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Science, Technology and Education News from Taiwan
2009

Vous retrouvez ces informations, ainsi que d’autres lettres électroniques, dans le site www.swisstalents.org/enews. Il est possible de s’abonner à ces diverses publications.
Cette revue est rédigée par le Trade Office of Swiss Industries (TOSI).

N° 18 December 2009 5 p. 177 kb
Taiwan is the second-most innovative economy in Asia, next to Singapore, and ranked 13th among 131 countries globally, according to the 2009-2010 Innovation for Development Index Report released by the European Business School. Taiwan did best in the R&D category with the first position worldwide in “patents and trademarks” and No. 4 in R&D infrastructure. In terms of human capital, training & social inclusion, Taiwan was ranked 6th in “education”, 5th in usage of ICT such as “telephone communication” and 16th in “internet, computers and TV.” It ranked 29th in “social inclusion and equity policies” and did poorly in the Regulatory & legal framework, where “doing business” it came in at No. 39; while the scores of “country policy assessment (47th)”, and “good governance (31st) under the category of Institutional environment were also low. It lagged behind in the “rule of law” factor and the “corruption perception” index. Other areas in which Taiwan needs to catch up include budget and finance management, public administration and the density of medical workers, according to the report. “In less than half a century Taiwan has transformed itself from a simple agricultural society in the earliest stage of development into a global technology powerhouse, a world leader in the production of ICT equipment with a supporting infrastructure of science parks and public-private research institutions and think tanks that have played a critical role in turning Taiwan into one of the most prolific innovators in the world, the report’s editor, Augusto Lopez-Claros, formerly a chief economist and director of the World Economic Forums’ Global Competitiveness Program, said in a statement. He attributed Taiwan’s success to two factors: doing many of the good thing that have also been critical to high growth elsewhere in the world – including taking full advantage of the benefits of international trade and investment and acquiring new technologies – and avoiding the errors that have been such a drag on development in many other countries. Taiwan’s challenges in the coming years will be to find creative ways to cooperate with China – an emerging technology power in her own right, with a much lower cost structure – and to move closer to the best performers in the innovative capacity index, Lopez-Claros said.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in December 2009: NTUT developed a “wire-free recharging desk” – IOT and NCTU jointly developed traffic surveillance devices – scientist uses rice husks for battery research – phase 1 clinical trial for HBV/HCV drug candidate – NARL developed a new 16-nanometer static random access memory device – Hsinchu Science Park focuses on green energy and biomedical tech development – ITRI introduces world’s first USB3.0 memory card – ITRI kicks off operation of cloud computing research center – Taiwan ranks 3rd in papers chosen for 2010 ISSCC.

N° 17 November 2009 5 p. 149 kb
Taiwan is the second-most innovative economy in Asia, next to Singapore, and ranked 13th among 131 countries globally, a report by the World Economic Forum. “In less than half a century Taiwan has transformed itself from a simple agricultural society in the earliest stage of development into a global technology powerhouse, a world leader in the production of ICT equipment with a supporting infrastructure of science parks and public-private research institutions and think tanks that have played a critical role in turning Taiwan into one of the most prolific innovators in the world,” the report said. WEF attributed Taiwan’s success to two factors: doing many of the good things that have also been critical to high growth elsewhere in the world — including taking full advantage of the benefits of international trade and investment and acquiring new technologies — and avoiding the errors that have been such a drag on development in many other countries. Taiwan’s challenge in the coming years will be to find creative ways to cooperate with China — an emerging technology power in her own right, with a much lower cost structure — and to move closer to the best performers in the innovative capacity index.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in November 2009: Taiwan’s creativity has won global acclaim after a project, Shadow Guide, by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) South finished second in the 2009 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). – Taiwan has emerged as the top winner at the 2009 Nuremberg Invention Exhibition, capturing 26 gold medals, 26 silvers and 15 bronzes. – Taiwan visual designer Lin Horng-jer has won a « best of the best » prize in the communication design category of the 2009 red dot design awards — the world’s largest and most prestigious design competition. – NCTU developed a new lead-free piezoelectric material, called BiFe03, that will be able to produce clean energy very efficiently. – The government plans to develop Chung Hsing New Village in Nantou County into a research base for the knowledge economy and industrial upgrading, with particular emphasis on green-energy efforts such as research on hydrogen energy and the application of information technology in energy management. – A Taiwanese research team has developed a special microchip that can be implanted in the human body to control or relieve low back pain.

