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Shaping NTU to Meet the Global Challenges 2013 NTU-Kyoto University Symposium mark a new era in our cordial relations

On December 19, 2013 the National Taiwan University - Kyoto University Symposium 2013 began a two day exchange at the Song-Pei Lecture Hall, Department of Chemistry, next to the Drunken Moon Lake. Against the backdrop of the near decade long collaboration as sister schools, this friendship helps enhance our international academic competitiveness, while this was the two schools first large scale academic symposium with nearly 300 participants in attendance, the largest to date. The Kyoto delegation was headed by University President Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Matsumoto and Vice-President Prof. Dr. Kiyoshi Yoshikawa, along with 90 experts in the nine major fields of agriculture, life sciences, medicine, chemistry and materials science, science and technologies, the humanities, social sciences, University Museum, and academic-industry cooperation. The delegates enjoyed meeting with the faculty and students in their corresponding fields, in two days of close interaction, igniting the sparks of academic cooperation, and bringing a spirit of warmth to the winter cold on the NTU campus. While this year’s symposium has been successfully concluded, our bilateral collaboration will accelerate, as Presidents Yang and Matsumoto mutually agreed to a reciprocal delegation from NTU to Kyoto September of next year, further stimulating our two institutions mutual academic exchange.

The symposium began on the morning of the 19th, with Vice President Yoshikawa and NTU Director of International Relations Shu-Ying Chang introducing our two institutions current status and developments, followed by the two University Presidents plenary addresses. Pres. Yang spoke about“ Shaping NTU to Meet Global Challenges”, expressing his high hopes for this symposium. Pres. Yang explained how he hoped this symposium will help expand NTU capabilities for addressing the challenges of globalization. Pres. Yang discussed the history of NTU tracing back to its initial founding as the Taiwan Hospital in 1895, through formation of the Taihoku Imperial University in 1928, and formal establishment in 1945 of today’s NTU. Both domestically and internationally, NTU possesses highly competitive academic research institutions whether in terms of basic science or engineering, life sciences and agriculture, or the humanities, in all of which NTU possesses outstanding success. Pres. Yang listed notable examples of the school’s exceptional research results, such as Asst. Prof. Sung-Jan Lin of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering whose research team results were featured in the April 2013 edition of Science magazine for using contemporary stem cell and molecular biology methods, in the successful development of molecular probes and markers, discovering evidence of melanoma stem cells in the feathers of Taiwan’s native black feather country chickens, representing a revolutionary advance contradicting an ingrained concept from the past century, while also revealing the importance of topobiology in stem cell regulation. We have also witnessed the establishment in recent years of the NTU Children’s Hospital and the NTU Cancer Research Institute helping make further contributions to medicine in service of humanity. Additionally, marking a global first, an NTU research team result earned FDA new drug approval in advance of European and American pharmacology teams, evincing how Taiwan has emerged as a global leader in novel clinical therapeutic biopharmacology, as well as marking the largest domestic patients participation in international new drug clinical trials to date.

It is also imperative to the university that NTU develop future leaders with an acute sense of social conscience and responsibility. Moreover, since NTU serves as a global leader in propagating Chinese culture, it is also natural that we endeavor to heighten the humanities. As we face future challenges and hopes, NTU will serve as Taiwan’s key indicator for progress, so we must continue cutting edge research and preparing talented students with a global perspective and international competitiveness who are able to discharge their social responsibility, as well as being innovators with a dedication to the ecosystems of the corporate spirit, while serving to transmit the Chinese heritage as part of their personal development.

Pres. Yang noted, NTU serves as a barometer for Taiwan, and must not only provide the solid foundations for Taiwan’s internationalization, but also work to localize as NTU must integrate with all of Taiwan and care for contemporary society.

Kyoto University President Matsumoto spoke on“ The Role of Universities in Promoting Innovation”, providing a definition of innovation. He noted that there are seven impetus to innovation: the unexpected, allowing for incongruities, process needs, changes in industry or market structure, demographic changes, changes in public perception and new knowledge. Pres. Matsumoto explained that the emergence of new types of knowledge explains the important social role that universities play, so promotion of university education, can maintain diversity, while also serving as the ideal zone for developing capacities for innovation. Innovation requires not only a large volume of research and commitments of time, but also interdisciplinary cooperation, especially among the sciences and humanities collaborating hand in hand. Prof. Matsumoto emphasized, Kyoto University through its past, present and future will maintain a high degree of care and concern for the social development of human civilization; focusing on the university as starting point, besides making contributions to academic research, the university also serves to develop highly competitive, innovators for Japanese industry. In conclusion, the mission of nurturing talent, is a common thread that unites the high self-expectations of NTU and Kyoto University, as we both endeavor to return to society, and practice the principles and methods of caring for our world. Both Presidents excellent speeches, elucidated the core issues of higher education, and helped begin the critical dialogue of the symposium.

Following immediately on the opening ceremonies were two and half days of academic exchange in nine fields. Each field was represented by the respective Institute directors, faculty and students, or focused on mutual consultations in cutting edge research, or mutual research cooperation results, with sharing through joint presentations. In between symposium sessions, there were poster sessions, with students presenting the results of their academic research. It is noteworthy that this symposium not only featured academic themes, but also discussions on University Museums, university and practice in social responsibility endeavors, for an unprecedented breadth of dialogue.

On the second day of the symposium, December 20, the afternoon was dedicated to wrap-up sessions, with participating faculty and students pursuing research cooperation in greater depth, fostering exchange among budding scholars and students, and close professional interchange. Finally, NTU Vice President Ching-Ray Chang and Kyoto Vice President Yoshikawa expressed mutual sentiments for the next symposium to be held in September of next year in Kyoto, serving as a perfect note to end the two days of meetings.

Chinese version