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Taiwan's technology success underappreciated: Canadian scientist

2010/07/24 16:18

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) The success and degree of sophistication ofTaiwan's science and technology development is much better thanthe credit it receives, a Canadian scientist said in a recent interview.

"Taiwan's strength sometimes is not recognized by others...perhaps because it lives in the shadow of a large neighbor (China), "said Arthur Carty, who was appointed as a science adviser to Taiwan'spremier and a member of the board of Taiwan's Executive Yuan Scienceand Technology Advisory Group (STAG) in September 2008.

Taiwan has almost all the elements of a technologically advancedcountry, including fine universities, innovation and leadingcompanies, said Carty, who is also the executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Carty jokingly said Canada has been suffering from the same lackof attention because of a powerful neighbor -- the United States.

Most people don't recognize Bombardieur, the world's No.1 air andrailway technology company, as a Canadian enterprise, and the samegoes for Blackberry smartphone developer Research in Motion (RIM), headded.

As an observer of Taiwan's technology development and a scientistwho has collaborated with Taiwan's universities and researchinstitutes for over a decade, Carty said Taiwan's investment inscience and technology in the past 10 years has been "by and largevery wise" and the vast investment has paid off.

Taiwan's decision to focus on computer and information technologydevelopment 20 years ago has turned out to be a brilliant policy as anumber of its companies have had global success, he said.

Taiwan's investment in nanotechnology will also pay off in thefuture and will benefit all sectors, he said.

However, the development of biotechnology in Taiwan has been"largely unsuccessful" despite the resources and investment thegovernment has poured into it, Carty said. This is probably because the basic research is "not solidenough," he said.

Another impressive aspect of Taiwan's development in thefield of science is its integrated approach and formulation of national policy, he said.

For example, at a one-week STAG meeting, government officials,industry professionals, research and development experts andacademics reviewed and discussed a number of proposals beforethrowing out the bad ones, he said.

"We don't have anything like that in Canada, " said Carty, whoserved as the first science advisor to the prime minister and the government of Canada from 2004-2008.

He said that Taiwan and Canada will be ableto complement each other in the area of nanotechnology. In Taiwan'scase, it can carry out clinical trials of nano medicine to helpCanada in related research fields and provide expertise in solarcell development, he said.

The University of Waterloo, one of the top Canadian universitiesin nanotechnology, has signed partnership agreementswith two Taiwanese universities and will seek to do the same withthree others, he said.

(By Chris Wang)enditem /pc