Science, Technology and Education News from Taiwan

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Cette revue est rédigée par le Trade Office of Swiss Industries (TOSI).

N° 12 Decembre 2010 4 p. 69 kb
The Hsinchu Science Park’s total revenue is expected to top NT$1.2 trillion in 2010 (+36 % from 2009) and NT$ 1.38 trillion in 2011. The park is the main base of the island’s semiconductor industry, which contributes some 70% of its total revenue. Optoelectronics and computers/peripherals are its second and third largest industries, respectively. With a space of 6.5 km2, the park now accommodates 440 firms with a total employment of 132’160. Since manufacturing in the park cannot be further expanded due to limited land space available, sustained growth in the future will be pursued by converting the park into a research-oriented facility. The administration plans to set up the “silicon business center” (inspired by the Kyoto Research Park), scheduled for inauguration on 1 Jan, which will collaborate with an R&D center and innovation incubation center, to be built on an 8-hectare plot of land under the auspices of the “Si-Soft Program”, overseen by National Chiao Tung University. 10 small-and medium-sized offices and 40 “mobile offices” will be available for lease. Parallel to the development of service-oriented operations, the park will give priority to the three emerging sectors of medical care, biotechnology, and green-energy in the admission of new entrants.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in December 2010:
A student team from Taiwan triumphed at the supercomputing competition in New Orleans – Sludge produced in the water purification process can be recycled to make concrete mix – Taiwan and Canada pave the way for joint development of a wireless sensor network and also cooperate on cancer research – Researchers developed a nontoxic, magnetic drug nanocarrier which could help to treat prostate cancer – Taiwan developed the world’s first phosphorless light-emitting diode lights – New breast cancer vaccine trials are set for Taiwan – the National Applied Research Laboratories developed the world’s smallest memory chip – the Academia Sinica’s Genomic Research Center made a breakthrough in the cancer research study of glycosphingolipids (GSLs) – Researchers unlocked secrets of fruit fly’s brain – Taiwan joined a trial of new drug against oral cancer – a retired professor developed a voice recognition system that takes different languages into text.

N° 11 Novembre 2010 5 p. 88 kb
As Taiwan’s vanguard for the development of cutting-edge technologies in applied sciences, the government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is currently focusing resources on R&D in green energy and biomedicine. ITRI reported that these two sectors now account for a full half of the institution’s R&D spending. The work is being carried out by the Green Energy & Environment Research Laboratories and Biomedical Technology and Device Research Laboratories, both of which are newly established. ITRI explained that green energy R&D covers electric cars, smart power grids, photovoltaic energy, LED lighting, offshore wind-power generation, and green building (encompasses both green energy and the environment, and involves the integration of technology in the areas of electronics, optoelectronics, and devices). In its biomedicine research ITRI is focusing on medical equipment and devices. ITRI’s specialized manpower spanning the fields of biomedicine, medical equipment and devices, precision machinery, and materials gives the institution a highly competitive strength. That strength is used in the development of systems, software, and services, which accounts for 70% of ITRI’s R&D work. ITRI won 396 U.S. patents last year, boosting the accumulated number of its patents, in such areas as mobile phones, flat-panel displays, and notebook PCs, to 14,000. To give its R&D work an added boost, ITRI has initiated a 10-year talent development program beginning this year. The program calls for the selection of 40 outstanding researchers under the age of 40 to be sent abroad for year-long periods of research in foreign institutions.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in November 2010:
Academia Sinica discovered a method of inducing luminescence in leaves utilizing gold nanoparticles – AUO developed the world’s first solar-powered touch keyboard solution for notebook computers – NCKU succeeded in using the world’s first “artificial targeting light activated nano scissors” – COA developed DNA identification for bitter melon – “Lancet” documents unusual germ cell tumor case in Taiwan – Hon Hai sponsors the largest cancer treatment center in Asia in Taipei City – Academia Sinica develops an upgraded disease-simulated program – the National Tsing Hua University developed a new process that will increase the performance of integrated circuits and dramatically transforms the way semiconductors are produced – the first Taiwanese was elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization – the APEC Research Center for Typhoon and Society (ACTS) was inaugurated in Taipei – Tatung University researchers developed revolutionary biodegradable plastics that can decompose and turn into nutrients 4-6 months after being buried in the ground – the National Taiwan University developed a low-cost collision avoidance radar system – Taiwan and UK signed an MOU to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of biotechnology – the Automotive Research and Testing Center (ARTC) developed an advanced car system that can warn drivers of traffic jams – scientists extract collagen from pig lungs.