N° 16 October 2009 8 p. 220 kb
Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in October 2009

  • ITRI won the first prize in the Consumer Electronics category of the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards with a highly innovative, paper-thin, flexible speaker dubbed the “fleXpeaker”.
  • PharmaEssentia received US/Canadian approval for its third-generation interferon drug candidate P1101 (PEG/P/IFN-alpha-2b) to treat hepatitis B and C.
  • Academia Sinica is to cooperate with Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute to develop new medications for drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis.
  • ITRI unveiled new types of hydrogen-powered battery chargers for cellphones.
  • Umbilical cord transplants have shown good results in treatment of strokes, spinal cord and brain injuries, according to trials conducted by Chi Mei Medical Center.
  • The National Chung Cheng University created a technique of using micro-nano testing to detect aging knee joints in the early stage.
  • ITRI won the R&D Magazine R&D 100 Awards for its high-safety lithium battery material, the STOBA, a nano-grade high-molecular material added to lithium battery to form a protective film automatically.
  • Academia Sinica research hope molecule vaccine can be marketed within 10 years.
  • Taiwan developed the first ever electro-thermal diving suit for deep, cold underwater environments.
  • ITRI introduced a portable sleep diagnostic device that can carry out comprehensive sleep studies right at home and it also presented a sleep respiratory treatment device, which could lower observances of sleep apnea and a point-of-care testing apparatus for metabolic syndrome Three.
  • Academia Sinica scholars were elected members of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.
  • National Chiao Tung University, ASUS and NVIDIA presented the fastest personal super computer in the world. The novel super PC, ASUS ESC1000, is ten times efficient than the present super computers, the computing capacity of the former reaching teraflops (one trillion floating point operations per second) while the latter staying around gigaflops (one million floating point operations per second).
N° 15 September 2009 5 p. 153 kb
  • Over the next several years, the government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Hsinchu will focus on the development of green energy and biotechnologies, with the two sectors absorbing half of ITRI’s budget. In the area of green energy, efforts will be devoted to LED, photovoltaic, wind power (in which ITRI is seeking technical cooperation with China) as well as energy conservation, biotech energy and smart power grids. In the biotech field, ITRI will initially concentrate on medical equipment, especially technology-intensive custom products for the handicapped and the aged. Another prominent item is gene-sequencing technology, with the aim of providing gene sequencing to individuals at a cost of less than US$ 1000 each. ITRI will continue to develop pioneering IT technologies. It is cooperating with IBM in the establishment of a cloud computing technology center. It will also join the “smart-life technology utilization plan’, dubbed the “i236 plan”, which calls for the development of 20 daily-life technology application services by 2012 in smart towns and I-parks on an experimental basis. The technologies will be applied mainly in six major areas-comfort and convenience, agriculture and leisure, safety and disaster prevention, medical care, energy conservation, and smart expediency-via broadband, digital TT, and sensing networks. ITRI has a workforce of 6’000.
  • France and Taiwan have signed 11 cooperative agreements covering 56 programs and Taiwan is also conducting 165 cooperative research projects with various French universities, according to Taiwan’s rep office in Paris. Besides the USA, France is now Taiwan’s most important scientific research partner, it said. The National Science Council said cooperation between the two countries is now focused on medicine, agriculture and life science. In the next stage, cooperation will be extended to environmental sciences, incl mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and materials science. Bilateral cooperation has entered a thematic research collaboration stage and will move toward joint operation of research laboratories, it said.
  • The National Science Council (NSC) has put aside NT$ 30 bio. for a national energy research project. To be spent over a period of five years, the main budget will be appropriated in four areas: conserving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, developing new energy sources, energy use and development strategies, and personnel training and education. Studies will be devoted to solar energy, wind power, bio-energy and 22 other alternative sources of energy. Approx. NT$ 11.5 bio. will be allocated for conserving energy and reducing emissions, while about NT$ 15 bio. will be allocated to developing new energy technology. The NSC has also budgeted NT$ 1.22 bio. for planning energy use and development strategies and NT$ 2.05 bio. for personnel training and education.
N° 14 August 5 p. 153 kb
The “Diamond Action Plan for Biotech Takeoff” is one of the six emerging industries (which also includes green energy, medical care, quality agriculture, cultural creative, and tourism) selected by the Cabinet for intensive development. Biotechnology will help to support the development of the quality agriculture and medical care industries, which in turn are closely related to the tourism industry. Meanwhile, the tourism sector is related to cultural creativity, which in many cases includes digital content that comes from ICT. The development of all six of these industries will look to ICT and will be very inter-dependent. This is the key logic in designing this vertical and horizontal framework that encompasses the six major industries.
