Project to fund Taiwanese researchers to U.K. launched

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) praised the launch fron the U.K. as a fitting example of progress in bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and innovation. (Photo courtesy of CNA, 2018.3.22)

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) A project initiated by the British government to fund Taiwanese researchers to conduct research in United Kingdom for up to one year, the first of its kind, was launched Wednesday in Taipei in an effort to strengthen R&D cooperation between the two countries.

In the project’s first year, the U.K. will provide NT$8 million (US$ 274,000) for Taiwanese applicants to make research trips to the U.K. from two weeks to one year, announced Robin Grimes, chief scientific advisor at the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) in a press event in Taipei.

The program will fund 50 percent of the transport costs for all successful applicants. Applications are open to local universities, research and technology organizations (RTOs) and members of Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institution, said Grimes. The application deadline is April 30.

Grimes said the U.K. is known for its science and innovation strength, with 129 Nobel laureates and four of the world’s best universities. He also said that Taiwan and the U.K. complement each other’s strengths and that there is a wide range of opportunities for the two sides to work together.

The project begins with U.K. funding Taiwanese and he hopes to make it two way in the future.

Speaking at the event, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) praised the launch as a fitting example of progress in bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and innovation.

The U.K. and Taiwan share the same vision, he said, adding that while the former deems science, research, and innovation as the drivers for the industries of the future, the latter has launched a 5+2 Industrial Innovation Program, and a Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program to help transform Taiwan’s industrial structure and keep it competitive.

Looking toward the future, Chen said he sees many opportunities for future cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence, clean energy and smart manufacturing, as well as autonomous vehicles.

The U.K. is a world leader in the field of connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) regulations and experimentation, while Taiwan has its own electric vehicles (EV), including electric motorcycles by Gogoro and buses by Australia’s Royal Automobile Club on the road.

“So there’s clearly a synergy between Taiwan’s EV technology, and the U.K.’s CAV advances that could benefit both countries,” he noted.

According to the British Office Taipei, the U.K.’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, once proven successful the program will become a multi-year one.

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(By Joseph Yeh)