Science, Technology and Education News from Taiwan

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

N° 12 Décembre 2012 6 p. 136 kb
The National Science Council (NSC) held its 9th quadrennial National Science and Technology Conference on 17./18. December 2012 to set the national tech policy for the period 2013-2016. The conference’s main theme was: “How to face Taiwan’s technology transformation.” Seven topics, such as how to deal with the brain drain in the field of technology or how to generate technology projects from a higher administrative level that integrate resources from different ministerial agencies were the main points of discussion. Other topics on the agenda included how to link upstream research with downstream industries, move forward coherent technology projects, promote sustainable development, and tackle the talent crisis in the science and technology sector. The event was attended by government agency heads, academics, industry specialists and influential businesspeople. It was noted that the technology sector needs to be reformed as the development policies had failed to change to cope with the rapid development in information and telecommunication over the past 15 years. The NSC is planning to implement a new project next year to foster cross-ministerial integration so that the heads of ministries can work together to forge major technology policies, such as the Ten Major Construction Projects, and reform the nation’s technological infrastructure. It has been observed at the meeting that a large amount of the government’s budget for technological development is dispersed among many small projects proposed by different agencies and reviewed by the council, resulting in ministry heads lacking the authority needed to conduct long-term, influential projects. Conclusions of the conference will be submitted to the cabinet for review and are to serve as an important reference for ministries to set science and technology policies and drive related research and development in the coming years.

News Highlights:
Intel Labs and ITRI jointly developed an experimental memory array that will enable low energy and higher performance – National Chung Cheng University students created a ‘smart’ pedometer – scientists developed a body lotion made with extract from soft corals grown in aquariums – the Council of Agriculture developed a new strain that can be used to produce a biopesticide fertilizer and animal feed – EMBO, EMBC and the National Science Council in Taiwan signed a cooperation agreement – three Academia Sinica Academicians and one Researcher got elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – the Society of Genetics, Genomics and Computational Biology at National Cheng Kung University set up an education center to facilitate genetics and computational biology studies – the Stanford-Taiwan biomedical Fellowship Program helps develop new medical technology industry in Taiwan – ITRI unveiled an interactive TV app – the National Cheng Kung University developed a new generation of intelligent robots with mobility functions – ITRI made an integrated circuit technology breakthrough, developing an ultralow power system on chip (SoC) – the National Chin-Yi University of Technology unveiled a prototype of a submicron precision lathe, the most precise lathe designed and manufactured in Taiwan – local researchers developed a technique for extracting protein from silk fibers for possible use in cosmetics and the field of biomedicine.

N° 11 Novembre 2012 7 p. 127 kb
In order to encourage industrial research and innovation, Taiwan has been taking the initiative to actively invite global companies and prestigious universities to set up research centers in Taiwan in order to promote Taiwan as an Asia-Pacific corporate R&D headquarters and its transition to an innovation-oriented country. Its main technological R&D policies focuses on strengthening talent training, promoting technological and cultural interaction and developing comprehensive legislation of science and technology, which contribute towards all round industrial development and thereby enhancing Taiwan’s sustainable competitiveness.

News Highlights:
A National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) research team has developed a vapor grown carbon fiber mat (VGCF mat) which exhibits ultra-high thermal conductivity – Academia Sinica Researchers Unveil Regulatory Mechanisms of an Acid-activated Type VI Secretion System in Agrobacterium Tumefaciens – the Indian National Science Academy signed a revised agreement on scientific cooperation – a Taiwan team developed a fluorescent pink fish – a Taiwan researcher said he has come up with a formula to predict with an 80 % accuracy rate the chances of someone getting a stroke within 10 years, based on their medical records – Synthetic hydroxyapatite, a material that functions as a medical contrast agent as well as a targeted therapy drug carrier that can transmit heat during thermal therapy, has been awarded the 9th National Innovation award – Taiwanese have won a prototype prize at the European Satellite Navigation Competition – AU Optronics Corp. has been recognized as one of Taiwan’s five most innovative enterprises in 2012 – Johannes Buchmann, a German expert in cryptography and computer algebra research, was named winner of the 2012 Tsungming Tu Award – Taiwan won four medals at Brussels invention fair – ITRI won seven of the 2012 R&D 100 Awards, given to the 100 most technologically-significant products introduced to market over the past year – The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Business & Innovation Centre Network (EBN) signed an MOU to aid start-ups – a laboratory at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has developed two human-sized robots that can engage in a variety of sports activities and help with household chores – 19 research papers from Taiwan’s business and academic sectors have been selected for presentation at the major conference of the Solid-State Circuits Society in the US next February – a new supercomputer was installed at the Central Weather Bureau to forecast weather patterns – Academia Sinica and Taiwan’s National Science Council signed the agreement with the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and its inter-governmental funding body, the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) to increase cooperation.

