From solid roots to innovation’s fruits

President Lin’s inauguration opens a new chapter at Taipei Medical University

Two months into his term, Dr. Chien-Huang Lin, TMU’s tenth and youngest president, shares his aspirations for his alma mater.

I t was 1985 when I enrolled at Taipei Medical University as a pharmacy student. Thirty-two years ago TMU was fairly under-resourced, but we were always working hard to pursue our dreams, however ambitious they might seem.

Today TMU is an internationally renowned institution with a comprehensive education and research portfolio, cutting-edge health services, sound business development, and a proud history of 57 years. And we are still working just as hard, if not harder, to materialize our vision to become a top global university. All of this makes it an honor to serve as TMU’s tenth president.

Since I assumed office on the first of August, I have been meeting with deans of colleges and leaders of offices and business functions to make sure that we keep delivering excellence in every aspect of our operations while approaching new ideas and opportunities with creativity – innovating from legacy, as I call it.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Members of the TMU family before our time, in their collective efforts, have left us a wealth of legacy that is now the bedrock of our operations. As a medical university, we have been striving to introduce humanities to medical and health sciences education to equip our graduates with professional competences they will need to deliver health services in the future.

The TMU community also is increasingly globalized as we build international collaborations to strengthen our teaching and research. We employ information technology to facilitate our business management and decision-making, and this has considerably improved our efficiency.

Our strong commitment to fighting cancer is clear from the construction of the Taipei Cancer Center, which will channel research findings toward applications in clinical treatments serving patients around the world.

At the core of our operations is a tradition of innovation. The solid development we have in areas such as medical humanities, internationalization, IT-supported management practices and translational research will guide our next steps as we march into a world of future education that requires very different skills and mind-sets.

Looking ahead, I believe we should continue to focus on embedding innovation in education, research, industrial collaborations and the health care we provide. As a medical university, education will always be at the center of what we do. Our excellence in teaching and research has consistently been recognized by educational authorities, funding agencies and global university ranking assessments.

To maintain our success, our students in the near future will be able to take micro courses ranging from artificial intelligence and creative design to programming. These courses will build their capacity to operate in increasingly cross-disciplinary environments. I am glad to see that our students will be encouraged to play larger roles in their learning and to co-create their educational experiences.

Meanwhile we are leveraging the resources and networks that we have cultivated over the years with the public sector and business. TMU has established leadership in health care, biotechnology and healthy aging. Together with education, these complete the TMU biomedical platform “ecosystem.”

By drawing strength from our heritage and innovations, this system will facilitate our long-term pursuit of applied research that impacts real-world problems. Our priorities in research development are translational cancer research, drug discovery, cell therapy, precision medicine and smart health care.

TMU’s Shuang Ho campus will house our biotechnology cluster and support sustainable development of university-industry collaborations. In health care, we have plans to strengthen our efforts in neurology by creating a specialized neurology institute to integrate expertise for synergized research and treatment delivery. Our affiliated hospitals are extensively deploying new medical facilities and smart devices. They are also rapidly transforming their operations to better respond to health issues emerging from Taiwan’s aging population – an area of shared concern which TMU, as a community member, should and can contribute to.

Engaging global partners, international talent and regional networks

Behind our growth strategy for TMU’s comprehensive biomedical platform is a strong desire to engage with our global partners. We have developed partnerships with over 200 higher educational institutions and organizations around the world. And our student mobility programs average around 450 participants per year, which bespeaks a high level of international participation given the size of our student body.

Beyond the numbers and statistics, what is more important is that TMU has been turning partnerships on paper into substantial engagements. Building on our track record, we aim to expand our student mobility portfolio by working with partner universities to offer wide-ranging transnational collaborative degree programs. Our strategic research partnerships with prestigious institutions in the USA and Japan will continue to thrive with jointly funded research projects and activities.

We also welcome established scholars and early-career researchers from all parts of the world to join TMU’s exciting search for solutions to medical conditions and other health issues. Research teams relocating to TMU campuses are supported with space and facilities to further pursue their studies. We also attract increasing numbers of outstanding foreign academics through collaborative teaching and research projects with their home institutions.

While our collaborations with existing partners keep evolving, we also reach out to other institutions that share common interests with TMU to explore joint activities. In recent years we have witnessed an increasing appetite for educational opportunities in many different countries; we see growing numbers of students coming to TMU especially from ASEAN countries for our international programs. Our plans to initiate long-term collaborations with partners such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and India have won Ministry of Education support.

With this special funding, TMU is well positioned to work with our partners to promote ongoing professional development of health and medical professionals by providing opportunities for research and clinical training. TMU’s commitment to nurturing local talent in the Southeast Asian region is strong, as we have every confidence in our strategic partnerships with local organizations. These partnerships will contribute to health system development in-country while also facilitating multilateral exchanges of people and ideas.

I believe that as an institution we benefit from having a diverse talent cohort that helps us to improve how we understand and approach different cultures and ways of thinking. Our international work will go from strength to strength, and it is encouraging to see so many members of the TMU family are ready to take part in this.

Making TMU a Happy Organization 

As a university we have indeed come a long way in the few decades from our humble beginning. Many alumniI met at meetings and events share with me how rewarding they found their TMU journeys, as well as their satisfaction in seeing TMU’s progress year after year. Now that we have decided on our path for the future, our steps will continue. But I am also aware how taxing it will be as we rise to these challenges.

It therefore remains an area of top priority for me to ensure that individuals in the organization feel secure and supported. To do that, we will make improvements to provide a better and more inclusive environment that encourages academic endeavour and the highest professional standards. Our training and development programs will allow individuals to explore their potential across functions and business streams to better prepare staff for career advancement.

As president of the university, I will strive to make TMU a happy organization that champions our achievements, values and pursuits. And I look forward to composing a new chapter of our proud history together with everyone in this family.

For interviews or a copy of the paper, contact Office of Global Engagement via