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|Formed||1928 (in Republic of China)
1949 (in Taiwan)
|Employees||~5800 (incl. 976 Principal Investigators, 111 research specialists, 775 Post-Docs, 2150 Students)|
|Annual budget||17 billion NTD ($0.55 billion) (2016)|
|Literal meaning||Central Research Academy|
Academia Sinica (Han characters: 中央研究院, literally "central research academy"; abbreviated AS), headquartered in Nangang District, Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan. It supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences. As an educational institute, it provides PhD training and scholarship through its English-language Taiwan International Graduate Program in biology, agriculture, chemistry, physics, informatics, and earth and environmental sciences. Academia Sinica is ranked 144th in Nature Publishing Index - 2014 Global Top 200 and 22nd in Reuters World's Most Innovative Research Institutions.
The Academia Sinica was founded by the Republic of China Nationalist government in 1928. Its first meeting was held in Shanghai. After the Chinese Civil War, it was relocated to Taiwan. The academy was envisioned as an organization that would oversee and coordinate scientific, social science, and humanistic research in all of the Republic of China's state-sponsored research institutes and universities. Unlike other government-sponsored research institutes which are responsible to relevant Executive Yuan ministries, Academia Sinica, as the nation's premier research institution, is directly responsible to the President of the Republic of China. Thus Academia Sinica enjoys autonomy in formulating its own research objectives. In addition to academic research on various subjects in the sciences and humanities, Academia Sinica's major tasks also include providing guidelines, channels of coordination, and incentives with a view to raising academic standards in the country.
At the time of Academia Sinica's founding there were already a number of other, smaller institutes in several cities in Republic of China. Academia Sinica incorporated a number of these into its organization, and rapidly built nine institutes: meteorology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, engineering, psychology, history and philology, and sociology, most of which were located in the city of Nanking.
Whereas China's Chinese Academy of Sciences is exclusively composed of institutes in the natural sciences, Taiwan's Academia Sinica, similar to the Max Planck Institutes of Germany, covers three major academic divisions:
The research stations of Academia Sinica include:
In general Academia Sinica is a non-teaching institution, but it has very close collaboration with the top research universities in Taiwan, such as National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, National Chiao Tung University, National Yang-Ming University and National Central University. Many research fellows from Academia Sinica have a second appointment or joint professorship at these universities. In addition, Academia Sinica established joint Ph.D. programs in biological sciences with Taiwan's universities, such as the Doctoral Degree Program in Marine Biotechnology with National Taiwan Ocean University. Through these mechanisms, the faculty at the Academia Sinica give lecture courses and supervise graduate students.
Since 2002, Academia Sinica set up the Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP), open to local and international students for Ph.D. programs. All courses at TIGP are conducted in English. Students can choose their advisor among a faculty selected for the program out of outstanding researchers and professors appointed at Academia Sinica or at one of the partner universities (or both). Currently, admittance to the programme guarantees a monthly stipend of 34,000 NTD, roughly $1,125 or €1,050. Applications can normally be sent starting in December and the submission deadline is usually set on March 31, for enrollment in September of the same year. Lectures start around the middle of September and end around the middle of June, with slight variations mostly depending on the partner university's academic calendar.
The TIGP offers Ph.D. programs only in selected disciplines agreed upon by Academia Sinica and its national research universities partners. The program offers doctoral degrees in highly interdisciplinary areas in the physical sciences, applied sciences, engineering, biological and agricultural sciences, health and medical sciences, humanities and social sciences. As of March 2017, Academia Sinica administers 12 such programs with degrees issued from partner universities:
Launched in 2009, the TIGP-IIP is an intensive, predoctoral, summer research training program for two months that prepares its participating interns with the necessary knowledge and skills for future research or career development through rigorous hands-on training. Successful applicants from around the world will receive for each month a stipend of 30,000 NTD and a round-trip ticket to Taiwan. The program highlights include internship at an applicant-chosen host lab, visits to Academia Sinica facilities and partner institutions, field trips in Taiwan and basic Mandarin lessons.
Academia Sinica also offers a three-year program for gifted and talented high school students interested in the biological sciences. To enroll, students must first pass an entrance exam at the start of 10th grade (first year for Taiwanese senior high schools). During 10th grade, students attend expert lectures and visit the various laboratories on campus. During 11th and 12th grade, students enter a lab of their choice and gain hands-on experience in the various fields of biological sciences. To graduate from the program, an academic paper must be submitted and presented in front of professors and peers.
Academia Sinica has a high number of both domestic and international postdoctoral fellows. They are funded by grants of Ministry of Science and Technology (Taiwan) or by Academia Sinica. The latter, the Academia Sinica Postdoctoral Fellow Program, consists of two tracks: Regular Postdoctoral Fellows (annual salary: NT$780,000 - 950,000 (US$31,100), additional benefits depending on the principal investigator) and Academia Sinica Postdoctoral Fellows (annual salary: NT$1,011,000 - 1,133,000 (US$37,050), plus round-trip ticket and research subsidy of US$4,500)
The Convocation of the Academia Sinica consists of 281 Academicians, including 105 domestic and 176 overseas appointed scientists. Seven Academicians of Academia Sinica are Nobel laureates. Academician membership is an honorary lifetime privilege without remuneration. They do not necessarily perform research or reside at the Academia Sinica campus. According to their own expertise, academicians are grouped into three divisions: Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. A maximum number of ten new members is allocated to each of the three divisions during the biennial Convocation. The eligibility of the academicians is not restricted to the residents of Taiwan or ROC citizens. More than half of the academicians are overseas scholars and scientists.
At the Convocation, the academicians elect new academicians and honorary academicians, and elect members to the Council of Academia Sinica. The Convocation can also recommend policies to the government on academic research. The academicians also have responsibilities to carry out research at the government's request, although the government has never requested any task.
The president of the Academia Sinica is appointed by the President of ROC from three candidates recommended by the Council Meeting. The president of the Academia must be an Academician. After the appointment, the president serves a five-year term and can serve up to two consecutive terms.
Academia Sinica's current President is Dr. James C. Liao, a biochemist, who replaced Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, a biological chemist and the Parsons Foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, as the 11th president on June 21, 2016. The list of past Presidents also includes Hu Shih in 1957. A philosopher and essayist, he was a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of vernacular Chinese, as well as an influential redology scholar and holder of the Jiaxu manuscript (Chinese: 甲戌本; pinyin: Jiǎxū běn) until his death.
Academia Sinica currently sponsors the following journals:
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