N° 10 Octobre 2012 9 p. 150 kb
News Highlights:
Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding with a European research consortium to enhance interaction on transnational nanotechnology research in materials science and engineering – a group of scientists from the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics joined an international project to install a gigantic digital imaging camera on Subaru Telescope to unravel mysteries of dark energy – Chang Gung Memorial Hospital entered a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to set up a clinical research center for drug trials – A new rice variety has been developed that could help increase the volume of production by 70 % – a Ph.D. student at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST)’s Department of Food Science has successfully extracted enzyme-modified pectin from fruit peels to replace hazardous chemical material such as clouding agents and emulsifiers – a research team found potential drugs for alleviation and treatment of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), which is one of the main causes of dementia – researchers have been able to increase understanding of the molecular mechanism of antibiotic resistance in the Staphylococci bacteria – Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute received runner-up honors in two categories of The Wall Street Journal’s 2012 Technology Innovation Awards, with its products SideLighter in the energy category and aePLASMA in manufacturing technology – researchers at National Cheng Kung University developed a technology using the immune systems from a series of animals to stimulate faster than normal meat growth in domesticated livestock and fish – scientists at Academia Sincia found a link between the transport of proteins inside plant cells and age, which could help increase understanding of the aging process – the Environmental Protection Administration announced a breakthrough in developing a method for achieving higher precision levels in dioxin testing.
N° 9 Septembre 2012 9 p. 150 kb
News Highlights:
A research team of the National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) found an identifiable marker gene that can help distinguish germ cells and somatic cells in coral bodies and it succeeded in developing an antibody and a method to ascertain the early germ cells and the specific location of coral development during both the breeding season and the non-breeding season – Researchers at the National Cheng Kung University developed microalgae biomass energy technology and other application of health food and skin care products – A radiation oncologist developed a high-precision robotic image-guided therapy system called Arc-Knife for cancer treatment – Corning Taiwan will co-develop roll-to-roll processing of ultra-slim flexible glass together with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) – Taiwan and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding on technological cooperation – Taiwan and Canada began developing preventive vaccines against hospital-acquired infections – A medical team made a breakthrough in identifying a gene that causes a degenerative disorder of the nervous system – Applied Materials will focus on cooperation projects with four universities and ITRI – Five members of Academia Sinica have been elected to the Italy-headquartered Academy of Sciences for the Developing World – A research team made a breakthrough in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture biotechnology by up to 50 % – Local researchers made progress in reaching a new treatment for frontotemporal dementia – A research team at Academia Sinica uncovered a key molecular player in hepatitis C virus replication – a research team of the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) published findings on the Higgs transition of north and south poles of electron spins in a magnet.
N° 8 Août 2012 9 p. 150 kb
News Highlights:
An academic group from National Tsing Hua University introduced the latest breakthrough into research on the smallest plasmonic nanlaser ever developed, which can theoretically transmit 1’000 times faster than the present series of semiconductor lasers – Researchers developed a new vaccine against Enterovirus 71 – the National Taiwan University Hospital successfully implanted a living donor kidney using the da Vinci surgical robot, touting it as the first successful use of the procedure in Asia – A National Cheng Kung University research team has made a major breakthrough in the regeneration of new blood vessels in cardiovascular therapy using new nanotechnology – Researchers identified a substance found in the body that is an anti-inflammatory and tumor suppressant, which could pave the way for new cancer therapies – the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute launched the “Ocean Research V” vessel – Taiwan helps search space for origins of the universe – the National Defense University has been using nano-carbon materials to develop lightbulbs and tubes that are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than currently available products – “Phoenix”, Taiwan’s first solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made its first test flight – Researchers at Academia Sinica found the possible cause for Lou Gehrig’s disease – Researchers developed a simple one-step method for simultaneously introducing multiple genes into a yeast host, which is promising for use in the economical production of ethanol from plant cellulose as well as many other synthetic biology applications – the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital developed a transgenic zebrafish model suitable for studying fibrosis and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma associated with hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infection – a national Tsing Hua University research team made a breakthrough in bio-imaging technology that will enable researchers to study stem cells more closely and cheaply – Researchers cloned a marker gene in coral that is likely to help artificially cultivate endangered coral species – the National Cheng Kung University made a breakthrough in semiconductor packaging by developing the Sn-Zn-Ag-Al-Ga solder, a new revolutionary material which excels in terms of reliability and low cost – a National Cheng Kung University research team discovered Near-Infrared Light-Responsive oligonucleotide-gated Au nanoensembles (Au nanorod complex), a potent new anti-cancer complex.
N° 7 Juillet 2012 9 p. 140 kb
The world’s second and Asia’s first ground control facility for an advanced physics detector that was sent into space last year to gather data about the origin of the universe was inaugurated in Taiwan – to enable tiny generators to collect and store kinetic energy in batteries that can power light-emitting diodes (LED) was reported as major breakthrough in nano electricity – a research team found in animal tests that mesenchymal stem cells helped to healing of wounds and the regeneration of blood vessels – the National Taiwan Normal University invented method for a rapid screening for diabetes by measuring acetone levels in breath – a research team of the National Yang Ming University identified a compound that can efficiently control the development of cancer cells without damaging normal cells – the National Cheng Kung University made a breakthrough in semiconductor packaging by developing a new material (using a mix of tin, zinc, silver, aluminum and gallium) that is believed to be more stable and cost-effective than existing materials – researchers from Taiwan, the USA and China have jointly developed the world’s smallest semiconductor laser device – a biotech company introduced a herbal medicine for the treatment of cancer-related fatigue (CRF), touting it as the first drug ever developed specifically for that purpose – the Taipei Veterans General Hospital used a new device to cure a patient suffering from mesenteric artery thrombosis (MAT).
N° 6 Juin 2012 7 p. 110 kb
“Incredible Green Contest”
Acer Foundation kicked off the first annual Green Contest 2012 to promote better and greener living environment. The Green Contest competition is open to students at all level worldwide to create innovative and sustainable solutions. Finalist teams will be selected to compete for Grand Prize of US$ 60,000 and provided with complementary trip to Taipei for Computex 2013. The deadline to submit an entry is 30 September 2012. Submitted entries will be evaluated by a panel of experts based on essential factors of earth friendliness, reality friendliness and innovation friendliness. Details of the contest can be downloaded from:“2012 Study in Taiwan” for downloads:

