《TAIPEI TIMES》 Academia Sinica to join healthy aging challenge
Academia Sinica President James Liao, left, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Shieh Dar-bin, announces the government’s plan to join the US National Academy of Medicine’s Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Academia Sinica yesterday announced its participation in the Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge Competition founded by the US National Academy of Medicine （USNAM）, which has a grand prize of US$5 million.
The competition aims to encourage applicants from different fields to propose innovative projects that would promote healthy aging, Academia Sinica President James Liao （廖俊智） told a news conference in Taipei.
Taiwan is forecast to become a “super-aged” society by 2026, when people older than 65 would make up more than 20 percent of the population, while by 2065, one in every four Taiwanese would be older than 65, highlighting the need to promote healthy aging, he said.
The program encourages cross-disciplinary proposals, and Academia Sinica would invite domestic and foreign experts to form a committee to conduct a double-blind review, he said.
Taiwan is one of the earliest participants, Liao said.
Also involved in the program are the US National Institute on Aging, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, UK Research and Innovation, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the Singaporean Ministry of Health, the National Research Foundation of the Singaporean Prime Minister’s Office and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
The agencies are to offer funding totaling US$30 million for the five-year program, said Wu Shu-hsing （吳素幸）, director of the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology at Academia Sinica.
Taiwan has many talented people, while the nation’s quality medical service, health insurance system, Taiwan Biobank and social system also make it stand out on the global stage, she said.
From next year, the institution is to offer annual seed funding of US$50,000 to each project in the “catalyst” phase, Wu said.
In the second “accelerator” phase from 2021, member agencies would offer funding of US$500,000 or more to each project, she said.
In the final phase from 2023, one or more grand prizes of up to US$5 million would be given to projects that have made an extraordinary breakthrough, Wu said.
Academia Sinica is to accept applications from Jan. 6 to Feb. 14 next year. Residents of Taiwan, regardless of their nationality, could apply for funding, she added.