Innovative technology center opens in southern Taiwan

Southern Taiwan Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Technologies opened May 16 in Kaohsiung City, underscoring the commitment of the government to ensuring the balanced development of the knowledge-based economy nationwide.

The center, launched by Hsinchu County-based Industrial Technology Research Institute, Kaohsiung City Government and National Sun Yat-sen University on the latter's campus in Gushan District, is anticipated as playing a frontline role in this process. It will help create a regional interdisciplinary and interindustry platform for achieving major innovations.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said at the launch ceremony that a strong knowledge-based economy is key to powering a city's economic transformation. "We envisage the cooperation between the center's partners to position Kaohsiung as a magnet in Taiwan for attracting high-level R&D talent.

"We also expect the academic sector to shoulder a great share of the load in stimulating local industry and creating better-paid jobs for the city's young people."

Liu Jia-ming, General Director of ITRI's Commercialization and Industry Center, said southern Taiwan lags behind the north in terms of industrial innovation, R&D investment and wage levels. "By tackling the core issue of a lack of innovation, we believe the center will quickly break this vicious cycle and bring about a measurable improvement.

"We emphasize the value of interdisciplinary research as people from different fields working together can build strong synergies of innovation and add value to products and services."

Day-to-day operation of the center is the responsibility of NSYSU's College of Management, which will also coordinate local academic and industrial sector research resources. The college is overseeing the ITRI-initiated project on the strength of its success in working with mainly southern Taiwan-based businesses in boosting industry production value. From 2011 to 2015, the university generated US$3.75 million in revenues from academic-private sector technology transfers.

According to Liu, the college is conducting an ITRI-funded field assessment to identify technological inadequacies impeding local businesses from attaining commercialization of products, as well as maximizing production and service efficiencies. The teams, comprising local R&D talents and ITRI experts, are compiling a list of opportunities in such industries as fastener manufacturing, petrochemical and shipbuilding where specific needs can be met with existing technologies or through newly developed ones.

ITRI is a government-supported nonprofit R&D organization established in 1973 to help local industries stay competitive and sustainable through applied research and enhanced technical services. It plays a key role in transforming Taiwan's industrial sectors, including electronics, information communications technology, machinery and semiconductors. ITRI supports over 15,000 local companies each year, with 73 percent small and medium enterprises-the backbone of Taiwan's economy.

Source: Taiwan Today

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