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The Future of Asia 2012

Taiwan Scientist Wants More Univ, Industry Teamwork

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Greater cooperation between universities and industry will spur growth for Asia, said Chi-Huey Wong, president of Taiwan's Academia Sinica, at a symposium in Tokyo on Thursday.

Speaking at the 18th International Conference on the Future of Asia, Wong said the Taiwanese government has made legal reforms to encourage more cooperation between the two sectors, and that this is beginning to bear fruit.

"Investors receive tax benefits for investing in science and technology," Wong said, "And researchers can play roles in start-ups as directors or advisers. Through these reforms, more than 80 new drugs and hundreds of new devices are in development."

Wong said he believes a major problem facing universities is that researchers often do not work on problems that can be put to practical use by industry. To foster true innovation, discoveries in the academic field need to be passed on to industry, which can spread them throughout society. "If you want to think of the real impact of a discovery, it has to come through collaboration between academia and industry," he said.

Wong added that further cooperation between countries in the region could also help. "I would like to see more collaboration and interaction between academic institutions in the region. There are common problems and common interests in the region. I hope Japan will take the lead in establishing cooperation."

Regarding Japan's relative weakness in international research, "The evaluation criteria perhaps have to be revised," said Wong. At present, the most important criterion for judging the quality of research in academia is publication. But Wong argued that it is necessary to come up with "new evaluation systems" to encourage international research that "puts more weight on measuring the social benefit" of such research.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.