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Science council proposes a budget of NT$54.5 billion

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) yesterday outlined its spending plan for next year, with funding for the National Space Organization (NSPO) and experimental schools affiliated with the country’s science parks included in the proposed NT$54.54 billion (US$1.71 billion) budget.

The council, formerly the Ministry of Science and Technology, said it plans to increase spending next year by NT$7.06 billion to boost Taiwan’s development of cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, advanced semiconductors and 6G.

NSTC Minister Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) reported on the council’s budget for next year at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee.

The extra NT$7.06 billion planned for next year’s budget would go to the National Science and Technology Development Fund (NT$2.24 billion), subsidies for the NSPO (NT$2.76 billion) and funding for establishing and maintaining experimental secondary schools in the nation’s four science parks, Wu said.

The NSTC had decreased the National Science and Technology Development Fund’s allocation by NT$1.6 billion to NT$43.1 billion as projects had been completed, he said.

The ministry has earmarked NT$16.2 billion of its science park operation fund, in addition to a rolling budget for maintaining fixed assets totaling NT$40 billion, Wu said.

The operation fund would acquire land to establish and expand science parks, and maintain affiliated experimental schools, he added.

The NSPO, soon to become a directly affiliated agency of the NTSC, is in the final stages of testing the country’s first domestically built weather satellite, Triton, with its launch planned for early next year, Wu said.

The NSTC has tasked those working on the Triton project with testing 10 domestically developed key technologies and components, he said.

The agency would propose a plan by the end of this year for achieving net zero carbon emissions in Taiwan by 2050, Wu said, adding that it also plans to establish a national artificial intelligence center and an information security technology research center.

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