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Yushan Project to raise salaries for academics and researchers


I. Background

High-level education talent has a long and lasting impact on a nation's development. With the fierce competition in recent years for academic and technology talent among neighboring countries in Asia seeking to raise academic, research and teaching performance and promote industrial development, Taiwan has seen a gradual trend towards accomplished scholars being poached by other nations.

To make teaching and research salaries in Taiwan more competitive internationally, the Ministry of Education (MOE) plans to begin promoting the Yushan Project in 2018, while the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will increase stipends for researchers. By easing restrictions on the salary system and making wages more flexible, Taiwan will be able to build a superior academic environment and provide sufficient resources in response, as well as attract and retain exceptional talent.

II. Attract and retain top talent

Beginning next year (2018), a maximum of NT$4.15 billion (US$136.8 million) per year will fund up to 19,000 awards in higher education, as part of three programs:

A. Yushan scholars: Recruit globally and retain locally

1. This program will focus on top academic and research personnel newly hired from abroad, as well as exceptional academics and researchers currently employed domestically, who work in fields that are national development priorities.

2. Yushan scholars will be eligible for up to NT$5 million (US$165,000) per year on top of existing salaries. There is funding for about 1,000 awards. The grants will continue for three years, with the possibility of renewal.

B. Flexible wage payments: Promote excellence among all institutions

Subsidies worth NT$2 billion (US$66 million) per year will be provided to give schools greater flexibility in paying top talent.

1. The funds may be used to pay existing academics and researchers as well as new hires.

2. Schools will control their own flexible salary structures for faculty as part of efforts to recruit and retain talent. The pay rules they establish must then be submitted to the MOE for reference.

C. Research allowance increase for professors: Widen pay gap to reflect talent

Annual investments of NT$600 million (US$19.8 million) will go to public colleges and universities to increase allowances for professors by 10 percent, with monthly allowances to rise from NT$54,450 (US$1,795) to NT$59,895 (US$1,975). Starting in 2018, an additional NT$550 million (US$18.1 million) will be awarded to private colleges and universities to help retain top professors.

III. Higher stipends for researchers: Promote innovative research

The government plans to raise research project stipends beginning in 2018.

A. Increased stipends for research: Secure outstanding talent

1. This measure targets principal investigators conducting MOST-supported single-topic research projects.

2. The government will approve a rise in monthly stipends from NT$10,000 (US$330) to NT$15,000 (US$495) for about 16,000 researchers.

B. Higher contract research stipends: Encourage outstanding researchers to undertake long-term, forward-looking research projects

1. This measure targets principal investigators conducting contract research who have twice received MOST's Outstanding Research Award

2. The government will approve a rise in monthly stipends from NT$25,000 (US$824) to NT$30,000 (US$989).

IV. Conclusion

To strengthen the recruitment and retention of exceptional academic and research talent, the government will consider granting colleges and universities greater flexibility in recruiting faculty, in accordance with their independently developed hiring needs. It will also move quickly to establish stable, feasible pay levels or a flexible salary structure for college and university academics, as well as continue to improve various award and subsidy mechanisms, thereby putting into motion a perpetual talent dynamo and steadily raising research and development standards.

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