Tue, Mar 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

ITRI-UK program marks first year

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The British Office Taipei and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) yesterday celebrated the first anniversary of their joint researcher placement program, with researchers sharing observations from their visits to British institutions specialized in uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) and biotechnology development.

The UK-Taiwan Innovative Industries Programme, the first British government-funded program of its kind, was launched to promote bilateral cooperation in scientific research, the office said.

The program, with a budget of £200,000 (US$263,331), supported 11 Taiwanese researchers who conducted research in the UK over the past year, it said.

The British government has identified four main challenges — artificial intelligence (AI) and data, aging society, clean growth and the future of mobility.

The UK hopes to explore new opportunities by working with its partners in countries like Taiwan, British Representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton said at an event in Taipei.

Thanks to the office’s help, the researchers were allowed to visit various British institutions for between two weeks and two months, ITRI Executive Vice President Chang Pei-zen (張培仁) told reporters.

Following the program, representatives of Innovate UK — a government agency — is to visit ITRI today and other Taiwanese agencies later, which might lead to larger collaborative projects, Chang added.

ITRI Mechanical and Mechatronics System Research Laboratories researcher Alan Chang (張日陽) said he had visited British firms Advanced Innovative Engineering and Rotron Power as well as several universities to observe rotary engine and UAV development for a month.

Taiwan is familiar with the motors and power systems of the vehicles, while it can learn from British researchers how to develop AI-assisted image recognition and target tracking technology, he said.

National Sun Yat-sen University assistant professor of engineering Lin Wei-chih (林韋至) said he visited the University of Edinburgh and other schools to see their bacteria programming and medical dressing technology during his one-month trip.

While Taiwan often acts as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), it can learn from the UK how to improve research and experimental methods, Lin said.

He said he expects to engage in more projects combining biomedical and engineering techniques.

The office said it is not yet certain what form the program would take in the year ahead, but it is committed to continuing it and hopes to share more information with Taiwanese stakeholders in the weeks to come.

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