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Eight Projects being Jointly Undertaken by Universities in Austria and Taiwan Selected for Funding


Taiwan’s Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) in Vienna signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of higher education in 2019, and each of the parties is providing funding to support the development and implementation of cooperative international collaboration and activities between universities, and higher education and research institution in each country.

Researchers at universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutions in Austria doing basic research in the areas of natural sciences, technical sciences, agricultural sciences and social sciences in cooperation with a project partner in Taiwan were invited to apply for Taiwan and Austria Higher Education Science and Research Seed Funding by July 2020.

Fourteen applications were submitted and 12 met the requirements, and after a peer-reviewed evaluation, eight projects were jointly selected in November by a BMBWF committee in Vienna and by the MOE in Taipei. Most will run for one or two years. Three of the eight selected projects are outlined below:

.Extreme Events and Related Consequences on Human-environmental Interaction Archived in the Geological Record: a TRAINING network of Austria, Taiwan, and beyond (EAGER-TRAINING).
This joint project between the University of Innsbruck and National Taiwan University is analyzing extreme events such as floods, earthquakes or pollution, and their impact on the social-ecological systems on different timescales. The overarching aim of the Austria–Taiwan collaboration is to access the sedimentary records of extreme events from the Source-to-Sink (S2S) systems of Austria and Taiwan by using novel techniques and proxies to invert the sedimentary archive for holistic processes understanding. Other main objectives are to share expertise, discuss data, and explore the potentials of Austrian and Taiwanese S2S systems with novel proxies; and develop joint collaborative training network, and international research projects, to advance understanding of the hazard-related environment and human interaction on multi time-scales.

.Hippocampal circuits mediating the anxiolytic activity of mGlu5 receptors:
This project was proposed by professors from the Medical University of Innsbruck and from National Yang-Ming University. A group at each university has worked on the brain structure of the ventral hippocampus (vHPC) that has been linked to emotional-affective behaviors due to its connections with several limbic structures. Each group has found ways to decrease anxiety-like behavior by activating different receptors. Both groups want to work together on defining the expression profile of a certain receptor and its influence on the firing pattern of distinct ventral hippocampal neurons, and define the impact of the selective ablation of the receptor from distinct hippocampal cells on anxiety-like behavior. Lastly, they want to define the receptor-mediated regulation of activity patterns of distinct ventral hippocampal neurons during anxiety-like behavior.

.Improving the quality and safety of Chinese herbal medicine by establishing high level monographs on quality control
Professors from China Medical University in Taiwan and the University of Graz proposed this two-year project to work together on improving TCM quality control by updating the entries on herbs in the European and Taiwan Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the reference work for quality control of medicines. They also want to enhance cooperation between the Chinese Medicine Research Center of China Medical University and the TCM Research Center of Graz at the University of Graz. Their respective faculties and graduate students will become familiar with the development of quality control of TCM through research work on the project and mutual visits.