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Tech Budget to Reach NT$120bn

The Executive Yuan is expected to increase the budget for technology-related spending for fiscal 2019 to NT$120 billion (US$3.9 billion), of which NT$1 billion would be dedicated to the cultivation of young researchers to encourage them to stay in Taiwan, sources said.

Regarding the nation’s key technological projects next year, the Executive Yuan would continue promoting the “five plus two” innovative industries of the “Asian Silicon Valley” development plan: smart machinery, green energy, biomedicine, national defense and aerospace, new agriculture and a circular economy, an official said on condition of anonymity.

Digital economy, innovative cultural technology, chip design and semiconductor-related technologies are also among the nation’s key development projects, the official said, adding that the Cabinet would also promote AI and biomedical technologies to boost the competitiveness of the nation’s technological industry.

This year’s budget was NT$115.1 billion, including the items in the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

The Executive Yuan next year plans to allocate NT$97.6 billion for technological development and NT$18.7 billion for technological projects listed in the program, the sources said.

Of the former, 20 percent would be allocated to projects related to biomedicine and 17 percent would be earmarked for those related to the digital economy, sources added.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is expected to preside over cross-agency budget meetings today to finalize budget ceilings for all government agencies.

Many outstanding researchers and academics in Taiwan have been recruited by foreign universities, Executive Yuan Office of Science and Technology Executive Secretary Tsai Zse-hong (蔡志宏) said.

More researchers would possibly leave for other countries if the nation fails to offer them a stable environment to conduct research, he added.

Technology-related projects in the program would focus on the construction of green energy facilities and digital infrastructure as well as talent cultivation, the sources said.

To offer young talent a stable and resourceful research environment, the government would allocate more research funding to them, they added.

The Ministry of Science and Technology’s artificial intelligence (AI) innovative research center would receive a second-phase budget of NT$1.5 billion, while the budget of its third-phase space program has yet to be determined, the sources said.

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