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 Décembre 2013 5 p. 356 kb
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) developed the See-Through technology, a new autonomous vehicle safety system, which was awarded as the Switzerland regional winner in the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) 2013 for its creativity and great potential. ITRI also revealed a new streaming technology as a solution to Internet congestion, especially in packed areas such as stadiums or concerts halls. Moreover, the Hsinchu-based institute introduced its software-based Wi-Fi Multicast system that overcomes online streaming congestion to deliver crisp, uninterrupted images to a large audience. The National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) is developing a warning system which provides much needed warning time in the event of a tsunami by monitoring ionospheric disturbances, while professor Yueh-Min Huang of NCKU unveiled his cloud history interactive e-book reader, which allows teachers to observe and advise on students’ reading behavior to significantly boost study efficacy. Local institutes have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a magnetic resonance imaging R&D and image service platform to enhance domestic MRI system R&D and related technology to promote high-level MRI use in such fields as basic biomedicine, animal modeling, preclinical research and translational medicine. Taiwanese researchers of National Taiwan University Hospital examined whether a correlation exists in Taiwanese with the disease between Parkinson’s disease susceptibility genes and the risk of developing the condition, and showed different results for local people with the international studies. A local medical research team also discovered that monascin inhibits inflammation and improves insulin resistance, and could therefore help diabetics better control their disease.
N° 11 Novembre 2013 5 p. 90 kb
Taiwan’s National Applied Research Laboratories’ Chip Implementation Center unveiled its MorSensor wireless sensor building blocks. Suitable blocks can be combined to create a miniature but extremely sensitive sensing device, such as forming a breathalyzer with a screen, alcohol sensor and power source. By changing one block in the array, MorSensor can be transformed into a different sensing device. An example would be replacing the alcohol sensor in the breathalyzer with a lens unit to produce a camera.
Tainan City-based Cheng Kung University Department of Psychology professor Hsieh Shu-lan used theta waves to conduct neurofeedback training in senior citizens and proved the method effectively raised their attention span and memory capacity, as well as slowing brain aging, NCKU said. The findings were published in international journal Clinical Neurophysiology under the title “Neurofeedback training improves attention and working memory performance.”“ITRI TODAY”, no. 74, 3rd Quarter 2013: 2013 ITRI Laureates: A Tribute to Those who Brought Great Value to Taiwan’s Industry; Natural Language Understanding Technology with Conversational Capability; Taiwan’s First 3-Dimensional “IC Packaging; Topography Inspection Module”; Taiwan’s Technology – Recognized the World over for Innovation; ITRI Establishes Second Presence in Europe, etc.
N° 10 Octobre 2013 7 p. 329 kb
The Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) of the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) has released the “Yearbook of Science and Technology Taiwan ROC 2012” (272 pages). It highlights multiple perspectives about science and technology development in Taiwan and provides comprehensive information about the rationales, policies, programs, activities, and achievements of the governmental, academic and industrial sectors dedicated to the advancement of science and technology. The Yearbook consists of special reports on nuclear safety measures in Taiwan, e-government services, food security policy, research program for biopharmaceuticals and for intelligent electronics. It provides a science and technology policy overview and also includes basic research in science and technology activities and achievements on natural sciences, engineering and applied sciences, life sciences, humanities and social sciences and science education. The last part of the yearbook is dedicated to applied research and technology development on a variety of research fields such as networked communication programs, biopharmaceuticals, e-learning and digital archives, intelligent electronics, nano technology, energy. The full text of this Yearbook can be downloaded from the website.

STPI also keeps updating the “Science and Technology Organization Directory” which can be also found in the website. The Directory stores all information related to S&T research institutes under the Office of the President and the Executive Yuan, universities and colleges, public corporations, and innovation incubation centers, while “search & browsing” functions are also provided.

