Report: Taiwan’s science and technology capability

In the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2021, Taiwan ranked 8th out of 64 countries/regions evaluated, a new record high.

The Research Center for Asia-Pacific Studies (RCAP) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) has released a research report entitled “Taiwan’s Science and Technology Capability: Innovation Policies and Basic Research Trends of the Tsai Administration. “
The survey is divided into three major parts as follows

Part 1: Analysis of the overall situation of Taiwan’s science and technology capabilities
Part 2: Status and challenges of science and technology innovation policies to be implemented during the Tsai administration
Part 3: Analysis of the current status of basic research in Taiwan
-Consists of the following three parts.

Part 1 details: Taiwan’s overall R&D expenditures increased from 2.91% in 2011 to 3.63% in 2020 as %GDP. 80% of all R&D expenditures were provided by companies in the electronics manufacturing and information and communication services industries. Other R&D investments are mostly concentrated in the fields of natural sciences, industry/engineering, and health/medicine.
Taiwan’s science and technology fields continues to grow, with particular concentrations in clinical medicine, engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics, and information technology. Taiwan’s patent applications are concentrated in four major scientific fields: electronics, mechanical engineering, instrumentation, and chemistry. The R&D excellence in industry-related technologies has also led to a significant reduction in technology trade deficit. According to the Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators 2022 ranking of innovation capacity by institution, Taiwan has nine institutions on the list, mostly large companies in the electronics manufacturing and semiconductor industries. This number ranks third behind Japan and the U.S., and the same as Germany. In addition, in recent years, Taiwan has seen the emergence of a number of venture companies related to the “big data,” “software technology,” and “artificial intelligence (AI)” fields, such as Gogoro, KKday, 17LIVE, and Appier. Based on the above, it can be inferred that the industries in Taiwan that have invested heavily in R&D and achieved good results are the electronics manufacturing and semiconductor industries. In addition, Taiwan’s economic structure has been gradually shifting from the traditional “electronic component manufacturing” to “information and communication services”.

Part 2 details: major science and technology innovation policies implemented during the Tsai administration include the “Science and Technology Development Plan,” the “5+2 Industrial Innovation Plan,” and the “Six Core Strategic Industrial Policies”. Besides establishing a direction for industrial development, Taiwan is (1) promoting basic research and establishing a basic research funding system, (2) strengthening cooperation between industry and academia and promoting the industrialization of technology from academia, (3) relaxing regulations that hinder innovation and creating the necessary environment for corporate innovation, and (4) addressing the shortage of human resources in Taiwan’s key industries by promoting human resource development through industry-academia cooperation plans.

Part 3 details: In recent years, basic research expenditures have been declining year by year as Taiwanese authorities have placed greater emphasis on the development of industrial technology. Basic research on specific technologies is now again a priority area related to the “Six Core Strategic Industrial Policies,” such as semiconductor technology, next-generation communication technology, and quantum technology. Using quality and quantitative indicators of basic research papers to categorize basic research output, it shows that the fields with good basic research outcomes in Taiwan are space science, materials science, physics, chemistry, and clinical medicine. The report also identified science and technology fields related to “industries with good research results” and “emerging industries that the government attaches importance to,” such as information science, engineering, genetics, biochemistry, neuroconductivity, immunology, and geoscience. Major research institutions with excellent performance in the above-mentioned fields are Taiwan University, Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University, Tsing Hua University (Taiwan), Cheng Kung University, and Academia Sinica, and high-profile researchers at these academic research institutions are listed as candidates for future cooperation.

Report: Taiwan’s science and technology capability
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