Public Release: 

Academia Sinica, UC Davis sign agreement on exchanges and tech transfer

University of California - Davis

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IMAGE: Harris Lewin, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis (left) and Chi-Huey Wong, president of Academia Sinica, at a Sept. 12 event marking an agreement between UC Davis and Academia... view more

Credit: Academia Sinica courtesy photo

The University of California, Davis, and Academia Sinica, the preeminent academic institution in the Republic of China (Taiwan), have entered into a collaborative agreement to develop a unique educational and scientific exchange program that couples cutting-edge research with opportunities to translate innovative technologies and commercially relevant discoveries into new companies.

The agreement was signed Sept.12 in Taipei by Harris Lewin, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis and President Chi-Huey Wong of Academia Sinica. The program will be formally launched at a joint UC Davis-Taiwan Collaboration Symposium to be held in late 2014.

"Our new agreement with Academia Sinica builds significantly on the long and historic relationship between our two institutions," Lewin said. "We look forward to jointly training outstanding graduate students from Taiwan and hosting highly qualified postdoctoral fellows to work on collaborative projects."

The agreement takes advantage of the complementary strengths and resources of UC Davis and Academia Sinica and their respective geographic locations. The new partnership has the potential to transform international, technology-oriented models of academic collaboration by combining educational and research collaboration with a technology transfer component.

As part of the agreement, up to four postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from Taiwan will be supported by Academia Sinica, spending two years at UC Davis to conduct collaborative research. The training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will promote long-term collaborations between faculty and scientists at UC Davis and in Taiwan. The initial areas of research training will focus on agriculture, human health and microbiome research.

Accelerating technology transfer

The agreement also includes development of a platform for accelerating the translation of research with commercial potential, conducted at either or both institutions, into start-up companies that can leverage local resources from the private sector and government sources in the U.S. and Taiwan. UC Davis and Academia Sinica will rely on close collaboration between new venture support mechanisms already in place at each respective institution.

As part of this strategic partnership, the institutions will explore and develop procedures for collaborative intellectual property protection, gain access to local expertise and cost advantages, and leverage complementary technologies and services with the objective of facilitating the creation of more competitive and efficient start-ups.

"The scope goes beyond the traditional research agreement to also cover the translational aspect of discovery research to exploit commercial opportunities," Wong said.

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About Academia Sinica

Academia Sinica consists of 24 research institutes and seven research centers. Long-standing links between Academia Sinica and UC Davis include a Quarter Abroad program for UC Davis chemistry students to study in Taiwan. This and other exchanges were supported by the Shang-Fa Yang and Eleanor Yang Scholarly Exchange Endowment, established in memory of Shang-Fa Yang, a biochemist and professor of vegetable crops at UC Davis. After retiring from the campus in 1994, he served as director of Academia Sinica's Institute of Plant Sciences and later as Academia Sinica's vice president.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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