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Premier Lai calls for AI applications in biotech industry

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Premier Lai Ching-te on Thursday received a briefing from the Executive Yuan Office of Science and Technology (OST) on the 2018 achievements of the Bio Taiwan Committee (BTC), which is an important policy platform used by the government to map out blueprints on innovative scientific and technological development. The premier thanked committee members for providing valuable recommendations on Taiwan's biomedical industry and future development strategies. The BTC attracted a record number of participants to its conference this year and produced conclusions and recommendations that have been widely well-received by the public.

Taiwan enjoys many unique advantages in the development of the biomedical industry, Premier Lai said. The National Biotechnology Research Park inaugurated on October 15, for instance, will integrate resources across the government to help create a cluster effect and spur innovative growth in the entire industry. Taiwan also possesses an outstanding health care system along with excellent clinical capabilities and a comprehensive human biological database. In addition, a national health insurance database is available for use in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of health care services.

Given Taiwan's strong foundations in information and communications technology, the marriage of artificial intelligence (AI) and medical care could unlock a huge opportunity to bolster the overall competitiveness of Taiwan's biomedical industry. Many tech heavyweights have also come to Taiwan recently seeking to forge partnerships in medical services. The premier instructed government agencies to support new biotech businesses and take advantage of this opportunity to help Taiwanese biotech firms in forming cooperative relationships and transforming the industry.

According to the OST, the 2018 BTC conference was convened in September with a theme that for the first time combined the Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Program (or DIGI+) and the AI Taiwan Action Plan. A record 350 participants attended. The conference produced numerous recommendations on the biotech industry's strategic development and listed 17 priority projects as well as other measures for implementation. All of these actions will be monitored for progress.

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