N° 10 Octobre 2010 6 p. 101 kb
  • The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in Taipei reported that the digital industry outpaced the semiconductor industry to take first place in the number of local patent applications last year, accounting for 12% of the total. Patent applications are an indication of market trends for the next 3-4 years, IPO said, and so it expects the digital industry, particularly digital technology, content, and processes-to continue thriving in years to come. In 2009, IPO received 2’722 patent applications from the digital industry, and the semiconductor industry came second with 1’796 patent applications. Market experts explained that the semiconductor industry used to lead in patent applications, but now it seems to have reached a stage of maturity and the development of related technologies has slowed down. By contrast, the digital and energy-conservation industries are emerging rapidly and attracting an increasing number of companies to become involved. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar energy are the two hottest lines in the energy-conservation industry today; last year the number of patent applications for LED-related products reached 740, and those for solar batteries surged by 105% from the 2007 figure. The IPO receives at least 70,000 patent applications every year, and the review of an application usually takes about 3 years. In 2009 the number of applications reached 78,425, and this year it is likely to be over 80,000. The top five sectors last year in terms of number of patent applications were electronic digital data processes, semiconductor devices, optical controls, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and video telecommunications, which together accounted for 28% of all applications.
  • There may be 14 foreign firms approved to set up R&D centers in Taiwan this year, which involve total investment of US$432 mio. Some of the companies include Elpida (Japan), Corning (USA), HP (USA), IMEC (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), IBM (USA), Tokyo Electron (Japan), and Intel (USA).

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in October 2010:
Breakthrough in cancer diagnosis – waste material turned into insulating bricks – new self-parking vehicle system – optical fiber sensor to detect early landslide – breakthrough in stem cell therapy – chemistry teacher develops new varieties of air plants – low-cost hybrid rocket launched – the National Laboratory Animal Center was the first research institute in the world to build a technological platform to breed genetically modified laboratory rats with regulable genes – Academia Sinica develops flu detection chips – cooperation with Moscow State University and Russian Academy of Science – online academic platforms in French, German and Japanese – big successes at Taipei Invention Show, British Invention Show, and Nuremberg Invention Show.

N° 9 Septembre 2010 5 p. 204 kb
  • Nine Taiwanese universities have been placed among the top 500 in the world this year by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings (criteria: academic peer review, employer review, ratio of faculty to students, citations per faculty and ratio of international to local faculty, as well as ratio of international to local students): National Taiwan University (NTU) topping the list of local universities in 94th place (up from 95th). National Tsing Hua University (NTHU, 196th from last year’s 223rd), National Cheng Kung University (283rd from 281st), National Yang Ming University (290th from 306th), National Chiao Tung University (327th from 389th), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (370th from 351st) and three others that made the list for the first time — National Central University (398th), National Sun Yat-Sen University (ranking not specified) and National Taiwan Normal University (not specified). Ben Sowter, head of the QS Intelligence Unit, attributed the rise in rankings to the universities’ academic reputations, citations per faculty and the numbers of international faculty in the ranked universities. Sowter also said that Taiwanese universities’ efforts to get more research papers published in international journals, increasing teaching resources and promoting international engagements for faculty are also factors that helped improve their ratings.
  • As part of its policy of developing renewable energy and PV industry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs extended the Industrial Technical Research Institute’s budget on photovoltaic technologies (PVTC) to strengthen the following technologies: polysilicon and amorphous silicon thin film (NT$ 200 mio.), thin layer CIGS – copper/indium/gallium/selenium – (NT$ 80 mio.) and building integrated photovoltaic (NT$ 50 mio.). Taiwan has risen to 4th in the world in terms of production of photovoltaic cells, with a turnover of over NT$ 100 bio.
  • The National Science Council is to work with other government agencies to address patent application issues and seek ways to accelerate the development of the patent industry. It was noted that often legal restrictions appear to be curbing efforts to commercialize Taiwan’s research and development capabilities.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in September 2010:
Co-development of 4G broadband wireless products with India – new software allows blind to “see” photos – researcher unveiled new visual surveillance technologies – Chiao Tung University unveiled a portable multi-channel brain-computer interface – a research team from Academia Sinica developed antibodies against the dengue fever virus – researchers have discovered a co-seismic effect in the ionosphere, which they say could help detect tsunamis earlier – breakthrough in cancer diagnosis, laboratory tests of iron and platinum (FePt) nanoparticles for dual modal CT/MRI molecular imaging, the first of its kind in the world, were conducted by a research team.

