COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland President Wallace Loh is extending his Asia strategy with an innovation tour of Taiwan and South Korea. In his third trip to the region, Loh will lay the groundwork for new research and educational partnerships through sessions with high-level government, industry and academic officials.
Follow Loh's live blog from Asia: http://ter.
"Science and education transcend borders," Loh says. "A premier innovation and entrepreneurship university needs to operate in a global context today if it is to serve the state and the nation. By building new research collaborations, bringing Asian companies to our international incubator, and fostering intercontinental student exchanges, we keep Maryland plugged into the economic and intellectual currents."
Loh has identified the Asia-Pacific region as the likely epicenter of international economic activity this century. Since his inauguration in November 2010, he has visited China and India.
Loh begins his round of official meetings with a visit to Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, who received his legal training in the United States and at one time served as a research consultant at the University of Maryland's School of Law. Economic collaboration is expected to be high on their agenda.
Loh will also meet with Taiwan's Education Minister, its National Science Council - the main governmental science funding agency, directors of its national research parks, along with visits to a half dozen universities. He'll come prepared to discuss active collaboration on a number of research fronts, including public health and epidemiology, physics and agriculture.
In South Korea, Loh will meet with high-level trade and education officials, manufacturers such as Samsung, and leaders at top universities.
"There is no substitute for developing personal relationships," Loh says. "In our previous Asian trips, we reached agreements and established frameworks for collaborations that have now matured into working research partnerships. We expect these to advance basic research and innovations in coming years."
For example, Loh cemented a partnership that is now developing tools to predict the localized impact of climate change when he visited China. Climate change research was also a focus in India where he helped forge a three-way partnership with top IT institutions. They are now pursuing U.S. research grants to conduct climate modeling work. Several initiatives in various fields are actively ripening following these trips.
"Asian nations have invested heavily in higher education and research infrastructure," Loh says. "They have committed resources to these projects at a very rapid pace. We have remarkable talent and advanced facilities to offer, and together, as an international team, we can accelerate our joint progress." Loh says global advances will come through a combination of collaboration and competition.
In his 2010 inaugural remarks, President Loh committed to "carry the banner of Maryland on the global stage of higher education." This will include: deepening students' global competencies, expanding global content in curricula, strengthening international partnerships, attracting additional international students, and sending more Maryland students to study abroad.
"Our graduates must be prepared to operate globally to achieve a full measure of success," Loh says. "Study abroad and taking classes at home with an internationally diverse student body are necessary beginnings to help prepare them to meet the expectations of future employers."
Loh will spend nine days on his innovation tour.
Asst. VP Communications, UMD