangang Software Park (南港軟體園區) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the university said.
National Taiwan University (NTU) said it is the first university in the nation to have launched a start-up with a team of researchers consisting of faculty and students.
To better manage technology transfers and revenues, the university has established regulations for running start-up labs cofounded with companies and independently owned by NTU, it said.
It has teamed up with National Chengchi University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology to establish a “Start-up College,” which aims to educate students about launching start-ups, it said.
National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology said it has created training programs with businesses in need of high-level talent and launched several start-up programs in railway engineering and marine electronics.
While most universities praised the draft amendment, some expressed the concern that its business aspect would distract academics from focusing on research.
The amendment would come with pros and cons, National Tsing Hua University vice president Chen Sinn-wen (陳信文) said.
The amendment would be beneficial from the university’s standpoint, but there could be concerns over academics trying to make money using government resources, he said.
US universities can limit the money their faculty members can receive from businesses and the hours they can spend on business projects, Chen said.
Universities must not forget that their primary goals are to provide quality education, serve the public interest and drive innovation, Chen added.
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