Science, Technology and Education News from Taiwan

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N° 06 Juin 2014 8 p.  527 kb
 

Gro Harlem Brundtland, 75, a former prime minister of Norway, was awarded the first Tang Prize in Sustainable Development for "concept, leadership, and implementation of sustainable development for the benefit of humanity"Yu Ying-shih, the winner Tang Prize in Sinology, is a 84 year-old scholar and has spent a lifetime interpreting traditional Chinese thought through the lens of modern scholarly techniques. His scholarship has taken him to schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Tang Prize Foundation noted Yu’s deep probing into Chinese history, thought, politics, and culture, as well as his interpretation of traditional Chinese thought from the perspective of a modern scholar.
James Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan were named joint recipients of the Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science for discoveries that have helped advance immunotherapy. The Tang Prize Foundation said the discoveries by Dr Allison and Dr Honjo have spurred additional development of therapeutic approaches along the line of immunotherapy and brought new hope that many types of cancers can be cured.
Albie Sachs, a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, became the first winner of the Tang Prize in Rule of Law for his contributions to human rights and justice around the world. Sachs spent his lifetime fighting apartheid, helped write the new Constitution of South Africa and was appointed by late South African president Nelson Mandela in 1994 to serve as a justice of the Constitutional Court - a position he held until 2009.
The Tang Prize was established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin to honor leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law. Laureates are selected based on the originality and impact of their achievements, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity. Winners of the award are selected by a panel of judges convened by Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institute. The panel comprises prominent researchers and scholars from Taiwan and abroad, including Nobel laureates. The biennial prize takes its name from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a period considered to be the height of classical Chinese civilization, characterized by liberal policies and robust cultural activity.
Each prize carries a cash award of NT$40 million (US$1.33 million) and a research grant of up to NT$10 million to be used within five years, as well as a medal and a certificate.

 

   
N° 05 Mai 2014 5 p.  326 kb
 

2014 National Development Council Internship Program: NDC offers summer internship programs in various sectors: formulating national development plan, international economy and global competitiveness, promotion and publicity for “Free Economic Pilot Zone” plan, national spatial planning and urban planning, planning of policies in health, welfare, education and culture, government reform, administrative supervision of government-sponsored foundations, performance management, e-government. Deadline for application: 15 June 2014. For details.
At Concours Lepine International Paris 2014, Taiwan inventors bagged eight gold, 11 silver and 47 bronze medals, as well as two special prizes. The eight gold medalists included Asia University from central Taiwan, which also received recognition for its folding traffic cone from the French Ministry of the Interior and French National Police. Other gold-medal creations were a manufacturing method for ultraviolet resistant snow fungus extract used in skin care products; a multifunctional power generation control mechanism; a rotary internal combustion engine; a nail polish poisoning preventive shield; and an ocarina that doubles as a container.
Simon Chang, head of the newly formed Ministry of Science and Technology, has expressed concerns over the future of Taiwan’s technology brands, saying they are lagging behind bigger competitors in terms of marketing dollars. Taiwanese brands like Acer Inc., Asustek Computer Inc. and HTC Corp. are all capable of manufacturing high-quality smartphones, but their market share remains smaller than that of Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, Chang said, Regarding the ministry’s policies, Chang said it will help strengthen the cooperation between the academic sector and the industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) by gradually allocating more of its budget to ITRI for applied research.

 

