The Research and Development Foundation was founded in 1993, intiating a new model of cooperation between academia and industry
In 1993, during a period of ever-increasing cooperation between industry and academia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the Research and Development Foundation by NCKU to facilitate its cooperative education.
The Foundation came into being before the University Endowment Fund system was established, so any financial surpluses of cooperative education, commonly known as industry-academia collaboration, had to be surrendered to the national treasury each year. Consequently, NCKU failed to leverage these surpluses as a resource for its operations as well as to secure additional subsidies from the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the following year. The establishment of the Foundation for the management of a portion of the cooperative education projects helped to lessen the budgetary burdens for these projects and hedge against potential decreases in the MOE subsidies.
In addition, bidding on public sector projects at the time was restricted to qualified corporations, excluding the participation of NCKU’s talented faculty and student researchers. Consequently, the NCKU vice presidents of Academic Affairs and the Office of Research and Development at the time Cheng-I Weng and Hung-Shan Weng, respectively, urged then-University president Jer-Ru Maa to create the Research and Development Foundation.
Shortly after the establishment of the Research and Development Foundation, NCKU built a platform for industry and academia cooperation with an annual fund amounting to 2 to 3 hundred million NT dollars. The Foundation was the starting point for cooperation between industry, academia, and the government, providing opportunities for faculty and students to not only gain practical experience but also to hone their research capabilities. While promoting the development of the national economy and industry, the cooperative projects also protected Taiwan’s environmental resources. For example, between 1990 and 2018, the foundation started a Ministry of Economic Affairs subsidies program to incentivize the promotion of solar water heating systems and the contracting of the operations thereof; from 2004, the Foundation worked with the Executive Yuan’s Environmental Protection Administration’s Environmental Professionals Training Institute to hone the technical skills of environmental professionals in pollution prevention and the maintenance of environmental security.
In 2011, the Research and Development Foundation along with Delta Electronics Foundation chairman Bruce C.H. Cheng made donations for the construction of the Sun Yun-Suan Green Building, the first zero-carbon building in Taiwan, for the Magic School of Green Technologies at NCKU. The construction involved 13 kinds of green architectural designs, resulting in 65% energy conservation and 51.7% lower carbon emissions than a general office consumption. As a result, the building became the first educational building in Asia to have received a platinum rating from LEED. Also, it has been used as the office building for the Research and Development Foundation. Keeping in mind the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the Foundation works to carry out its responsibilities to make improvements in the world.
The official document issued in 1993 approving the establishment of the NCKU Research and Development Foundation (Courtesy of the NCKU Research and Development Foundation)
The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Magic School of Green Technologies in 1999. (Courtesy of the NCKU Research and Development Foundation)
The inscription by founding chairman Jer-Ru Maa (right) as a gift to the Foundation in 2011 (Courtesy of the NCKU Research and Development Foundation)