N° 8 Août 2010 5 p. 177 kb
  • Among the categories of expenditure in the 2011 budget proposal, education/science/culture accounts for 20 % of the total expenditure of NT$ 1.7896 trillion, followed by social welfare with 19.4 %, national defense with 16 % and economic development with 12.6 % as proposed by the cabinet.
  • The Cabinet approved Taiwan’s first “Creative and Cultural Industries Development Research Institute” on 26 August, a project that promises to develop the industry and boost integration among participants. It will promote innovative products, protect patents and cultivate top-tier output in related field. The R&D center, which is modeled along the lines of the Hsinchu-based Industrial Technology Research Institute, will receive initial government funding of NT$30 mio. Additional revenue is expected to come from research projects, consulting services, products sales and donations.
  • At the 8th National Education Meeting, organized by the Ministry of Education, on 28/29 August, participants (representatives from schools and parent and student organizations) continued to urge MOE to extend Taiwan’s compulsory education from 9 to 12 years. Other key issues addressed included enhancing citizenship education at all school levels, promoting awareness of gender equality and lifelong arts education, revising the Educational Fundamental Act to ensure the balanced distribution of educational budgets among municipalities as well as formulating a child care services act.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in August 2010:
Researchers developed a technique to use silkworm pupas to produce caterpillar fungus, which is a valuable Chinese medicine – A new soil sterilization technique allows to double vegetable production – A potent anti-oil pollution biotool was discovered by students – Scientists made a breakthrough in stem cell research by finding a safe way to turn umbilical vein cells into induce-pluripotent-stem-cells – Physicists found a new method to probe neutrino magnetic effects – A medical team of Chang Gung hospital developed a new brain cancer treatment – The Council of Agriculture unveiled a rice variety with high resistance to disease – A robotic system was applied for the first time in stomach cancer surgery – A new technology speeds up orchids’ growth – researchers developed a computerized vehicletracking system – Scientists developed a “cellular mass spectrometer” with new functions – Taiwan and Canada developed a new method for hepatitis C detection – Researchers identified protein behind vitamin C uptake – Researchers created a new pen-size plasma sterilization device – Academia Sinica made a breakthrough in brain degeneration studies – A waterproof LED was developed for yachts

N° 7 Juillet 2010 8 p. 207 kb
Recent experiments led by a group of international researchers from 32 countries showed that the size of a proton is 4 % smaller than what was long believed. Yi-We Liu, an associate professor with the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) Physics Department is one of the main scientists who contributed to develop the laser system to probe the proton radius. Most of the experiments were carried out at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. flexible pay scheme for university faculty and public research institution staff will be put into effect to facilitate recruitment of outstanding scholars from abroad and retain Taiwan’s best instructors. The “creating top-notch universities” program is to allow 5-10 Taiwanese universities to rank among the world’s top 200 in the next five years. quality of Taiwan’s research papers has been improving in recent years, with the number of theses cited in journal articles on engineering ranked 9th, material science 10th and information science-related papers 11th in the world. The number of theses published in journals increased from 537 in 1981 to more than 24’000 in 2009, with an average annual increase of over 12 %. In 2009, the number of Taiwanese theses published ranked 16th, while the number of theses cited ranked 19th. Carty, director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo (Canada) said that the success and degree of sophistication of Taiwan’s science and technology development is much better than the credit it receives. Taiwan has almost all the elements of a technologically advanced country, incl fine universities, innovation and leading companies, he said. Taiwan’s decision to focus on computer and information technology development 20 years ago has turned out to be a brilliant policy as a number of its companies have had global success. Investment in nanotechnology will also pay off in the future.

The number of foreign students at Taiwan’s top academic institutions is regarded as too low. The proportion had risen to 1.5 % out of 1.37 million students at 164 universities, colleges and institutes from 1.3 % over the past two years, but it should reach 2 % or even 2.5 % during the next two years.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in July 2010:
Two Taiwan hospitals are about to start with human clinical trials on a locally developed enterovirus (EV71) vaccine – playing the ocarina can be effective in treating patients with breathing problems – a night vision system and a collision avoidance device developed by the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology are expected to be put on the market in two years – the government is stepping up efforts to develop vaccines against grouper viruses – two students won an award for developing a chip that is able to detect epileptic seizures in mice before full-blown attacks occur – a new device helps people traveling abroad control the electrical devices in their home remotely – FlexUPD, on of ITRI’s three winning innovations at the R&D 100 Awards, enables panel makers to use their existing manufacturing process to produce flexible displays – a research team used pig embryonic stem cells to produce nerve cells for successful treatment of Parkinson’s disease in lab rats – a student of National Cheng kung University won the top prize at an international student research competition sponsored by the US Association for Computing Machinery with his research involving droplet routing algorithms for digital microfluidic biochips – the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research developed its own version of a key agent used in brain blood flow imaging that will make such imaging cheaper and more accessible in Taiwan – the National Taiwan University found that insulin glargine, given to diabetes patients, does not increase the risk of cancer among users, as a European study has suggested – the National Science Council is giving away NT$ 50 mio. per year to establish collaborative research centers in Taiwan – researchers identified incompatible genes in three closely related yeast species, a finding that provides insight into the evolutionary process of distinct species – researchers found a way to “customize” treatments for individual hepatitis B patients by predicting the activity of the virus – an international research team led by a Taiwanese scholar developed a new method to more clearly map large cosmic structures that could help scientists unlock the mystery of “dark energy”

