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Academia Sinica
Sinica logo.PNG
Agency overview
Formed 1928
Jurisdiction  Republic of China
Headquarters Taipei, Taiwan
Employees 793 Principal Investigator, 775 Post-Docs, 2150 Students
Agency executive Chi-Huey Wong, President
Academia Sinica Home Page

The Academia Sinica (Chinese: 中央研究院pinyin: Zhōngyāng Yánjiūyuàn; "Chinese Academy" in Latin, literally Central Research Academy"), headquartered in the Nangang District of Taipei, is the national academy of the Republic of China (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. In 2009, Academia Sinica has been ranked 19th among the 2000 topmost research institutions by the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities[1].


History and mission

The Academia Sinica was founded in mainland China in 1928 by the Guomindang Nationalist Government. Its first president was Cai Yuanpei. It shares the same root and the same Latin name with current Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. After Chinese Civil War, Academia Sinica was re-established in Taipei following relocation of the 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

Currently, Academia Sinica portfolio consists of 24 Research Institutes and seven Research Centers.


Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Division of Life Sciences

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

In each institute and research center, tenure-tracked Research Fellows (equivalent to the tenure-tracked professors of the university) form research groups and carry out their studies supported by the 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), 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 researcher 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 USD or 715 Euros. Applications can normally be sent starting in December and the submission deadline is usually set on the 31st of March, for enrollment 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:

Students enrolled in the TIGP program engage in activities other than academic ones regularly and are federated in 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. Seven Academicians of Academia Sinica are Nobel laureates [2]. 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.

Notable Academicians


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.


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