The takeoff package consists of four major areas, namely strengthening the pre-clinical development in the industrial value chain, establishing a biotechnology venture capital fund (BVC), promoting an integrated incubation mechanism, and creating the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA). The number of university undergraduate and graduate students obtaining degrees in biotech-related fields in Taiwan has grown steadily, reaching 36,352 in 2008, with 10,413 having obtained masters or PhD degrees. This is providing a constant pool of highly trained talent to the industry. In addition, recruitment groups and several elite projects provide channels through which Taiwan’s biotech sector recruits high-end talent from overseas and train individuals versed in multiple disciplines. In the area of clinical research and trials, Taiwan has established 18 clinical trial centres for new drugs (including four centres of excellence for clinical trials and 14 clinical trial centres for new drugs and Chinese herbal medicines). Statistics show that the clinical trials primarily focus on five areas, specifically tumours, metabolic diseases, central nervous system diseases, hepatitis, and cardiovascular diseases. Taiwan leads Asia in the number of clinical trials being carried out at each stage, with the average in recent years being over 300. The National Development Fund will invest NT$24 bio. in the biotech sector over several stages based on a risk diversification approach to upgrade the output of the industry.
N° 13 July 2009 10 p. 210 kb
A new film series on national TV featuring Taiwan’s scientific accomplishments over the past half-century will be part of the government’s efforts to attract students to enter the world of scientific study. The 13-part documentary, funded by the National Science Council, focuses on 26 major research projects. One part of the series is dedicated to FORMOSAT-2, an Earth observation satellite operated by Taiwan, a high-resolution photographic surveillance satellite with a daily revisit capability that produces high-resolution images that are especially useful in rescue and relief operations. A segment features Taiwanese medical researchers who successfully helped fight hepatitis B, which used to be known as “ Taiwan’s national disease « .
Another part introduces the achievements of a Taiwan Chelungpu-Fault drilling project that aims to obtain a physical sample of the fault where large displacements occurred during the devastating earthquake on 21 September 1999, to measure the physical properties and mechanical behavior of the rocks above and below the fault zone and to thoroughly document the state of stress that exists in these rocks following such a large slip event. Another segment includes a research team headed by National Chiao Tung University President Peter Wu that has developed a microchip that can help restore sight to the visually impaired The microchips can replace retinal cells damaged by disease and have passed clinical trial in the United States.
N° 12 June 2009 6 p. 182 kb
  • The 3rd Taiwan-Swiss biomedical symposium was held in Taipei from 9-11 June, with a total of 25 scientists participating. Novartis organized the conference in conjunction with the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) and Academia Sinica as well as under the guidance of the cabinet-level Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG). The event is aimed at fostering scientific exchanges between Novartis and Taiwanese institutes and this year’s theme was on infectious diseases. On the opening day, Paul Herrling, head of Novartis Coporate Research, gave a report on modern drug discovery for tuberculosis. Kenneth Wu, President of NHRI, addressed the therapeutic potentials of novel prostaglandin actions.
  • As part of the promotion of Taiwan’s six emerging industries, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is working with the government to hasten the takeoff of the green energy and biotech industries. ITRI has moved forward the project calling for 160’000 Electric Vehicles (EV), the Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) for medical devices, and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Taiwan’s strengths in electronics and information, coupled with its manufacturing prowess in automobile electronics, components and batteries provide the optimal conditions to develop Electronic Vehicles, according to ITRI. The main objective of creating the RPC for medical devices is to provide a platform to integrate clinical research and engineering technology, and offer a comprehensive mechanism to develop and test prototypes, protect intellectual property and commercialize products. ITRI has also proposed to develop AMI. Distributed energy management software will provide the means to distribute and use energy sources in the most efficient manner. A 60-member strong delegation comprised of representatives from Taiwan’s industrial, academic, research and government sectors took part in the 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta. A number of the latest biomedical technologies and products developed in Taiwan were on display at the Taiwan Pavilion. One of the research achievements ITRI featured its development of collagen scaffold antibodies. In the area of redesigned drugs, ITRI exhibited the benefits of its Kinase-based drug design research in treating acute myeloid leukemia. Meanwhile, ITRI’s diagnostic biomarker research focused on liver, renal and oncology diseases, all of which are common in Taiwan and Asia.
  • A Taiwanese research team has made a breakthrough in the development of DNA-based vaccine patches that can replace invasive injections as a vaccine delivery method. The DNA-based vaccine patch uses the skin’s liposomes as a transport vehicle to deliver vaccine into the body via a non-invasive method. Although the cost of producing a DNA-based vaccine patch is about the same as a regular dose of DNA-based vaccine, the patches are easier to apply, free from the risk of needle contamination and more comfortable for the inoculation receivers, he noted. The DNA vaccine patches, if approved for use on humans, could be used to deliver vaccines against Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis C, dengue fever and even SARS or influenza A(H1N1). The research was published May 4 in the international periodical Journal of Controlled Release, marking the first research report in the world on DNA-based vaccine patches. The patches will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration as a new drug awaiting human trial, but forecast that it will take at least 10 years before the patches can be used on humans.
N° 11 May 2009 6 p. 160 kb
The first European Union Center (EU Center) opened in Taiwan on 22 May in a collaborative effort by seven Taiwan universities led by National Taiwan University (NTU) to promote exchanges and mutual understanding between Taiwan and the European economic bloc. The program in Taiwan will help create a foothold for EU studies in Taiwan’s higher education circles and serve as an information resource for a broad Taiwan audience.

