A prominent voice in support of technological innovation, the British Office Taipei held the “UK-Taiwan Science & Innovation Seminar” at its headquarters on May 4. Supported by the UK Science and Innovation Network, the seminar discussed a wide range of topics ranging from clean energy, future manufacturing, or health and life sciences.
The event aimed at enhancing cooperation between Taiwan and the United Kingdom in a wide range of fields at the academic and industry level. The various reports elucidated the British Office’s main targets for collaboration on technological innovation with Taiwan in front of an audience made up of members from the public and academia.
The panel discussions on “scientific collaboration” and “industrial innovation collaboration” were introduced by a speech from Catherine Nettleton, the British Office’s new representative. Renowned Nobel laureate Professor Yuan T. Lee was invited to present the keynote address.
UK and Taiwan kindred spirits: Catherine Nettleton
Ms. Nettleton, who took office as British representative in Taiwan only this January, in her opening remarks presented a draft plan for potential cooperation between the two countries.
According to Representative Nettleton, the UK and Taiwan “are natural partners” by virtue of their shared investment in science and innovation, which figure prominently as vital elements of their respective growth strategies. Based on these affinities, many new opportunities for collaboration have arisen where both can join hands as they seek to solve challenges and increase benefits.
As part of this vision, Representative Nettleton presented five so-called science and innovation sectors that align with the “5+2 innovative industries” identified by the Taiwanese government. The five sectors are “health and life sciences,” “future manufacturing,” “clean energy,” “digital economy,” and “space.”
In these fields, the British Office actively seeks to increase interaction with their Taiwanese hosts. The British Office Taipei’s senior science and innovation officer Jasper Meyns introduced some of the exchange programs and workshops that are designed to bring together companies and researchers from both sides.
For instance, a Taiwanese delegation will attend the UK Robotics Week in London between June 24 to 30, while British teams specialized on digital industries and medtech will be invited to Taiwan in the second half of 2017.
The diverse reports given at the event continued the overall theme of cooperation for innovation. Speakers presented successful examples of British- Taiwanese collaboration such as joint exploration of geothermal energy in the clean energy field, or bilateral development of satellite technologies in the space sector.
The reports also showed how the two countries could benefit from each other’s expertise. Whereas the UK boasts a world-class scientific research environment, Taiwan has in the past excelled in regard to the commercialization of scientific breakthroughs.
Science for societal change: Yuan T. Lee
Eminent scholar Yuan T. Lee, a graduate of National Taiwan University and UC Berkeley, is probably best known as recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
An Honorary Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry, Lee complemented the event with his keynote speech titled” Strengthening International Science for the Benefit of Society.”
Prof. Lee for a long time has dedicated himself to the promotion of international collaboration in science. In his speech, he urged researchers to contribute jointly to the betterment of society.
By continuing their collaboration, both Taiwan and Britain may not only help each other, but achieve positive results on a broader, international level.