Tang Prize showcases Taiwan's value, culture (Focus Taiwan)

  • Clayton Mote Jr., president of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering
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Taipei, March 30 (CNA) The Taiwan-based Tang Prize will demonstrate what Taiwanese people value and think, and will let the world know more about the country through its culture, according to a visiting U.S. scholar.

The Tang Prize is "among the most unusual" in that it recognizes domains that are not widely noted, but "it basically reflects what Taiwan's culture and beliefs are in terms of things like rule of law and sinology," Clayton Mote Jr., president of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, told CNA in a recent interview.

The two categories are very important in sociological terms, Mote said.

The prize also covers sustainability, which is a complex multi-disciplinary activity that includes policy, health, engineering, construction and finance, he added.

It gives an idea of what Taiwanese people value most and indicates a direction on which people should focus, the 77-year-old scholar said.

"The Swedish government and people get some reward from having been the home of the Nobel Prize, and it reflects on the country very well," Mote said, adding that he expects a similar relationship in Taiwan as well.

Established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin, the Tang Prize seeks to honor top researchers in sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.

The first laureates will be selected based on the originality and impact of their research, irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity.

The winners will be announced June 18, with an award ceremony to take place three months later Sept. 18. Up to three winners will share a cash prize of NT$50 million (US$1.64 million) for each category.

The biennial prize takes its name from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a period often considered the height of ancient Chinese civilization, characterized by liberal policies and robust cultural activity.