The European Commission is providing a grant of 1.1 mio. euros over the next four years for the project, while the rest of 1.5 mio. budget will be covered by the participating institutes: NTU and National Chengchi, National Chung Hsing, National Sun Yat-sen, National Dong Hwa, Tamkang and Fu Jen Catholic universities.

The main activities of the EU Center, which is located on the NTU campus, will include regular workshops and seminars on EU policies as well as summer school for high school teachers that will allow them learn more about the EU. The seven participating universities will also launch their own EU study programs, whether at undergraduate or graduate levels.

The EU Center network in the Asia-Pacific region includes South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Taiwan is the third East Asian country to join the network, which was launched in 1998 and is funded by the European Commission.

N° 10 Avril 2009 6 p. 171 kb
  • The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) mapped out an innovation and R&D project, cooperating with 18 firms and research institutions (ITRI, Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Institute for Information Industry), to revitalize Taiwan’s industries. The project, which will invest an estimated NT$ 10 bio. in R&D in 2009, will focus on 12 industries, incl base metal, machinery, vehicle, information technology & telecommunications, electronics, opto-electronics, information service, digital content, hi-tech service, biomedicine, food & consumer goods, textile, petrochemicals, and green energy.
  • The government will provide NT$ 86.4 bio. as seed money to launch an ambitious 4-year medical care improvement plan, which is expected to raise the health care industry’s production value by an estimated NT$ 346 bio. and to create 300’000 new jobs by 2012. The project will cover three categories, health, medical and long-term care – intelligent medicine, medical service globalization and public health and safety. The most noteworthy feature of the package is the development of intelligent medicine, given Taiwan’s competitive edge in the IT industry. Dubbed Operation Health Care Platinum is to improve medical service and sell it abroad as one of Taiwan’s six new strategic industries. Another feature is internationalization of medical services (medi-tourism). Investment is encouraged to develop vaccines (NT$ 2.6 bio. worth of flu vaccines to be produced by 2012).
  • As part of its priority investment plan, the government wants to invest heavily in the new energy industry, with photovoltaic and LED lighting as two mainstays. 10 % of the NT$ 500 bio. budget for expanded infrastructure projects in the next four years will be used in installing green-energy facilities. The plan aims to boost the output value of the new energy industry to NT$ 1.16 trillion by 2015, up from the current NT$ 160 bio. Other than PV and LED lighting, the industry also covers five other lines, wind power, bio-fuel, hydrogen energy and fuel cell, energy information/communication, and electric car. The government will double the annual energy research budget to NT$ 10 bio. and it also aims to double the output of sophisticated agriculture to NT$ 50 bio. by 2012. It will focus on the development of organic agriculture, agricultural biotech, in-depth rural travel, orchid, and grouper.
  • National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC), begins to execute the seven-year establishment project of Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) with the budget of NT$ 6.88 billion.
N° 9 Mars 2009 7 p. 173 kb
Introduction
A “biotech takeoff plan” calls for the setup of a mega NT$ 60 bio. biotech venture-capital fund, with the aim of doubling the annual output of Taiwan’s biotech industry to NT$ 300 bio. in four years. The plan is part of development strategies for six emerging industries, namely tourism and travel, medical care, green energy, cultural innovation and sophisticated agriculture. The national development fund will contribute 40 % and the private sector 60 % of the fund (initial scale set at NT$ 7-10 bio.) and it is designed to be in operation for 10 years. At first the focus will be on strengthening research on newly-developed medicines and medical instruments and push them toward clinical trials. An investment evaluation team will be in charge for selecting investment targets (local and foreign). The plan also envisions the setup of a national biotech incubation center to introduce technologies of biotech firms invested by the biotech fund. A new-medicine selection committee (domestic and overseas experts) will be responsible for the allocation of bio-medicine research projects.
