In the 1970s, Taiwan instituted its Science and Technology Development Program. Coordinated by the National Science Council, the program seeks to encourage the development of "knowledge-intensive" industries through grants for the training of scientific personnel, subsidies for recruitment of distinguished scientists from abroad, and grants to universities to promote scientific research. Specific goals of the program are to integrate and promote research in geothermal energy, battery-powered vehicles, electronics, cancer treatment, pharmaceuticals, nuclear safety, and the development of high-precision instrumentation and computers.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute is charged with the transfer of pertinent technologies developed to manufacturing and other industries. College students are encouraged to build careers in engineering and science. In 1979, the Science-Based Industrial Park was established at Hsinchu, near the National Tsinghua University, with the objective of encouraging computer manufacturing and other high-technology industries by offering loans, tax incentives, and low-cost housing and factory buildings. By 1990, over 60 companies had established research and development and joint production facilities there. These include computer, semiconductor, precision electronics and instrumentation, telecommunications, and biotechnology firms.
The highest institution for scientific research on Taiwan is the Academia Sinica (Chinese Academy of Sciences), founded in 1928 and now located in T'aipei. Its 18 associated institutes carry on research in mathematics, statistics, history and philology, economics, modern history, physics, botany, zoology, ethnology, chemistry, molecular biology, biological chemistry, biomedical sciences, atomic and molecular sciences, earth sciences, information science, nuclear energy, social sciences and philosophy, and American culture. An Atomic Energy Council, founded in 1955, promotes atomic research.
In T'aipei, the National Taiwan Science Education Center has a planetarium and various exhibits; the Taiwan Museum has exhibits on natural history, geology, and ethnography, and a spectroscopic dating laboratory for fossils. Taiwan has 23 universities and colleges that offer courses in basic and applied sciences.