N° 09 Septembre 2013 5 p. 186 kb
The 8th Taiwan-Swiss Biomedical Symposium, organized by Novartis Taiwan in conjunction with Academia Sinica and the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), with guidance provided by the Science & Technology Advisory Group of the Executive Yuan, was held in Taipei on 10 September, with the aim to provide opportunities for biomedical industry cooperation between Switzerland and Taiwan. The topic for this year focused on translational medicine with the Novartis delegation from around the world assembling top translational medicine scientists from Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research (NIBR), Academia Sinica and other research institutes to seek the opportunities for mutual collaboration. Further, the Switzerland-based Novartis Venture Funds, an arm of Novartis International AG, has been seeking investment targets in Taiwan to invest US$15 million and US$20 million per company in the biotechnology sector. Five short-listed local companies (two for cancer drugs, one for diagnostic medical devices, one for medical equipment and the other as a research institute) were recommended by the Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry. The funding company is looking for biomedical firms that can leverage the highly developed information technology industry in Taiwan. Before making a final investment, Novartis will form a research team to look at the potential targets and local partners. Cooperation between Novartis and Taiwanese entities have been strong over recent years, not only with this annual symposium as an example, but also with an annual ‘Bio Leadership Camp’ held in Taipei for the development of young leadership talent, a research fellowship program designed to help nurture local researchers, and a considerable number of clinical trials at local hospitals.
N° 08 Août 2013 9 p. 308 kb
  • A team at National Taiwan Normal University’s Information Technology Center found that Taiwan led the world in terms of the average number of times educational research papers by Taiwanese were cited by academic publications between 2010-2012. The study was conducted by analyzing publication records from scientific citation-indexing services Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus, which covered 216 and 573 journals in the field of education last year respectively. Based on WoS data, Taiwan had 1.73 citations per paper (CPP), trailed by the Netherlands with 1.55, and Scopus data showed that Taiwan’s CPP in 2010 was 0.97 (2nd-highest after Belgium). The research was published in the June edition of “Scientometrics.”
  • The National Science Council (NSC) found that its 2009-2013 National Science Technology Program—energy project has delivered fruitful results in increasing energy independence, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting energy-use efficiency and structural change, as well as creating energy technology research plans. NSC pointed out that the program has achieved success especially in energy conservation technologies such as high-efficiency yellow organic light-emitting diodes, variable frequency drive centrifugal chillers, smart electric grids and offshore wind farm development. A total of 10,560 papers, 9,253 doctoral students, 1,007 patents and 1,069 cases of technology transformation were funded under the NT$ 25 bio. program, which also generated NT$ 37 bio. in direct and indirect investment from the private sector.
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, spent more on research and development than any other Taiwan-listed company in 1H 2013, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The top 300 Taiwan-listed companies spent a total of NT$230.6 bio. on R&D, +5.7 %, with TSMC spending NT$ 22.6 bio. (+17.5 %), followed by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (assembler of i-phones and i-pads), chip-designer MediaTk Inc. and smartphone maker HTC Corp.
N° 07 Juillet 2013 10 p. 211 kb
Future Ministry of Science and Technology
The cabinet has embarked on an organization re-engineering work in order to streamline the government’s organization. The National Science Council (NSC) will be merged with the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction and the Atomic Energy Council’s nuclear safety control mission. The to-be-established Ministry of Science and Technology will bear responsibility for the promotion of scientific and technological development, mid-stream basic academic research, and applied research. It will chiefly consist of eight departments, namely a General Planning Department, Natural Science and Sustainability R&D Department, Engineering Technology R&D Department, Life Science R&D Department, Humanities and Social Sciences R&D Department, Science Department, and Industry-Academic and Science Park Department, as well as four grade three agencies: Office of Nuclear Safety, Northern Taiwan Science Park Administration, Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration, and Central Science Park Administration.
