Taiwan: Driving forward scientific and technological innovation

In the age of the knowledge-based economy, science and technology has become a key driver of growth and national progress for Taiwan, as this article about the country’s Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) delves into

The Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) is Taiwan’s agency for driving forward scientific and technological innovation, a major pillar of the country’s plans for economic growth. In the age of the knowledge-based economy, science and technology has become a key driver of growth and national progress for Taiwan.

As such, in March 2014, the National Science Council (NSC), which was originally established in February 1959, was reorganised into the Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) with a new structure designed to strengthen the integration of academic research and industrial development.

MOST was established with three main goals: promoting nationwide scientific and technological development, supporting academic research and developing science parks.

It continues the NSC’s traditional role of promoting partnerships between academia and industry and encouraging innovation, while also reinforcing the impetus for businesses to invest in research and development, fostering creativity, nurturing start-ups and supporting industrial development.

MOST formulate guidelines and policies for, as well as puts forward the overall vision and strategies of, Taiwan’s national science and technology development.

The National S&T Development Plan is jointly implemented by 17 ministries, departments and agencies, the national research academy Academia Sinica, the Board of Science & Technology, the Department of Cyber Security, the National Development Fund and local government.

The plan, which covers 2017 to 2020, focuses on four goals: reviving economic dynamics through innovation; developing smart living technologies and industries; cultivating and recruiting talents with diverse career paths; and enhancing an innovation ecosystem for scientific research.

MOST also oversee national science and technology programmes. Since 1997, Taiwan’s government has been promoting national-level research initiatives to address the country’s social and economic needs and to enhance national competitiveness.

In 2018, the government focused on promoting the second phase of its National Energy Programme, which aims to reduce Taiwan’s dependency on imported energy and to improve the international competitiveness of alternative energy industries through the development of innovative renewable and low-carbon technologies.

MOST is participating as a partner in the programme, alongside the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation and the Atomic Energy Council.

MOST are also responsible for increasing national science and technology literacy and it actively promotes popular science. This includes funding collaborations between academia and industry to produce media content such as films, videos and animations about science and technology.

Last year, the Taiwan Railways of Popular Science train toured around the island to foster public interest in science.

In addition, the High Scope Programme helps high and vocational schools to integrate the emerging science and technology of everyday life into their curriculum to fostering the development of new innovations.

Elsewhere, the Foreseeing Programme aims to translate abstract and complex science and technology into enlightening, accessible and inspiring educational resources to spark public interest in the cutting-edge. As part of this, a MOST-sponsored summer programme offers island-wide interactive science classes for students, engaging them outside the traditional classroom and showing that science is fun.

Furthermore, MOST channels corporate and social resources to fund and organise popular science activities, such as Sci-Tech Vista, an online platform for sharing popular science resources.

To promote the development of academic research, MOST has implemented a number of core facility and major instrument projects to provide first-class equipment and promote resource sharing that help researchers achieve the maximum benefit from their work.

Meanwhile, the National Applied Research Laboratories aims to further scientific research by integrating and coordinating Taiwan’s national laboratories in order to translate R&D results into innovative products.

In its role as a bridge between government, academia and industry, MOST provide PIONEER grants to promote domestic collaboration between business and academia. Companies submit problems for researchers to solve.

Through the Academia-Industry Technological Alliance, research organisations are encouraged to establish service platforms centred on core technologies and SMEs are invited to participate in order to boost their competitiveness.

Finally, MOST has established three core science parks in northern, central and southern Taiwan to create a hi-tech innovation corridor to facilitate and accelerate the country’s transformation into a global centre for R&D.

The three parks encourage universities and companies in their respective regions to engage in collaboration, while also establishing incubation centres to provide professional consulting and resource referral services for start-ups.

In these and many other areas, MOST is fulfilling its mission to act as a catalyst for promoting the development of science and technology in Taiwan.

 

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