Sat, Jun 01, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Tech scholarships to keep nation competitive: Chen

FOUR YEARS:The grants for 300 doctoral students should help ease their financial burden and encourage them to produce quality research, Chen Liang-gee said

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee holds up a placard at a news conference in Taipei yesterday as he explains the government’s trial four-year scholarship program for doctoral students.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

To sharpen the nation’s technological competitiveness by helping doctoral students focus on their research, the government will from September offer a four-year scholarship to 300 candidates, who are to receive at least NT$40,000 (US$1,265) per month, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Since taking office in February 2017, Chen has repeatedly said that the nation could lose its technological edge because of the decline in the number of students enrolling in technological programs.

To ease the financial burden of doctoral students and encourage them to produce more quality research, Chen said he first broached the subject of a scholarship program at a meeting with university principals in January and has garnered support from Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠).

Universities can file applications with the ministry to nominate outstanding doctoral students — including foreigners — for the scholarship, he said.

The scholarships would be funded by the ministry and universities, with the government providing about NT$30,000 per student, with the remainder subsidized by schools, he said.

Scholarship recipients would be subject to evaluations and those who failed to meet the school’s standards would lose their funding in the second year, he said.

While some students might take longer to finish their program, the four-year limit was set using international standards for similar scholarships as a reference, he added.

The program would start its trial run this year, as the science and education ministries still need to ask for an additional budget from the Executive Yuan in the following years, Chen said, adding that he hoped the program could be expanded to cover 600 candidates each year.

The science ministry is to accept applications for the scholarships from June 21 to July 31, it said.

The distribution of the 300-candidate quota among universities would depend on the proportion of the ministry’s research grant to each school, meaning those receiving more funds from the ministry would also get a larger quota for the scholarship, it added.

Apart from offering scholarships, the science ministry also encourages universities to propose plans for sharpening the abilities of doctoral students, Chen said, adding that it offers a maximum fund of NT$3 million annually to each school with such plans.

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