   
N° 04 Avril 2014 6 p.  404 kb
 

Taiwan inventions shine at exhibition in Geneva: Almost every one of Taiwan's 95 entries won a medal at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. Taiwanese inventors received 37 gold medals, 39 silvers, 16 bronzes and 6 special awards, said Chen Tsung-tai. The inventions recognized by a special award include a far infrared-based facial mask and a walking stick with a directional indicator. Taiwan's inventions were praised by the judges for their functionality and for their success in cross-industry cooperation.
A Taipei research team has developed a new kind of visible laser wireless internet technology that can transmit information at ultra-fast speeds. The researchers say it is up to 100 times faster than the latest 4G technology. Researchers at National Taipei University of Technology spent three years and more than NT$20 million to develop ultra-fast wireless internet that relies on visible laser light. It takes less than a second to download a film requiring 4.5 gigabytes of memory.
Fifteen submissions were selected to enter the second and final round for the Tang Prize - an annual design competition dubbed the "Asian Nobel Prize". The winner will be announced on 22 May. The Tang Prize Foundation says it received a total of 245 designs by local students and professionals this year.
The French-Taiwanese Cultural Foundation was established in 1996 under the aegis of the French Academy for Social and Moral Sciences with the purpose of “awarding every year two prizes for artistic or literary works that shed light on relations between Taiwan and Europe and/or contribute to the enhancement of cultural exchange between Taiwan and Europe.” Each prize rises to €25,000. Any natural person or legal entity from any European country or from Taiwan, who subscribes to the Foundation’s objectives, may apply. Candidates must produce research, proposed cultural projects, reports, publications, artistic creations, etc., – completed or still in progress – directly related to Taiwan. After filling in the form below (in French, Chinese, English or German) and enclosing the documents such as literary works, research or other cultural projects, together with letters of recommendation, the candidates should send the application for the current year, before June 30th to :Académie des sciences morales et politiques, Fondation culturelle franco-taiwanaise, 23, quai de Conti – 75006 Paris. Applications will be submitted to the members of the Foundation’s examining committee – French academicians and Taiwanese academics – in Paris or Taipei. The prize-winners will be notified by the Academy and invited to attend the Award ceremony at the Institut de France in Paris. Download the application.
Contact.

The 13th European Education Fair in Taiwan: 17 October in Tainan, 18-19 October in Taipei; 120 exhibitors from 10 European countries; 8’000 visitors expected; Introduction: ; Now: online registration system for exhibitors.

 

   
N° 03 Mars 2014 6 p.  239 kb
 

Simon Chang, head of the newly formed Ministry of Science and Technology, said his ministry will make good use of Taiwan's financial and human resources and serve as a catalyst for Taiwan's technology development. The ministry's policies will focus on encouraging research and innovation, strengthening the connection between academia and industry, and fostering high-caliber personnel in applied research, Chang said. It will also work to bridge the gap between academia and industry, coordinate between technology and humanity, and promote the application of technology in the cultural and creative industries, he said. As part of its efforts to achieve those goals, Chang told, the ministry will set up two advisory panels on academic research and academia-industry relationship, which will be headed respectively by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey and National Taiwan University professor C.K. Lee. The Ministry of Science and Technology is established on the basis of the former National Science Council. Chang had served as a minister without portfolio and head of Google Asia-Pacific hardware operations before assuming the new position.

A Taiwan physicist is among a US research team that reported the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation. Cosmic inflation is the theory that the universe expanded extremely quickly in the first fraction of a nanosecond after it was born -- the big bang. Kuo Chao-lin is a co-leader of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 in the South Pole. Kuo is scheduled to return to his alma mater, National Taiwan University, as a visiting scholar between April and June.

National Chiao Tung University develops a chip to detect and control seizures: Taiwan has over 200,000 people suffering from epilepsy, about a third of which cannot be treated through medication alone. To help them and others afflicted with this dangerous condition, a research team from National Chiao Tung University has developed a chip that can be implanted in the brain to detect and suppress seizures. The chip is unique for both its success rate and its externally charged power source. This small chip comes encased in titanium and is designed to be permanently implanted into the human skull. The procedure does not require major surgery or medication, and it can allow for the detection and inhibition of epileptic shock within 0.8 seconds. It has a 92 % success rate. Human trials are expected to begin in three years, with success leading to more clinical trials.