The latest White Paper on Science and Technology (2011-2014) formulates eight development strategies addressing such aspects as academic research, the economy, human welfare, and the environment, and seeks to achieve the vision of transforming Taiwan into an “innovative global pioneer in green energy technology and intelligent living” by 2020. Beyond continuing to rely on the strengths of the information and communications industry, the island will leverage the strengths of its ICT and industry to establish innovative applications services spanning different industries and develop diversified intelligent industries focusing on such areas as cloud computing, smart electric vehicles, and smart green architecture.
In the area of academic research, strategies will include the training of outstanding manpower in order to link Taiwan with global innovation networks and achieve world-class research quality. In the area of economic development, strategies will include strengthening of design and innovation, establishment of ties to emerging knowledge industries, meeting citizens’ living needs, and reinforcing the nation’s economic strength. In the area of citizens’ welfare, strategies will include enhancement of disaster mitigation technologies and technologies for living, boosting citizens’ safety, and improving quality of life by combining S&T development with the humanities to establish an aesthetic economy. In the area of environmental development, strategies will include the establishment of an environment promoting the synergy in the application of scientific research results, the revitalization of local resources, sufficient attention to environmental conservation, and fulfillment of Taiwan’s responsibilities as a global citizen.
N° 06 Juin 2013 6 p. 356 kb
The Office of Public Affairs of Academia Sinica held an event on 5 June to present the outcomes of 50 of the latest discoveries by researchers at Academia Sinica to prospective business partners. 31 of the discoveries were related to pharmaceutical biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology, and a further 19 were related to precision instrumentation, optoelectronics, information technology. Among the research presented was the generation of novel five epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) antibodies including EpAb2-6, that can induce cancer-cell death and inhibit tumor growth. EpAb2-6 has been successfully converted to a humanized version and EpCAM antibodies can be used for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, and cancer-targeted therapy and molecular imaging. Another was a novel method for the generation of human interferon-producing killer dendritic cell (IKDC)-like cells with anti-tumor activity. The invention provides methods to grow murine and human IFN-producing IKDC-like cells in vitro. Adoptive transfer of murine IKDC-like cells inhibited tumor growth and elicited tumor-specific immune responses in syngeneic tumor-bearing mice and has the potential to treat human cancers. A professor from the Institute of Physics presented three research outcomes. One is a method of electrochemical etching of tungsten tips with controllable profiles. The proposed fabrication overcomes the limitations that result from difficulty in tip profile modification. The proposed fabrication has a simple mechanical set up and does not require an electronic cutoff circuit. A commercial function generator is employed to fabricate tungsten tips with the desired profile. Tips with ultra-high aspect ratio can be obtained. The radius of curvature at the apex can be controlled to less than 10 nm. The surface roughness and cone angle can be controlled independently. The method allows rapid processing and simple setup to prepare single-atom tips at relatively low cost. A Research Fellow from the Institute of Physics released well-received findings outlining a new approach, termed molecular dam, for ultrafast protein enrichment (100,000 fold in 20 seconds) in nanofluidic channels under physiological buffer conditions. He will present three related advanced nanotechnological platforms, including a nanofluidic system to identify specific binding locations of proteins along genomic DNA molecules with sub-100 nm resolution. This device has the ability to distinguish a real protein-DNA complex from a non-specific one, thereby providing more reliable and accurate information. This technique can also be used for other relevant studies such as epigenetic analysis of genomic DNA molecules and drug-DNA interactions. This method also opens up the possibility for a lab-on-a-chip device in which in-vivo complexed DNA-protein samples can be extracted and protein-binding sites mapped. This approach is simpler and easier than existing technologies. (Academia Sinica).
N° 05 Mai 2013 7 p. 243 kb
Stefan M. Moser, Associate Professor of Information Theory Lab, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) was presented with the 2013 Wu Ta-You Memorial Award on 3 May at the National Science Council Academic Research Award celebration in Taipei for his research at NCTU to investigate the theoretical foundations of communication systems of today and the future.

