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Taiwan's academic interest in agricultural sciences began in earnest about 40 years ago with a breeding program in Taiwan's local rice varieties. Since then, various life science research institutes have worked on a wide variety of agricultural projects including crop plant improvement, aquaculture, and others. At Academia Sinica, the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, and the Institute of Molecular Biology have, to varying degrees, developed research projects and graduate programs to address specific issues in specialized areas of agricultural biology.

The Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP) in Molecular and Biological Agricultural Sciences (MBAS) was founded by Academia Sinica in 2003, and is an interdisciplinary program that works in close partnership with the National Chung Hsing University (NCHU). This program has built a research and learning environment that can inspire young graduate students to engage in innovative studies in bio-agriculture. From the outset, the intention of the program has been to train students to employ multi-disciplinary approaches to address specific and important questions in biotechnology and to develop emerging technologies or experimental systems that can contribute to future agricultural biotechnology research and development.

The MBAS graduate program pursues basic and applied research in the bioagricultural sciences that has the potential to lead to new platform technologies or develop into novel systems and industrial applications in biotechnology. A key emphasis of the program is to promote “translational” research whenever possible, particularly when specific new breakthrough findings in basic research can be readily and efficiently advanced into experimental research projects within the program, and are demonstrated to have the potential to be transformed or engineered into platform technology systems and industrial applications for agriculture. Aside from highlighting innovative research, the program also tries to provide networking opportunities and information systems to satisfy the communication and technological needs of the agricultural and business sectors of the biotechnology industry in Taiwan and worldwide.

Research Topics

The MBAS graduate program focuses its research projects and themes on regional needs or issues in agriculture; for example, sub-tropical crop or flower plant systems, major infectious diseases of pig or chicken farms, warm water marine products, and the herbal plant systems of Chinese traditional medicine. The program encourages students to develop strong reasoning, logical thinking, and decision-making capabilities to work on strategic research in biotechnology. Within these themes and research specialties, five research areas have been defined and are actively pursued. These are:

• Plant Sciences and Biotechnology

• Molecular Virology and Vaccine Technology for Agricultural Applications

• Enzyme Technology in Bio-Agricultural Applications

• Phytochemistry and Herbal Medicine

• Microbial Genetics and Genomics

Student Status and Degree Conferral Policy

Based on the Regulations of the Ministry of Education in Taiwan, students will officially register with our partner university i.e. Graduate Institute of Biotechnology at National Chung Hsing University. Upon completion of the program, each student will be conferred a Ph.D. degree by the partner university and a certificate jointly signed by the President of Academia Sinica and the Director of TIGP.

Cost of Study

The payment of tuition fees for student is about NT$ 27000/US$ 900 per semester (basic fee + credits fee). The payment should be made after student registration day.

Medical Insurance

Six months after the student receives the Alien Residence Certificate (ARC), the student will be qualified for Taiwan's National Health Insurance Program. The students are expected to pay the same premium (about NT$749/US$ 25 per month) as all the Taiwan citizens and will be entitled to the same medical coverage. The medical insurance will be added in the tuition bill.

Fellowship and Stipends

TIGP will provide the fellowship support for all graduate students for the first year. All second and third year students are required to apply for the fellowship through an evaluation system during the summer of the first and second year. The stipend levels are NT$34,000 (about US$1,133) per month. In subsequent years (starting from the fourth semester), the financial support may be provided by the students' thesis advisors; however, the amount will not be guaranteed to be the same as TIGP fellowship.

Living and Housing Costs

Options include on-campus housing and off-campus housing. On-campus self-catering student dormitory providing single study bedrooms is available to TIGP students at reasonable costs (for details please visit our website at: http://tigp.sinica.edu.tw/housing.html ) Off-campus private housing is generally more expensive. Rents for off-campus flats with 2-3 rooms range from NT$ 12,000 - 20,000 (US$ 400 - 670, facility expenses excluded) per month.

Meals are available at the Activity Center Cafeteria, the Chinese Restaurant, and the Western Restaurant at modest costs. Various types of local cuisines are also available at off-campus cafeterias and restaurants within walking distance and at affordable costs.

Academic Mentor

The first and second year student will be assigned for an academic mentor before finding the thesis advisor.

Handbook for Foreign Staff/Students/Visitors in Academia Sinica

This Program is sponsored by

Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology,Biodiversity Research Center, Genomic s Research Center , Institute of Biological Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry
Academia Sinica

In cooperation with

Biotechnology Center,
Graduate Institute of Biotechnology,
Department of Life Sciences,
National Chung Hsing University