A new academic partnership agreed this week by Imperial College London and a consortium of universities in Taiwan will provide opportunities every year for three years for five Taiwanese students to take their PhDs at Imperial and for 10 academics to undertake research visits to the university.
The collaboration will also support joint research projects and research visits to Taiwan by Imperial academics, building on Imperial's strong existing links with the country.
The initiative, fully funded by Taiwan's Ministry of Education, will focus on research activities in the fields of bio-inspired science and technology, humanities and social sciences, drawing particularly on the expertise of Imperial College Business School and the Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, part of Imperial's Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Imperial signed on Wednesday 27 April was with the Top University Strategic Alliance in Taiwan, represented by National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, and is only the third signed by the Alliance with an overseas partner, following similar agreements with the University of Berkeley, California, and the University of Chicago. It aims to develop academic and research collaborations between the universities and promote cooperation through the exchange of staff and students.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Taipei, Rector of Imperial College London Sir Keith O'Nions said: "We are delighted to partner with Taiwan's best universities and to be representing the United Kingdom in promoting research opportunities between the two countries.
Both Imperial College London and the members of the Top Universities Strategic Alliance share complementary strengths in technology and innovation, and I look forward to deepening our relationship to explore additional areas for collaboration."
The Rector and other delegates were welcomed to the ceremony by Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Tsong-ming Lin. Also in attendance to sign the MoU were Dr Kung-Yee Liang, President of National Yang-Ming University, Dr Si-Chen Lee, President of National Taiwan University and Convenor of the Top University Strategic Alliance, and Dr Yan-Hwa Wu Lee, President of National Chiao-Tung University and Acting Chancellor of the University System of Taiwan.
The new agreement strengthens Imperial's existing links in Taiwan, following the signing of an MoU with the University System of Taiwan (a consortium of four universities with an emphasis on science, engineering and medicine) in June 2010, and an MoU with Yang-Ming University, signed in 2006, which promotes general academic collaboration.
Dr Kung-Yee Liang, President of National Yang-Ming University, said: "National Yang-Ming University has benefited from student exchange with Imperial College London. I am fully convinced that with this generous support from the Ministry of Education, there will be a lot more students, post-doctoral fellows as well as faculty members from all the member universities of the Top University Strategic Alliance who will further benefit from this programme."
Imperial has 550 alumni from Taiwan, over 80 of whom gathered for the College's first alumni event in Taiwan, hosted by the Rector at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on Wednesday 27 April.
Among alumni present were Professor Winston Wong, Dr Winston Wong Jr, and Mr Sean Yu, Chairman of the Imperial College Alumni Network of Taiwan. Imperial has around 80 full time students from Taiwan currently studying at the College.
The new partnership is funded by Taiwan's Ministry of Education as part of the Academic Cooperation Pilot Program between the Taiwan Top University Strategic Alliance and Top Overseas Universities.