Difference engine

Pan-Chyr Yang offers insights into National Taiwan University’s sterling work in pure research, knowledge transfer, innovation and 21st-century learning

June 10, 2015
Difference engine
Source: Getty

Founded in 1928, National Taiwan University has a proud history and tradition. But although respectful of the past, we also seek to assume a “thought leadership” role fit for 21st-century challenges.

We are keen to facilitate innovation and breakthroughs in all fields of study, and have built platforms to encourage international cooperation and to entice top researchers from all over the world. We have established global research hubs in science and engineering, medicine, life sciences, agriculture and the social sciences, and are internationally recognised as a pioneer in translational research (for example, our acclaimed breakthroughs in computer chip design).

We strive to produce research not only of national interest but also of global importance. For example, we are leading the fight against non-small cell lung cancer – the biggest cause of cancer mortality worldwide – by using genomic analysis to improve patient care. Indeed, Taiwan’s implementation of a national programme for precision lung cancer therapy, based on our research, has significantly improved survival rates from the disease.

On the regional scale, we have contributed significantly to Dotstar – Dropsonde Observations for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region. This project marks the beginning of a new era for aircraft surveillance of the weather phenomenon in the Northwestern Pacific Basin and has yielded unprecedented technological advances in instrumentation and scientific field analysis.

We are also committed to university-industry collaboration and technology transfer through intellectual property management. We incubate innovative industries and seek to enable the everlasting evolution and advancement of our brainpower. Our International Research-Intensive Centers of Excellence – in bioengineering, computing and robotics – are backed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and have successfully developed academic research and maximised derivative gains from IP.

National Taiwan has 11 colleges, 54 departments, 105 graduate institutes, plus seven cross-disciplinary graduate programmes, providing an optimal environment for students to make the most of a well-rounded education at Taiwan’s top university.

We are dedicated to the concept of the “flipped classroom” (a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a university course are reversed), and our massive open online courses have won a variety of international awards. We were the first university to provide Moocs in Chinese on Coursera, joining other world-class institutions in offering high-quality online courses through the platform. Since 2013, we have consistently produced the most popular Coursera courses in the Chinese world and further afield in Asia. Through our high-quality Moocs, we take pride in acting as a global gateway to both traditional Chinese culture and Asia’s most innovative teaching.

The university acts to innovate, create and transform the way people think in order to solve the grand challenges faced by humanity. We attract top talent by building an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation: for example, take NTU Garage, an incubator space that nurtures promising start-ups by providing meeting spaces. It brings in leading alumni and Silicon Valley venture capitalists to consult, advise and equip budding teams with the resources they need. In our Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program, students from different fields meet on a cross-disciplinary platform designed to ensure that their ideas flourish through teamwork.

By providing the infrastructure for innovation, we have reduced start-ups’ learning curve and helped them launch successfully.

National Taiwan will continue to act as an engine for creativity and entrepreneurialism, leading our students to explore fresh opportunities for the benefit of all.

Pan-Chyr Yang
President, National Taiwan University

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