Institute calls for government support for industry, academia cooperation

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Feb 09, 2013 - Page 3

Academia Sinica, the nation’s top research institute, on Thursday proposed that the government provide full scholarships to students who intern at companies, as part of efforts to foster cooperation between academia and industry.

The research body suggested that the government could learn from the US and Singapore and expand its scholarship program that funds study at major universities abroad to also cover local and international students working as interns in businesses.

In the proposal covering higher education and technology policies, the research body advised the government to provide incentives, including funding or tax breaks, to persuade more businesses to accept interns.

A Cabinet program that funds 100 biotechnology PhD holders in Taiwan each year to train at government-funded organizations is one example of bridging the gap between academia and industry, and an effort to make use of the surfeit of biotechnology doctoral graduates in the nation, said Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), who led the proposal.

However, the government should expand its reach to other sectors, Wong said.

The government should also take the initiative to understand the needs of industry to ensure that the research projects cover issues that are vital to these industries.

An example of this issue-oriented approach is a call in the US for gene-related research projects in return for US$3.8 billion in funding, a decision that generated hundreds of billions of US dollars in revenue, he said.

The project benefitted various sectors ranging from precision instruments and nanotechnology to agricultural biotechnology and environmental protection, he added.

Wong suggested that Taiwan should learn from the US in fostering discussion between education institutions and industry to identify projects deemed important, so that limited resources can be put to their best use.