Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Academia Sinica denies ex-minister involved in nepotism

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Physicist and former minister of education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) did not press Academia Sinica to hire his son, Phillip Wu (吳孟真), as a visiting academic, the institution said yesterday after media reports that Phillip Wu won the post due to nepotism.

A distinguished fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Physics, Wu Maw-kuen became minister of education on April 19 last year, but resigned on May 29 after questions arose about a visit he made to China several years ago.

The Chinese-language China Times yesterday reported that Wu Maw-kuen has been trying to secure a research position for Phillip Wu in the physics institute, but failed, as the institute was not satisfied with Phillip Wu’s research.

To smooth Phillip Wu’s way to becoming a researcher, Academia Sinica would next month transfer Wu Maw-kuen from the institute to its Research Center for Applied Sciences to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, the report said, citing academics who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The physics institute’s Web site yesterday listed Phillip Wu, who received a doctorate from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, as an academic visiting from Sept. 1 last year to Aug. 31, but did not specify which institution he represented.

Academia Sinica secretary-general Peng Shin-kun (彭信坤) told a news conference that the report was false, as Wu Maw-kuen did not exert any pressure on the physics institute.

There is no space for such pressure, as Academia Sinica selects its personnel in accordance with strict standards, Peng said.

Phillip Wu started work with the physics institute when he was still in the US and is a visiting academic hosted by research fellow Chen Chii-dong (陳啟東), Peng said, adding that he is not paid.

Institute of Physics director Chang Chia-seng (張嘉升) said he did not receive any reports about Wu Maw-kuen’s transfer and researchers who are not qualified would not be employed.

Phillip Wu’s home institution was left blank because he is not a paid visiting academic, Chang said.

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