Innovation Notes from Asia...
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh is extending his Asia strategy with an innovation tour of Taiwan and South Korea – his third trip to the region since taking office in 2010. Through high-level meetings, Loh is laying the groundwork for new research and educational partnerships .
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
More Ties to a Model Innovation Cluster
Despite heavy storms and flooding, we planted more “seeds” today at the highly influential innovation cluster based in Hsinchu City - a 30-minute high-speed train ride from Taipei.
Its expansive science park, supported by two research universities, make the city the powerhouse of Taiwan's high-tech industry. For several years it ranked number one among innovation industry clusers. As of today, we are allied with two of these Hsinchu institutions, and are moving to establish a formal agreement with the third.
Our first stop in Hsinchu City: National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), a world-class research institution with excellence in the sciences and engineering, particularly work in nuclear applications.
We opened formal ties today with NTHU, signing a new five-year agreement of cooperation. The pact calls for joint research and the exchange of faculty and students for research, teaching and study.
NTHU President Lih-Juann Chen (left) and Dr. Loh (right) formalized a collaborative agreement on Tuesday
After the ceremony we sat down with a number of academic colleagues to firm up likely areas for collaboration, including life sciences and physics. We fully expect these seeds to germinate into substantial research and learning opportunities.
Next, I got my first look at our new partner (as of yesterday) - the huge and impressive Hsinchu Science Park, which hosts more than 400 companies. In reality, it is a city in itself, with all the necessary amenities and infrastructure. It has, what is reputed to be, the best water treatment plant in all of Taiwan. Everything is built to be green and sustainable.
When the facility opened in the 1980s, they started from scratch. Now the operation is quite successful. Its work focuses primarily on semiconductor and optoelectronic research, and it produced more than $34 billion in revenue last year.
Hsinchu is the powerhouse of Taiwan’s high-tech industry and one of the best innovation industry clusters in the world. In our discussions today with our new partners we sketched out many areas for collaboration. Our alliance definitely promises mutual benefit, and we hope to bring Taiwanese firms to the University of Maryland International Incubator in College Park.
Finally, we stopped at the second major research university flanking Hsinchu Science Park: National Chiao Tung University, which has very close ties with Taiwan’s integrated circuit industry.
They have no ties, however, with any Maryland institutions, but are very interested in establishing a formal relationship with UMD. As is the custom, we exchanged gifts and discussed natural areas for collaboration. Our talk was quite promising, and we will follow up on this most encouraging opening.
Back in Taipei, our host for dinner was the nation’s education minister, Honorable Dr. Wei Ling Chiang. This too was a most encouraging discussion, especially in the area of student exchanges.
Innovation Tour Day-By-Day
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