  • Business and Management Programs
  • Short-term Programs
  • Learning Chinese in Taiwan
N° 5 Mai 2012 10 p. 143 kb
Biomaterials Conference in Taipei; with the participation of Thomas J. Svoboda, CTI start-up coach in Switzerland, presenting the case of Elanix (in Nyon) – Transwell Biotech Co. Ltd. (in Taipei) on developing and manufacturing advanced cell treatments for burn victims.
Taiwan’s biomaterial sector is set for significant growth on the back of increased cooperation between Taiwan and Europe, according to state-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute. A key component of this two-way commitment was on show at a conference for biomaterials in Taipei City, where government officials and business leaders from Taiwan and Europe shared experiences in promoting joint partnerships. Organized by Hsinchu-based ITRI, the event succeeded in bringing local firms up to speed on global market developments. It also spotlighted Taiwan’s need to fast-track R&D and product certification processes by leveraging cross-border collaboration and resource integration. According to the ITRI, Taiwan’s biomaterial sector output is roughly NT$80 billion per year, with the majority of participants being small and medium enterprises. “Taiwan and Europe are a perfect match given their respective advantages in innovation capability and technological expertise,” said Heng Yong-chie, director-general of ITRI’s International Center. Since 2008 the ITRI has helped promote 15 joint research projects between organizations from Taiwan and Europe, and assisted 20 local firms in tie-ups with their eurozone counterparts. Elanix and Transwell Biotech Co. Ltd., a Taipei-headquartered outfit, teamed up with the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) on developing and manufacturing advanced cell treatments for burn victims. “These successful experiences have shifted local sector development into top gear while serving as multinational collaboration models for other emerging sectors around the island,” Heng said.
“Taipei tech show to have stronger Swiss presence”, Want Want China Times.
N° 4 April 2012 9 p. 342 kb

Table 1 - IMD Scientific and Technological Subindex and WEF Innovation and Sophistication Factors

Technology and innovation has been essential to Taiwan’s global competitiveness. The island has risen to the forefront in the technological rankings conducted by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), a feat reflecting Taiwan’s crucial role in terms of technology R&D and innovation capability worldwide. In the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, Taiwan ranked 13th worldwide and 4th in Asia. In terms of patents per one million population, Taiwan continued to top the category of utility patents per million population, even surpassing the United States. Meanwhile, in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2011 published by the IMD, Taiwan advanced from the 8th to 6th place among all 59 countries surveyed and ranked 3rd in Asia, scoring remarkable performance in terms of scientific infrastructure. In the index of patent productivity, Taiwan rose to the 1st place worldwide.