Established in 2007 by the National Science Council (NSC), the top government agency in Taiwan responsible for promoting the development of science and technology, the “Wu Ta-You Memorial Award,” has been designated as one of the highest academic honors given to the maximum of 40 scholars annually to encourage young researchers (under 42 years old). The Award recognizes outstanding researchers and scientists who, early in their careers, have already demonstrated or shown exceptional accomplishments in science and technology. Through this Award, NSC identifies the most promising of a new generation of cutting edge researchers in fields that are critical to Taiwan’s science and technology development. Moreover, it is extremely rare that a foreign researcher in Taiwan is being considered for this Award.

Professor Moser was born in Switzerland. He received the diploma (M.Sc.) in electrical engineering (with distinction) in 1999, the M.Sc. degree in industrial management (M.B.A.) in 2003, and the Ph.D. degree (Dr. sc. techn.) in the field of information theory in 2004, all from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is current an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan, where he has worked since 2005. His research interests are in information theory and digital communications. In addition to 2013 Wu Ta-You Memorial Award, Dr. Moser has also received many awards for his work and teaching, including the Honors of 2012 Wu Ta-You Memorial Award, the Best Paper Award for Young Scholars by the IEEE Communications Society and IT Society (Taipei/Tainan Chapters) in 2009, the NCTU Excellent Teaching Award, and the NCTU Outstanding Mentoring Award (both in 2007), and he was presented with the Willi Studer Award of ETH and the ETH Medal both in 1999, and the Sandoz (Novartis) Basler Maturandenpreis in 1993.

“I am very much honored and extremely happy to have received the Award, especially as I am one of only very few international university faculty members in Taiwan,” Professor Moser said. He went on to say that “Taiwan is very open to outsiders and integrates them very well into their society. I very much hope that in future more international researchers will discover the excellent working environment found in the academic field in Taiwan and will come to enjoy life and work in Taiwan.”

N° 04 Avril 2013 6 p. 261 kb
Taiwanese inventors won 97 medals and 6 special prizes, including 30 gold medals, at the 41st International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva (725 exhibitors from 45 countries), an annual fair considered the world’s largest marketplace for inventions. A 74-member Taiwanese delegation showcased 101 inventions. The Taiwanese inventors also won 53 silver medals and 14 bronzes. Last year, Taiwan won 45 gold, 52 silver and 25 bronze medals, as well as 8 special prizes. According to the Taiwan Invention Association, Taiwan’s six winners of special prizes in the 2013 show are all conventional inventions for daily life, such as a « lifesaving electric socket » that shuts off automatically when a fire breaks out and activates a red guiding light to show the exit direction in dense smoke. Others include an interactive plant pot that can automatically gauge the amount of water needed to maintain the plant and a dietary supplement purported to relieve depression and suppress appetite. One of the inventions was a carbon monoxide sensor which could activate both open a window and turn on an exhaust fan if it detects dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. This invention could potentially safe lives, debuting at the invention fair to great acclaim. The product, which also won a gold medal, is named « Happy Banana » and is made from banana skins. It was developed and produced by Taipei-based biotechnology company TCI Co. The interactive water-saving picture frame for plants was an eye-catching exhibit at the fair.

A joint study by National Cheng Kung University and Ohio State University found vitamin E to have properties to prevent and treat cancer – The National Science Council nominated 40 candidates for startup grants, comprising teams from 22 research organizations and universities, covering fields such as biotechnology, cloud computing, industrial design and technical services – Researchers located a gene that causes neuromuscular disorder – National Tsing Hua University presented the results of their latest research on biological and bio-inspired materials – National Chiao Tung University built a new type of high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) that has the highest oscillation frequency in the world – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) spend most in R&D among Taiwanese companies – Taiwan Biomaterial Company is working on novel brain surgery material – the National Applied Research Laboratories’ (NARL) Instrument Technology Research Center announced an important breakthrough in producing large-diameter aspheric lenses for FORMOSAT 5 – National Taiwan University Hospital discovered the mechanism controlling the pigmentation of bird feathers, which could lead to a cure for graying hair.

