Universities to have greater flexibility for attracting and retaining faculty

  • Date: 2017-08-10
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lin Chuan said today that the government is working to increase salaries and incentives for university professors and researchers to make Taiwan’s higher education system more competitive.

The premier made the remarks at the Cabinet’s weekly meeting, during which the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) reported on recruitment and retention programs at the nation’s colleges and universities.

Many good professors have been lured away from Taiwan because salary levels for higher education faculty here are lower than those in other advanced Asian countries, the premier pointed out. To address this disparity, the MOE has proposed the Yushan Project while MOST is planning to raise research stipends, both of which will make Taiwan more attractive and strengthen industry-academia links.

The MOE said that the Yushan Project, set to begin in 2018, will allow colleges and universities greater flexibility when paying their professors and researchers. With a maximum annual budget of NT$5.6 billion (US$185.3 million), the project is expected to benefit some 19,000 professors.

The project contains three parts: In the “Yushan scholars” project, universities may request funding to recruit top international talent or retain Taiwanese academics in fields designated for priority national development. In the flexible wage payment project, NT$2 billion (US$66.2 million) will be available to subsidize qualified schools that have internationally competitive departments and research centers, and to encourage them to enhance their faculty by hiring young professors and researchers. In the third project, a 10-percent increase in research allowance will be given to professors to expand the research allowance gap between professors and instructors of other seniority levels, which will help retain professors at colleges and universities.

MOST said it will raise stipends for researchers of general single-topic research projects starting January 2017, from NT$10,000 up to NT$15,000 (US$331 to US$496) per month. About 16,000 people are expected to benefit from the hike. This move will encourage more bright minds to enter research careers and create a quality academic environment with ample resources.

In addition, the stipend for contract researchers will also be raised from NT$25,000 to NT$30,000 (US$827 to US$993) per month. To encourage long-term careers in scientific and technological R&D, the number of received awards required to become a contract research project principal investigator has been changed to two. Principal investigators are also encouraged to focus on the originality of their research topics and the expected results of their research objectives.