N° 6 Juin 2010 5 p. 167 kb
The National Science Council (NSC) and the Department of Health (DOH) are the main resources for funding of research in medical care science and technology. DOH has made quite some progress in recent years, such as in the compilation of epidemiology data for aging and major diseases, vaccine research, disease screening, cancer prevention and control, long-term nursing care, the health care system, pharmaceutical control, pharmaceutical science technology, food sanitation and nutrition. Taiwan’s efforts in hepatitis B prevention and control have earned it one of the highest ranking in the world.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in June 2010:
A Taiwanese firm develops nanometer coffee yarn – research on arsenic contamination – Taiwanese-Irish to develop innovative solar cells – study identifies possible cause of osteoporosis – breakthrough in cleaner-fish breeder – Taiwan-made shirts from recycled materials worn by nine national teams in 2010 World Cup – Economics ministry funds Tainan embroidery R&D center – researchers breed larger fluorescent fish – funds approved to develop new NAND flash technology

N° 5 Mai 2010 7 p. 194 kb
Taiwanese authorities have come out with a new program that is says will create some 10’000 high-tech research jobs over the next three years. An official with the government’s Department of Industrial Technology said the thrust of the program will be to help local companies carry out forward-looking research and development projects. That includes R&D on highly integrated digital chips, advanced display systems, precision machinery and high-end materials. The subsidies to be offered under this program will not be subject to existing regulations that cap the government’s hightech R&D subsidies at NT$30 mio.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in May 2010:
The National Cheng Kung University won a gold medal at the Geneva Invention Exhibition for its development of a hydrogen sensor – the National Space Organization launched Sounding Rocket VII to gather information on changes in the ionosphere over the Taiwan region as well as the structure and production mechanism of plasma irregularities in the ionosphere – the Center for Crystal Research created its own industrial crystals – a Taiwanese-lead team at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven developed a surgical robot – Asia’s first unmanned aerial vehicle powered by a fuel cell and lithium battery hybrid made its maiden flight in Taiwan – the National Taitung University launched the world’s 1st water-fueled school bus – Prof Ding-Shinn Chen was awarded the 2010 Nikkei Asia Prize in the category of science and technology for his research related to Hepatitis B and liver cancer – a Taiwan research team discovered that the androgen (male hormone) receptor is the key mechanism that leas to hepatitis B to develop into liver cancer – the Center for Disease Control developed the world’s fastest test kit for enterovirus type 71 – a Taiwanese scientists developed a new approach for investigating the amount of nano/micorparticles taken up by mammalian cells.

N° 4 Avril 2010 5 p. 164 kb
The Council of Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) plans to develop Chung Hsin Village (central Taiwan) into a knowledge-based economy and R&D center. The cost of the plan in the first phase (2010-2012) is estimated at roughly NT$3.66 billion. The Industrial Technology Research Institute, the Institute for Information Industry and other agencies would begin setting up research branches in the zone from the end of this year. After the R&D center opens, efforts to solicit high-tech businesses to set up their R&D operations will begin. The goal is to attract 115 firms in various high-tech and knowledge-based industries and add some 1,450 high-level research jobs.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in April 2010:
A team of Taiwanese/Japanese astrophysicists captured a snapshot showing the growth of a galaxy cluster for the first time – NTU reached a breakthrough in using MRIs to detect tumors and identify them faster than through a traditional approach – Researchers at NCU developed a new LED encapsulation technology that is touted as the world’s most advanced – Scientists indentified four genes that are associated with bipolar I disorder in people who are ethnically Chinese – a biomedical engineer gained international renown with a breakthrough in crating a new generation of biotracer – Taiwan shines in the Geneva Exhibition of Inventions – NTU professor wins Nikkei Asia prize for research on hepatitis B – A research team of Academica Sinica discovered a key molecular mechanism that contributes to antibiotic resistance in “staphylococcus epidermidis” – Taiwanese/Japanese scholars at Academica Sinica discovered clear, direct evidence about the shape of dark matter’s distribution – Taiwan and Australia cooperate in oceanographic research.