Universities in Taiwan have been encouraged to work closer with other institutes to promote R&D in various areas. For this purpose, the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to invest NT$ 2 bio.
Swiss company Novartis joined with National Taiwan University Hospital to set up a clinical research and development center.
N° 8 Février 2009 5 p. 179 kb
Introduction – ITRI (www.itri.org.tw)
Since its establishment in 1973 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Hsinchu has developed into one of Taiwan’s most important key players in the field of applied science research.
The campus houses 6 core laboratories (biomedical engineering; electronics and optoelectronics; energy and environment; information and communications; material and chemical; mechanical and systems), 5 focus centers (display; medical electronics and device; photovoltaics; identification and security; SOC technologies) and 5 linkage centers (center for measurement standards; creativity lab; industrial economics and knowledge center; nano technology research center; technology center for service industries), conducting applied research and development. The scope of ITRI’s research covers industries such as: information and communications technologies; advanced manufacturing and systems; biomedical technology; nanotechnology; material and chemicals; and energy and environment. Within these industries, ITRI centre on three goals: to expedite the development of new industrial technology; to aid in the process of upgrading industrial technology techniques; to establish future industrial technology.
ITRI’s main claim to fame comes from its two most famous spin-off companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microcontrollers (UMC), the world’s largest semiconductor contract manufacturers. The management at ITRI is committed to creating a breeding-ground for future success stories similar to TSMC and UMC.
The institute has grown to a 6’000 people operation and maintains overseas offices in USA, Japan, Russia and Germany.
N° 7 Janvier 2009 3 p. 148 kb
  • Indicators of Science & Technology, Taiwan (2008)
    The National Science Council published as the “Indicators of Science and Technology, ROC” the annual survey, now available on its website (214 pages, in Chinese/English). It contains four major parts: 1) analysis of Taiwan’s R&D input and output trends and comparisons with other countries; 2) comparative statistics concerning international R&D and related activities; 3) statistics concerning S&T activities in Taiwan, incl different sectors’ S&T funding and manpower inputs, the government’s S&T and R&D budgets, S&T outputs, and data concerning Taiwan’s science parks – it also includes R&D funding classified by socioeconomic goal; 4; appendix containing an explanation of the survey, the survey questionnaire, and a comparison of the OECD’s and Taiwan’s industry classification.
  • President Ma Ying-jeou noted that among the top 100 IT companies listed in Business Week magazine in June 2008, there were 18 Taiwan companies and 33 U.S. firms, compared to 15 and 46, respectively, in 2005. « In the space of three years, three more Taiwan companies were added to the list, while 13 U.S. companies were dropped, which is proof that Taiwan is getting stronger and stronger in this area,” Ma said.
  • The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Hsinchu, one of Taiwan’s most important keys to its industrial power, was founded in 1973 by the government as a non-profit R&D institution. Today, ITRI is a 6’000-person organization with an annual budget of about US$ 550 mio., split roughly between government-sponsored R&D and contract services. The campus houses 6 core laboratories, 5 focus centers, and 5 linkage centres conducting applied research and development. The scope of ITRI’s research covers industries such as: information and communications technologies; advanced manufacturing and systems; biomedical technology, nanotechnology, materials and chemicals; and energy and environment. Among its goals, ITRI tries to expedite the development of new industrial technology, to aid in the process of upgrading industrial technology techniques, and to establish future industrial technology.