(Staff writer, with CNA)
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 to use NT$5 million (US$159,683) donated by a Tang Prize winner to fund a project developed by the university to help train female scientists and research fellows from developing countries.
Former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, winner of the first Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, received a NT$40 million cash prize and a NT$10 million research grant, which she decided to donate to fund research and education, with NT$5 million to be provided to the Milgis Trust, a Kenyan non-profit organization aimed at sustaining the wildlife, environment and way of life of pastoral peoples in northern Kenya.
At the recommendation of former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), the other NT$5 million is to be used by the Tang Prize Foundation and university to fund the project, Chern said.
The school plans to hold a science week titled the "Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development" over three consecutive years, which would select distinguished young female researchers from developing countries to visit Taiwan and go on speaking tours, as well as engage in talks with female Taiwanese scientists, Su said.
The first science week is to be held at the end of this year, with female research fellows from Southeast Asia and Africa to be invited to visit Taiwan. The university is also to provide financial support for the event.
If all conditions are met, the university might invite three or four female academics from New Zealand and Australia to attend the event.
Brundtland will also be invited to officiate the event, Su said.
Taiwan has lagged behind Europe and the US in scientific research, development and innovation. Now it is Taiwan’s turn to lead developing countries in this area, Su said.
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 the UN special envoy on climate change from 2007 to 2010, Brundtland led the formulation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which facilitates the creation of international agreements in response to global warming.