N° 03 Mars 2013 3 p. 193 kb
Taiwan’s Science Parks
CarteAccording to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, Taiwan ranks first in its “state of cluster development” index. More than a dozen science parks in Taiwan are organized into three geographic groups: Hsinchu Science Park, Central Taiwan Science Park and Southern Taiwan Science Park.’ Newcomers to the science park system, currently in the startup stage, include the Yilan Science Park, the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park, and the Advanced Research Park in Nantou County. Expansion of a number of other parks is also underway.
Taiwan’s science parks are designed and administered to provide ideal conditions for high-tech business operations. These include affordable leases, secure supplies of water, power and materials, and efficient shipping services. The parks also provide excellent environments for developing powerful synergies with clusters of related enterprises, some in nearby industrial parks, as well as with public R&D institutions.Related Websites:
• National Science Council:
• Department of Industrial Technology, Ministry of Economic Affairs:
• Atomic Energy Council:
• National Applied Research Laboratories:
• Industrial Technology Research Institute:
• Institute for Information Industry:
• Hsinchu Science Park:
• Southern Taiwan Science Park:
• Central Taiwan Science Park:
N° 02 Février 2013 3 p. 81 kb
President Ma Ying-jeou said that Taiwan must make further efforts in investing in research and development even though his target for R&D spending of 3 % of GDP has been met. Taiwan has no natural resources, but is successful in “digging brain mines.” In the World Bank’s Knowledge Economic Index rankings for 2012, Taiwan ranked 13th among 146 evaluated countries around the world and was first among Asian countries, he said, attributing the result to the country’s education system. Although Taiwan has been winning many prizes in international invention and design competitions, few of the awarded works have been commercialized or turned into thriving businesses. To take better advantage of the island’s innovative capacity, Ma said, his administration has decided to set “the commercialization of patented inventions” as one of its major priorities.

Taiwan’s leading research institute urges an education and science reform – the findings in an international scientific project could lead to fire ant control – the National Science Council (NSC) unveiled its scientific development blueprint – Sargassum horneri is regarded a worthy algae – Taiwanese researchers establish evolutionary tree of ginko.

N° 01 Janvier 2013 5 p. 110 kb
Premier C. Chen promised to leave no stone unturned in implementing the four-year science and technology blueprint (2013-2016) proposed by the National Science Council. It contains seven goals: upgrading academic research, protecting intellectual property rights, promoting sustainable development, strengthening research and industry cooperation, encouraging integrated science projects, boosting scientific and technology innovation, and tackling sector brain drain.
The Tang Awards, created by Ruentex Group Chairman Samuel Yin, are to become known as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, aiming to raise Taiwan’s profile in the international academic community. With the help of Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institution, it will honor individuals, regardless of nationality, who have made outstanding contributions or who have achieved significant breakthroughs in sustainable engineering, medical and biotech research, Sinology studies, and law. A cash prize of NT$ 50 mio. will be presented to the winner in each of the four categories. The Tang Awards are to be presented every two years.News Highlights:
Neurosurgery professor Lin Shinn-zong of China Medical University in Taichung City has been named a Charter Fellow of US-based National Academy of Inventors – National Cheng Kung University developed a digital painting pen that allows users to change brush strokes and colors with a single pen when drawing on a computer screen – cognitive neuroscientists found cross-cultural universality of brain networks for recognizing word shapes and handwriting gestures during reading – National Cheng Kung University developed an optical system to quantify the properties of biological tissues noninvasively – Taiwan is adjusting the focus of climate change research (a new study on how agriculture and ecology are influenced by climate change) – Academia Sinica researchers develop a new approach of using a “molecular dam” to enhance the mass transport of protein molecule enrichment, which could helop accelerate the detection of disease in the preliminary stages – National Taiwan Normal University and Pennsylvania State University establish an international research center to promote Chinese language learning – Three Taiwan think tanks rank among Asia’s top 40 research institutes – Kaoshiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital is to conduct experimental hand transplants – a research team from the National Chung Hsing University produced the world’s first cloned miniature pigs – scientists at the Genomic Research Center developed potential carbohydrate-based vaccines against breast cancer.