280. As the co-sponsor of this proposal, we would very much like take this opportunity to share with you our own particular thoughts and experiences on this subject.
281. In this age of the "knowledge-based economy", innovation and application are the keys to strengthening national competitiveness and economic growth. Both the public and the private sectors possess different resources and expertise, which, when combined, can complement each other and create market-oriented IP. This has become a crucial issue as WTO Members strive more and more to develop innovative technologies.
282. With a view to getting colleges, universities and academic institutions to conduct R&D programmes together, we launched in 2013 the PIONEER Grants for AIC (Academia-Industry Collaboration) project. Through providing grants for research and development, this project has been able, at the same time, to encourage local businesses and academic/research institutions to develop forward-looking technologies together. And, the operative word here is "together". Businesses take the initiative to form alliances, decide on the topics for the research and invite academic and research institutions to build teams to carry it out. In doing so, it is hoped that they will acquire the ability to expand their key patent portfolios, establish new standards for the industries and integrate the different systems.
283. Since the launch of the PIONEER Grants for the AIC Project, industry has invested up till now TWD 2.16 billion (that is about USD 72 million) of R&D funds and filed as many as 515 patent applications. A total of 3,170 doctoral students have been trained, with 900 people obtaining new jobs.
284. In addition, in few years ago, we also launched the A+ Industrial Innovation R&D Program, subsidizing companies that are devoted to high-level R&D work. This includes a sub-programme on forward-looking technologies, which encourages companies and research institutions to develop leading technologies together. Our aim here has been to greatly increase industry's profit and competitiveness in the global market.
285. For example, the Garmin Corporation, which is a well-known tech company in GPS product, was awarded the project's subsidy for its "3D City Navigation System Development and Integration" plan. It was therefore able to compile a high-quality 3D city map for in-car navigation systems. Since then, the value of Garmin Corporation's production has reached TWD 1.4 billion (or USD 45 million).
286. Back in 1999, we launched the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Project, to provide subsidies to SMEs for conducting R&D projects. The Project's main aims were to promote the research and development of industry technologies, products and services among SMEs, and to guide SME investment in R&D activities in the electronics, data communications, machinery, services, consumer goods/chemical, biotechnology/pharmaceutical, digital content, and design industries. In addition to applying for subsidies individually, SMEs are themselves encouraged to form R&D alliances together with universities and research institutions. The Project aims to cultivate R&D talent among SMEs in order to accumulate R&D capabilities, and to elevate the technological level of SMEs in order to increase the competitiveness of their businesses. It helps traditional industries to transform and advance as well.
287. By 2018, on the basis of the SBIR programme, 241 projects had received a total of TWD 310 million (or USD 10 million) in subsidies, and this had led to TWD 520 million (USD 16.7 million) worth of R&D investment by our SMEs.
288. One such project worth mentioning here, just as an example, was for the research and development of decorative flame products. Before implementing the SBIR subsidized project, it was only the companies that possessed the innovative technologies for flame products. But, upon forming technological alliances, the companies were finally able to develop advanced decorative flame products and have since obtained more than 30 patents in Europe, the USA, Mainland China and in our own territory. They have also built their own brands and made their way into the international market.
289. So, it goes without saying that IP and innovation are critical to any WTO Member's economic growth. It is, therefore, a crucial task of the government to assist their public and private sectors in developing innovative technologies, based on their own resources and through comprehensive strategies.
290. I hope this has given you some useful examples of what can be achieved by encouraging the different sectors and elements in our economies to work together on the crucial issues of innovation and technology facing us all in the future.
291. We look forward to hearing from other Members about their own related experiences and measures taken in similar fields.