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Academia Sinica

Academia Sinica
Agency overview
Formed 1928 (in Mainland China)
1949 (in Taiwan)
Jurisdiction  Republic of China
Headquarters Taipei, Taiwan
Employees 793 Principal Investigators, 775 Post-Docs, 2150 Students
Agency executive
Website Academia Sinica Home Page
Academia Sinica
Traditional Chinese 中央研究院

Academia Sinica (Chinese: 中央研究院, literally "Central Research Academy"; "Chinese Academy" in Latin), headquartered in the Nangang District of Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan. It supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences.

Academia Sinica has made great progress in recent years, according to Taiwanese scholar Chang Jui-te. An increasing number of research papers written by its faculty members, which numbered 1,150 in 2001, are appearing in international journals.[1] Some journals published by Academia Sinica itself, such as Zoological Studies and Statistica Sinica, have received international recognition.[1] Academia Sinica plays a major role in the field of Chinese studies. For example, the archaeological findings by researchers at the Institute of History and Philology have, in combination with written documents, led to a rewriting of ancient Chinese history, pushing back the span of Chinese history by many centuries.[1] Academia Sinica is ranked 161st in Nature Publishing Index - 2013 Global Top 200.[2]


  • History and mission 1
  • Research institutions 2
    • Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences 2.1
    • Division of Life Sciences 2.2
    • Division of Humanities and Social Sciences 2.3
  • Graduate and other education programs 3
  • Convocation 4
  • Leadership 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History and mission

Former Academia Sinica in Mainland China.
Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

The Academia Sinica was founded in mainland China in 1928 by the Nationalist government. Its first meeting was held ROC government from Nanjing to Taipei. Unlike the mainland Chinese counterpart, which is exclusively composed of institutes in the natural sciences, Taiwan's Academia Sinica covers three major academic divisions:

The academy was envisioned as an organization that would oversee and coordinate scientific, social science, and humanistic research in all of the Republic of China's state-sponsored research institutes and universities. Unlike other government-sponsored research institutes which are responsible to relevant Executive Yuan ministries, Academia Sinica, as the nation's premier research institution, is directly responsible to the President of the Republic of China. Thus Academia Sinica enjoys autonomy in formulating its own research objectives. In addition to academic research on various subjects in the sciences and humanities, Academia Sinica's major tasks also include providing guidelines, channels of coordination, and incentives with a view to raising academic standards in the country.

At the time of Academia Sinica's founding there were already a number of other, smaller institutes in several Chinese cities. Academia Sinica incorporated a number of these into its organization, and rapidly built nine institutes: meteorology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, engineering, psychology, history and philology, and sociology, most of which were located in the new capital city of Nanjing.

Research institutions

Academia Sinica has 24 research institutes and seven research centers.

Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

  • Institute of Mathematics
  • Institute of Physics
  • Institute of Chemistry
  • Institute of Earth Sciences
  • Institute of Information Science
  • Institute of Statistical Science
  • Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences
  • Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Research Center for Applied Science
  • Research Center for Environmental Changes
  • Research Center for Information Technology Innovation

Division of Life Sciences

  • Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology
  • Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology
  • Institute of Biological Chemistry
  • Institute of Molecular Biology
  • Institute of Biomedical Sciences
  • Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center
  • Genomics Research Center
  • Biodiversity Research Center

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Institute of History and Philology
  • Institute of Ethnology
  • Institute of Modern History
  • Institute of Economics
  • Institute of European and American Studies
  • Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy
  • Institute of Taiwan History
  • Institute of Sociology
  • Institute of Linguistics
  • Institute of Political Science
  • Institutum Iurisprudentiae
  • Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences

All institutes and research centers have tenure-tracked research fellows, the equivalent to a tenure-track professor at a western university, who form research groups and carry out their studies with the support of intramural funds as well as external grants. In addition, students from other countries are frequently hosted as summer interns.

Graduate and other education programs

In general Academia Sinica is a non-teaching institution, but it has very close collaboration with the top research universities in Taiwan, such as National Chiao Tung University, National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, and National Yang-Ming University. Many research fellows from Academia Sinica have a second appointment or joint professorship at these universities. In addition, Academia Sinica established a joint Ph.D. program in biological science with Taiwan's National Defense University. Through these mechanisms, the faculty at the Academia Sinica give lecture courses and supervise graduate students.

Since 2004, Academia Sinica set up the Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP),[3] open to local and international students for Ph.D. programs. All courses at TIGP are conducted in English. Students can choose their advisor among a faculty selected for the program out of outstanding researchers and professors appointed at Academia Sinica or at one of the partner universities (or both). Currently, admittance to the programme guarantees a monthly stipend of 32,000 NTD, roughly $1,000 or €715. Applications can normally be sent starting in December and the submission deadline is usually set on March 31, for enrolment in September of the same year. Lectures start around the middle of September and end around the middle of June, with slight variations mostly depending on the partner university academic calendar.

The TIGP offers Ph.D. programs only in selected disciplines agreed upon by Academia Sinica and its national research universities partners. The program offers doctoral degrees in highly interdisciplinary areas in the physical sciences, applied sciences, engineering, biological and agricultural sciences, health and medical sciences, humanities and social sciences. Currently, Academia Sinica administers nine such programs with degrees issued from partner universities. These include:

  • Chemical biology and molecular biophysics
  • Molecular science and technology
  • Molecular and biological agricultural science
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Nanoscience and technology
  • Molecular medicine
  • Computational linguistics and Chinese language processing (proficiency in Mandarin required)
  • Earth system science

Students enrolled in the TIGP program engage in activities other than academic ones regularly and are federated within the Graduate Students Association (GSA). The GSA council includes 18 elected representatives (two for each program) and one president (elected by the council).


The Convocation of the Academia Sinica consists of 241 Academicians, including 83 domestic and 158 overseas appointed scientist.[4] Seven Academicians of Academia Sinica are Nobel laureates.[5] Academician membership is an honorary lifetime privilege without remuneration. They do not necessarily perform research or reside at the Academia Sinica campus. According to their own expertise, academicians are grouped into three divisions: Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. A maximum number of ten new members is allocated to each of the three divisions during the biennial Convocation. The eligibility of the academicians is not restricted to the residents of Taiwan or ROC citizens, although the academicians all have Chinese heritage. More than half of the academicians are overseas scholars and scientists.

At the Convocation, the academicians elect new academicians and honorary academicians, and elect members to the Council of Academia Sinica. The Convocation can also recommend policies to the government on academic research. The academicians also have responsibilities to carry out research at the government's request, although the government has never requested any task.


The president of the Academia Sinica is appointed by the President of ROC from three candidates recommended by the Council Meeting. The president of the Academia must be an Academician. After the appointment, the president serves a five-year term and can serve up to two consecutive terms.

Academia Sinica's current President is Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, a biochemist, who replaced Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee, a physical chemist and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, as the 9th president on October 19, 2006. The list of past Presidents also includes Hu Shih in 1957. A philosopher and essayist, he was a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of vernacular Chinese, as well as an influential redology scholar and holder of the Jiaxu manuscript (Chinese: 甲戌本; pinyin: Jiǎxū běn) until his death.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Chang Jui-te. (2009). Encyclopedia of China published by Karen Christensen, entry on "Academica Sinica," p. 5
  2. ^
  3. ^ Taiwan International Graduate Program, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
  4. ^ Convocation of the Academia Sinica, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
  5. ^ Nobel Prize laureates, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

External links

  • Official website (English)/(Chinese (Taiwan))
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