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Stepping up to the platform
TAINAN, TaiwanóNational Cheng Kung University (NCKU) of southern Taiwan and Fujitsu Taiwan Ltd. recently announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a comprehensive genomics research platform. The platform will consist of genomics and bioinformatics research, and the parties seek to jointly promote computational biology, develop personnel training for bioinformatics and also develop biology analysis software.
Dr. Hwung-Hweng Hwung, president of NCKU, called the partnership one based on shared benefits and strong collaborations. Hwung and Ikegami Ichirou, the general manager of Fujitsu Taiwan, signed the MOU for their respective institutions.
"NCKU's research on genomics and the original species of Taiwan has shown great achievement and its extensive relations with world-renowned scientific institutes are fruitful in collaborated results," said Ikegami in a press release, noting that NCKU is home to distinguished researchers and represents the first university in Taiwan that Fujitsu has looked forward to working with.
Chi-Chuan Hwang, chair professor of NCKU Engineering Science, said in a press release that the initial focus will be on developing talents, and then collecting data on original species found in Taiwan and training personnel to work with biology data analysis. NCKU brings with it experience in engineering research while Fujitsu offers its input as a leading Japanese information and communication technology company. The resulting platform will explore important genomics research issues, and is expected to increase NCKU's participation in global genetics research. NCKU and Fujitsu will share research and development results.
Both organizations have been active in establishing and furthering new partnerships. Fujitsu Ireland announced earlier this month that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. was beginning a significant investment in a research program with Digital Enterprise Research Institute based in NUI Galway, a program that will focus research in networked knowledge. In late June, Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and Nagoya University announced that they had begun joint research on the collection and visualization of health information, utilizing a wristwatch-style monitoring device and system developed by Fujitsu Laboratories.
In mid-May, NCKU announced that one of its research teams, led by Ming-Shi Chang, an NCKU professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, had discovered an anti-interleukin-20 antibody. The antibody represents a potential new anti-osteoporosis and anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug, and NCKU agreed to license select intellectual property and transfer appropriate technology to Novo Nordisk AS for $13.3 million if the project is successfully completed. Prof. Chang and Novo Nordisk also established a two-year research collaboration that would seek to strengthen, and if possible, expand the potential uses of the anti-interleukin-20 antibody. The discovery was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
NCKU also held a seminar in May regarding one of its longer-running industry-academic collaborations with Delta Electronics. The partnership has entered its fourth year, and over that span of time, a total of 60 collaborative projects have been published. So far in 2012, the NCKU-Delta Electronic Joint Research Center has a total funding of approximately 20 million, and with that has approved 14 research projects.
The university's latest partnership consists of the signing of three MOUs with AECOM, a U.S.-based technical services company, that focus on environmental protection and city development by way of scientific and technical interaction, water research and natural disaster assessment.