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Editorial: The key to the success of the new academic conference

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The government on Wednesday launched the provincial-level cabinet council, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), making it the supreme government agency to guide the development of science and technology in the country. The Council aims to play a key role in Taiwan’s industrial transformation and technological innovation. Its establishment represents a restructuring of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), which was established in March 2014, with the former Minister of Science and Technology (Wu Zhengzhong) heading the new body.

It also shows the organizational evolution of the policy-making bureaucracy for science and technology development dating back to 1959. The foundation of a fulfilling research environment. In the same year, the government established the National Long-Term Scientific Development Board to oversee research organization planning and higher education. Renamed the National Science Council (NSC) in 1969, it was reorganized as MOST in 2014.

Over the past 70 years, the government agencies that promote scientific and technological development have undergone several changes in their organizational structure and functions to meet the development needs of the nation at the time. For example, the NSC was tasked with promoting basic research and supporting academic research, formulating policies and developing science parks. In 2014, it was reborn as MOST, connecting academic research and industrial development.

Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has also contributed greatly to the improvement of applied research and technological capabilities in local industries. Development of local technology start-ups in Taiwan. Unfortunately, competition between agencies to achieve their goals and compete for government resources has fueled tensions between them over the years.

Given the increasing importance of science and technology development to the nation’s economic growth, government agencies need to strengthen inter-departmental and inter-agency cooperation, and the NSTC head has indicated the government’s desire to expand the portfolio. Mr. Wu, who is not a minister, should be appointed. Coordinate resource allocation among ministries and implement major science and technology policies.

At the inauguration, Wu said the new council will draft science and technology policies, support basic research, improve science parks, promote sustainable development and cultivate human resources. He also said precision medicine, smart medicine, electric vehicles and the space industry are among the key areas the government aims to focus on. But for Wu to succeed in his work, the NSTC will need to consolidate functions previously in the domain of other institutions. In addition to its role in policy making, the new council will also need to coordinate, evaluate and oversee the implementation of plans initiated by other agencies. In a nutshell, this is about efficiency and bureaucratic flexibility.

The Council must not make the same mistakes that its predecessors have made over the past eight years. That is, he keeps the ratio of basic research expenditure to less than 10% of total technology R&D expenditure. A country’s long-term competitiveness can be undermined by a weak commitment to basic research. Funding for basic research generally accounts for more than 10% of his national R&D budget in other major economies to ensure sustained research in science and technology.

Continuing to fall far behind other developed countries in this regard will only make Taiwan’s goal of becoming a science and technology innovation powerhouse all the more unrealistic.

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