Taipei, July 8 (CNA) An official from the European Research Council arrived in Taiwan Sunday to promote a billion-euro funding program for research as part of the council's global mission to invest in the best talent in frontier research.
The program will make available grants totaling 1.8 billion euros (US$2.2 billion) for any individuals, including early-career and senior researchers, from around the world in all disciplines, said Donald Dingwell, secretary-general of the council.
The secretary-general described Taiwan as one of the first places to come to in Asia because of its high academic standing.
"Taiwan is known, in these 50 years, as a research powerhouse of Asia," said Dingwell, who has also visited Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan on his Asia trip to promote the grants.
Beginning July 10, researchers in any field will be able to apply for up to 3.5 million euros per grant from the council, an independent body in the European Union established in 2007 to fund frontier research.
There are no geographical quotas or restrictions on the nationality of the grantees. The only requirement is that 50 percent of their research must be carried out in Europe.
The success rate has been around 12 percent since the funding began in 2007, said Dingwell.
Over this period, the council has received fewer than 10 applications from Taiwan, "far too few for the talent that Taiwan has," he said.
The proposed budget for the council for the 2014-2020 period will almost double to 15 billion euros from 7.5 billion euros for the 2007-2013 period, Dingwell added.
He said the increase is partly attributed to the belief of the European Commission that "somehow, having the best researchers in Europe will allow us to grow faster out of our financial problems."
Dingwell said he is planning to visit Taiwan again next year, as well as China, Singapore and various other countries, as part of a two-year international campaign to attract more research proposals from outside Europe.
The global mission, which began in February has taken Dingwell to the United States, Canada, South Africa, South America and Asia.
During his three-day stay in Taiwan, Dingwell will meet with researchers, university representatives and officials to raise awareness about the council's funding schemes.
(By Christie Chen)