Table 2 - IMD Scientific and Technological Subindex and WEF Innovation and Sophistication Factors

The next two years will be the turning point for Taiwan’s science and technology development, and it is the only window of opportunity left for such development, according to Science Minister Cyrus Chu. The National Science Council will organize a national science and technology conference in December to develop a strategy on how to promote a scientific and technological upgrade in Taiwan. The agenda of the conference will cover how to maintain Taiwan’s position in academic research on the international stage, how to ensure that Taiwan’s information technology sector keeps making progress, and how to integrate Taiwan’s academic research sector with the business sector. The planned national conference, which is held every four years to outline science and technology development projects for the country, will also touch on issues concerning Taiwan’s intellectual property right protection, sustainable development and the science and technology brain drain.

40th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (18-22 April): Taiwan won 8 special prizes (+2 from 2011), 45 gold (+3), 52 silver and 25 bronze medals. Taiwan presented 125 works at the exhibition, which showcased over 1’000 inventions of 789 exhibitors from 46 countries. The Taiwan Invention Association attributed the brilliant achievements of the Taiwanese inventors to increasing attention paid by the government to vocational education.

N° 3 Mars 2012 13 p. 185 kb
The National Science Council (NSC), to become the Ministry of Science and Technology as part of a government reorganization program, will play a key role in “technological innovation” by creating a better research environment, discovering and fostering potential talent, and transforming the nation’s industries from an “efficiency-oriented” focus to an “innovation-oriented” mindset, according to NSC Minister Cyrus Chu. The NSC currently reviews a budget of about NT$ 100 bio. (US$ 3.4 bio.), of which some NT$ 60 bio. are slated for the general technology budgets of other government agencies, while the other NT$ 40 bio. is for NSC’s own operating budget. The authority to review budgets will be transferred to the Cabinet’s Board of Science and Technology after NSC becomes a ministry.

News highlights
An international team of researchers from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, China and the USA have identified eight genes that could predict the incidence of Type 2 diabetes – scientists have developed Taiwan’s first current-resistant undersea robot – Taiwan and Russia expand their top wave dynamics fundamental research and application – a medical team invented the virus sensor for children’s medical care – human testing of a locally developed flu could begin soon – Taiwan and Europe could jointly develop an advanced navigation system – Taiwan and Japan pursue biomedical partnership – a company unveiled a nano additive for upgrading fuel efficiency – National Chiao Tung University has made a significant breakthrough in the field of molecular electronic devices and produced the first ever applicable single-molecule protein transistor, which opens a new page with regard to the probability introducing biomedical nanotechnology in semiconductor manufacturing.

N° 2 Février 2012 8 p. 109 kb
The National Science Council (NSC) establishes a Sci-tech Development Council in order to collect advice and proposals that support NSC’s implementation and promotion of the development of natural science, sustainability technology, engineering technology, life sciences, humanity and social sciences, science education, international cooperation and applied technology. It will offer suggestions with regard to NSC’s subordinate charge-domains, helping with NSC’s execution and sci-tech and academic promotion. The specific tasks assigned to the advisory council is to give professional advice that supports the national policy-making with regard to sci-tech development, national sci-tech programs and other related sci-tech issues. The council will be made up of 19 councilors, including Chairperson and Head Councilor. NSC will invite local or foreign honorable sci-tech and academic figures to take the seats of councilors. Meanwhile, the National Applied Research Laboratories have followed the country’s policy to set up five annual goals which are closely related to people’s liveliness and wellbeing or economic development.

Taiwan has gone one step further for its international R&D cooperation by signing an agreement with French financial company OSEO in promoting innovation and R&D. The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis informed that it will invest over NT$500 mio. in Taiwan this year to make Taiwan as one of the company’s 10 largest clinical testing centers in the world. A breakthrough of measuring technology in the field of semiconductor, flat panel and solar energy manufacturing has been unveiled by a local university research team. The same university has invested NT$75 mio. to establish a super computing center, which will become the fastest computing institute in the country. Regarding to the developments in medical field, a new finding of brain cells responsible for the formation of long-term memory in fruit flies may bring hope for brain diseases. A Taiwanese team has a new understanding of the functions of an enzyme, which could pave the way for preventing or curing cardiovascular diseases. A local university has also reported a successful reattachment surgery of an arm torn off at the shoulder for the first time in the world. These and other science-related information are reported in more details in this current issue.

N° 1 Janvier 2012 4 p. 88 kb
A breakthrough development of LED bulbs was reported by Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). The newly developed bulb has great potential to change the current market of energy-efficient bulbs with its half weight of a normal LED bulb. Academia Sinica, the nation’s top research institute, has also identified cancer-initiating cells in KRASG12D mutant gene-induced lung adenocarcinoma, which could contribute to the search for lung cancer treatments. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control has developed a new enterovirus 71 (EV71) screening reagent to receive the result immediately without an additional process of sending to an outside laboratory to get the result.