N° 3 Mars 2010 9 p. 205 kb
International cooperation in research: Co-invention is particularly strong in Chinese Taipei, Belgium and Switzerland, where over 40% of the patents filed in the mid-2000s resulted from collaboration with at least one inventor from abroad, according to the Industry Scoreboard 2009. Taiwan’s cooperative patented inventions with other countries account for 52 % of its total, far higher than the 43 % in Switzerland, 30 % in Singapore and 4.8 % in South Korea, the Council of Economic Planning and Development said.

The Association of Indian Universities and the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET) signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in the field of education. The two sides agreed to initiate strategies to achieve collaboration on research projects, exchanges of teachers, cooperation in the field of technology and mutual recognition of higher education academic degrees and certificates. Currently, some 400 PhD candidates from India are currently studying in Taiwan, mainly in the IT sector. FICHET has forged similar pacts with institutes in Austria, Japan, and the USA.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in March 2010:
Clinical trials for artificial retinal implant – researcher uncovers new bacteria species – new fuel-testing device – bone genetic research results – inauguration of stem cell center at National Taiwan University – collaboration on ocean energy development – Taiwan/Japan institutions join forces on cancer treatment – ITRI develops super-slim motor for e-bikes – improvement in bird tracking system – fucoidan from brown algae helps control cancer – institute develops high-fiber meals – chip detects slew of harmful allergens.

N° 2 Février 2010 8 p. 220 kb
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) received 397 U.S. patents in 2010, the most of any research institute in the world, according to an annual corporate ranking released by IFI Patent Intelligence. ITRI has received a steadily growing number of U.S. patents in recent years, going from 229 in 2007 to 286 in 2008. ITRI filed 2,330 international patent applications last year and was awarded a record high 1,308 patents. The institute hopes not only to obtain more patents in the future but also to enhance the quality of its inventions, it said. Scientists (incl from Taiwan) are conducting tests in Europe in preparation for the launch of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), the first large acceptance particle detector designed to operate in space. The Production of the AMS components was a joint effort, with France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, China, the US and Taiwan making significant contributions. Academia Sinica, the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), National Central University (NCU), National Cheng Kung University, National Chiao Tung University, and the National Space Program Office (NSPO) are part of the Taiwanese effort. Most of the detector’s electronic equipment was manufactured at the CSIST.Its main computer and trigger system were jointly designed, manufactured and tested by Academia Sinica, NCU, CSIST and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The CSIST and NSPO were responsible for thermal modeling and analysis, and the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp produced the AMS ground support equipment and cooling panels.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in February 2010 :
The government increases budget for lithium battery development – the National Space Organization switches the critical sensor module in its satellite program from CCD system to CMOS – the Science Council plans expanded ocean research – the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research introduced a new touch-screen making machine – local study proves relation between tobacco and lung cancer – Researchers found enzyme structure of mint scent – the Atomic Energy Council developed new applications of plasma overlay technology (ridding of the cadmium contamination problem) – Researchers made diabetes breakthrough – the potential for commercialization of fuel cells in Taiwan, etc.

N° 1 Janvier 2010 4 p. 152 kb
The National Science Council will expand the scope of Taiwan’s involvement in the EU’s 7th Framework Program (FP7). The expansion includes the creation of another 8 National Contact Points that would each be responsible for different fields of research, including the environment and security. EU trade officials said Taiwan’s involvement in the program was indispensable on critical research into global health and climate issues.

Highlights of major news from the scientific world in Taiwan in January 2010:
The National Taiwan University opened Asia’s first animal cancer research center – Taiwan produced the first foal with cryoinsemination – A study into the functioning of specific messenger RNA (mRNA) in per sperm cells was published – the National Taiwan University Hospital announced a breakthrough in embryo screening – Researchers made important contributions to new plant varieties and the processing of crops into a variety of products, including cosmetics – Researchers found that green tea intake might reduce the chances of getting lung cancer – ITRI teams up with Universal Cement in flexible electronics – the Ministry of Economic Affairs will invest more in safe lithium battery technology – A research group discovered a new treatment method for influenza A (H1N1).