Taiwan University Academic Alliance & University of Illinois System Begin a New Chapter of Education & Research Collaboration
Prof. Chen Wen-Chang, president of National Taiwan University, led a delegation of university officials to Illinois for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the University Academic Alliance in Taiwan and the University of Illinois System, at Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago on August 3, 2023.
The University Academic Alliance in Taiwan comprises 12 research-oriented universities: National Central University, National Cheng Kung University, National Chengchi University, National Chung Hsing University, National Sun Yat-sen University, National Taipei University of Technology, National Taiwan Normal University, National Taiwan University, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, and Taipei Medical University. National Taiwan University is its primary spokesperson.
The University of Illinois System comprises three universities: the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois Chicago, and the University of Illinois Springfield.
In March this year, Prof. Timothy L. Killeen, the president of the University of Illinois System led a delegation to Taiwan. They met with Premier Chen Chien-jen who expressed his hope for the establishment of channels between Taiwan and the US for systematic cultivation of highly skilled professionals. He emphasized strengthening cooperation related to the high-tech industry supply chain.
Then in May this year, Dr. Mon-chi Lio, Political Deputy Minister of Education, led a delegation of presidents and vice presidents of National Chengchi University, National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, National Sun Yat-sen University, and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University to Illinois. During their visit, they held detailed discussions with education officials in Illinois about strengthening educational ties between Taiwan and Illinois. Taiwan and Illinois have a history of working together partners in the field of semiconductor and other technology innovations, and the discussions included the possibility of creating a strategic alliance between institutions of higher education in Taiwan and in Illinois for the purpose of training semiconductor and technology professionals, and of signing an associated memorandum of understanding between the participating universities.
On August 3, a memorandum of understanding was then duly signed by Prof. Chen Wen-Chang, president of National Taiwan University on behalf of the University Academic Alliance in Taiwan's universities, and by Prof. Timothy L. Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. Deputy Political Minister of Education Dr. Mon-chi Lio took part in the signing ceremony online. Other government and education officials from Taiwan and the state of Illinois who participated in person and online, include Ginger Ostro, Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Johnson Chiang, Deputy Representative of Taiwan at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States; Dennis Lei, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago, and Nicole Yen-Yi Lee, Director General of the Ministry of Education’s Department of International and Cross-Strait Education.
Political Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Lio spoke after the signing, congratulating the universities involved for the deepening of cooperation between them and forecast that their collaborations would lead to significant achievements. Prof. Chen Wen-Chang expressed similar anticipation, saying that the signing of this memorandum of cooperation would make a positive contribution to academic exchanges and collaboration between Taiwan and the US that would lead to more opportunities and achievements.
The scope of cooperation outlined in the MOU covers a range of key areas, including semiconductors, quantum technology, AI and data science, sustainability, and Mandarin education. The MOU places particular emphasis on cooperation in semiconductor-related fields, in accordance with the goals of the US–Taiwan Education Initiative Three-Year Strategic Plan (2023–2025). The focus of this strategic plan is on promoting training, research, and industry cooperation in the semiconductor field, actively nurturing semiconductor professionals, and facilitating related international industry-academia collaboration. The signing of this MOU between these two university alliances will usher in a new era of international education collaboration in these sectors.