The Ministry of Science and Technology said that technology-related research and development (R&D) spending last year compound 3.63% of the country’s GDP, most of which comes from private companies. The ratio of R&D spending to GDP has broken new records in recent years, dropping from 3.09% in 2016.
Last year, the country’s overall technology-related R&D spending amounted to NT $ 718.8 billion (US $ 25.96 billion), up 8.8% from 2019. Amongst others the total, 83.2%, or NT $ 598.2 billion, came from non-government sectors, such as higher education institutions, non-profit organizations and private companies – while 16.8% , or NT $ 120.6 billion, came from the government, up 10.6% and 0.7% respectively, according to the data.
In 2016, non-government sectors contributed 78.6% of the country’s total R&D spending on technology, while the government contributed 21.4%, according to the data. Thanks to the country’s success in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic activities last year have not been interrupted. The growing demand for products related to 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) of objects and remote operations has boosted the country’s R&D in the semiconductor field.
The business sector remains the main pillar of the country’s research and development efforts. Its contribution to the country’s total R&D expenditure has exceeded 80% since 2018. The overall R&D workforce is also increasing, with researchers representing 58.5% of workers, followed by technical and support staff at 36.5% and 5%. respectively.
However, the R&D workforce is aging, with the number of people aged 45 and over increasing in recent years, the data shows. The country’s R&D funding and staff are increasing despite the hurdles presented by COVID-19, but there are still many challenges ahead in the post-pandemic era.
In addition, a ministry reorganization bill passed third reading on Tuesday in the Legislative Yuan, which means the ministry is to be restructured into a national science and technology council. A bill creating a new Ministry of Digital Development has also passed third reading.
The ministry said a council would be better equipped to facilitate interagency negotiations and link advanced research and industrial applications. The council, made up of technological leaders and representatives of various agencies, would be more beneficial for the development of the nation.
The government’s tech budget this year is expected to to reach NT $ 126.4 billion (US $ 4.52 billion), an increase of 10.8% over the previous budget. Among the spending plans, NT $ 43.7 billion is allocated to basic research governed by various ministries.
The ministry’s own budget for next year is NT $ 44.7 billion, an increase of NT $ 4.5 billion from this year, of which NT $ 32.5 billion is allocated to projects. of scientific research. With the budget, the government plans to support long-term cutting-edge research and cultivate talent.
The ministry also identified areas for development based on the government’s focus on six main industries: digital information, cybersecurity, precision health, national defense, green and renewable energy sources and strategic storage industries. The ministry should focus on advanced semiconductors, precision medicine, disease prevention science and technology start-ups, he said. Scientific research and development in space technology is also a potential area.
As OpenGov Asia reported, Taiwan’s 5 + 2 innovative industries plan will soon materialize in the form of the cybersecurity and smart technology research and development building in Shalun. Under the leadership of the island’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the building aims to be the hub for startups and high-tech companies and the southern Taiwan headquarters for Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA), a program for building ecosystems for high-tech startups.
The 5 + 2 Innovative Industries Plan was launched with seven focus areas: smart machines, green energy, biomedicine, new agriculture, circular economy, national defense and aerospace, and the transformation of Taiwan into Asian Silicon Valley.