 

   
N° 02 Février 2014 6 p.  450 kb
 

Research and development expenditures in Taiwan reached NT$431.3 bio. (US$14.4 billion) in 2012 (up 4.4 % from 2011), accounting for 3.06 % of the Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) for that year. This marked the 2nd consecutive year in which R&D spending topped 3 % of GDP, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said. 75 % of the R&D spending took place in the business sector, and 24.8 % in the government sector. The rest was in the higher education and non-profit sectors, the DGBAS said. In terms of research type, spending on technological development accounted for the largest portion, at 67 %. In terms of research field, the majority -- 76 % -- was related to engineering. There were 179,000 R&D personnel in 2012, up 2.9 % from the previous year. The number of female R&D employees increased by 3.9 %, higher than for males, at 2.6 %.

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) of Taiwan and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. of Japan announced that they are collaborating in the field of disaster prevention to develop autonomous sensor-network technology that can communicate information between devices without human intervention. The focus of the research collaboration is the application of disaster-prevention systems that use autonomous sensor-network technology. ITRI and Fujitsu Laboratories will work to develop technologies that will collect environmental data from a wide-area grid through numerous wireless sensors that are linked, so that even if some are knocked offline due to damage or insufficient power, the system as a whole can continue to operate. The partners are also constructing a test system, which will be field tested, for disaster mitigation and prevention that targets landslides and avalanches.

Moreover, ITRI is formally launching Asia's first globally recognized and certified Power Module Testing Laboratory, which will provide related industries a variety of customized service and offer testing and validation for domestic and foreign manufacturers seeking quick access to global markets. Dr. CT Liu, VP and General Director of ITRI’s Electronics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratories, said that based on a survey by Japan’s Yano Research, the power electronics market will be worth an estimated US$29.01 billion by 2020. As ITRI entered into development of high-efficiency power electronics modules since several years ago, it has developed several collaboration projects with domestic train industry, including Taiwan High Speed Rail as well as the Taiwan Railway and Transit Authority and helped them to develop high-power motor drivers for rail transportation system that will allow trains to instantly accelerate and steadily control current and improve the stability and reliability of motors inside trains. The laboratory has been certified by the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF) as a neutral communication and service platform and is Asia's first internationally certified power module testing platform to provide testing services to domestic and international manufacturers. The laboratory will help domestic power electronics manufacturers enter markets for smart grid, solar, electric car and smart home applications by accelerating the localization of power modules.

 

   
N° 01 Janvier 2014 5 p.  110 kb
 

Taiwan was ranked No.1 for patent activity in the latest innovation index published by Bloomberg. According to the index, the country’s ranking took into account resident patent filings per 1 million residents and per US$1 million of R&D spent, as well as patents granted as a percentage of the world total. Taiwan was also listed among the top 10 countries for innovation, finishing second in two of the seven categories: high-tech density and tertiary efficiency. The top three nations overall for innovation were South Korea, Sweden and the U.S. More than 200 countries and sovereign regions were assessed in compiling the index.

The 10 "Most Innovative in the World 2014: Countries"; Bloomberg

Rank

Country

Total score

R&D intensity rank

Manufacturing capability rank

Productivity rank

High-tech density rank

Tertiary efficiency rank

Researcher concentration rank

Patent activity rank

1

South Korea

92.10

3

2

33

3

3

6

2

2

Sweden

90.80

4

22

7

5

13

8

26

3

United States

90.69

10

24

10

1

37

12

5

4

Japan

90.41

5

6

14

8

30

9

3

5

Germany

88.23

9

3

20

6

25

17

6

6

Denmark

86.97

6

56

6

17

27

3

14

7

Singapore

86.07

17

14

15

14

24

4

34

8

Switzerland

86.02

8

16

3

9

35

22

29

9

Finland

85.86

2

21

12

32

5

2

15

10

Taiwan

83.52

7

N/A

30

2

2

5

1

Taiwan was ranked No.1 for patent activity in the latest innovation index published by Bloomberg. According to the index, the country’s ranking took into account resident patent filings per 1 million residents and per US$1 million of R&D spent, as well as patents granted as a percentage of the world total. Taiwan was also listed among the top 10 countries for innovation, finishing second in two of the seven categories: high-tech density and tertiary efficiency. The top three nations overall for innovation were South Korea, Sweden and the U.S. More than 200 countries and sovereign regions were assessed in compiling the index.