Tang Prize money to fund education project for women in science (Focus Taiwan)

  • Tang Prize Foundation chief executive Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川) and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) president Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) on Wednesday signed a contract at the school
  • Tang Prize Foundation chief executive Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川) and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) president Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) on Wednesday signed a contract at the school
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Taipei, July 15 (CNA) Tang Prize Foundation CEO Chern Jenn-chuan (陳振川) and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) President Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) signed a contract Wednesday on the school campus for using NT$5 million (US$161,103) donated by a winner of the Tang Prize to fund a project developed by NCKU to help train female scientists and research fellows from developing countries.

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, the winner of the first Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, who received a cash prize of NT$40 million and a research grant of NT$10 million, decided to donate the NT$10 million research grant to fund research and eduction, with NT$5 million to be provided for the Milgis Trust, a Kenyan non-profit organization aimed at sustaining the wildlife, habitat and way of life of pastoral peoples in northern Kenya. At the recommendation of former Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh, the other NT$5 million will be used by the Tang Prize Foundation and NCKU to fund the project, according to Chern.

NCKU plans to hold a science week titled the "Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development" for three consecutive years to select distinguished young female researchers from developing countries to visit Taiwan and go on speaking tours of the island, while engaging in talks with Taiwanese female scientists, Su said.

The first is set to be held at the end of this year, when female research fellows from Southeast Asia and Africa will be invited to Taiwan. NCKU will also provide financial support for the event.

If all conditions are met, the university might invite three or four female scholars from New Zealand and Australia to attend the event. Meanwhile, Brundtland will also be invited to officiate at the event, according to Su.

In the past, Taiwan has been led by Europe and the United States in scientific research, development, and innovation. Now it's Taiwan's turn to lead developing countries to advance in this area, said Su.

Widely regarded as the "godmother" of sustainable development, Brundtland has been an advocate of public health, political activism and the environment for most of her life.

Serving as U.N. special envoy on climate change from 2007 to 2010, Brundtland led the formulation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which facilitates the creation of international agreements in response to global warming.

Su said she hopes that Brundtland's participation in Taiwanese activities will help raise the country's profile.

Also Wednesday, before the contract was signed, Chern aired a video conveying the ideas for the creation of the Tang Prize, Taiwan's equvivalent to the Nobel prize, and featuring the first Tang Prize award ceremony.

The Tang Prize is a set of biennial international awards bestowed in four categories: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology and the rule of law, by panels of judges convened by Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institution. It was established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin in December 2012.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)