Recommendation of the Regulations on the Legal and Effective Access to Taiwan’s Biological Resources

Preface

Considering that, many countries and regional international organizations already set up ABS system, such as Andean Community, African Union, Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), Australia, South Africa, and India, all are enthusiastic with the establishment of the regulations regarding the access management of biological resources and genetic resources. On the other hand, there are still many countries only use traditional and existing conservation-related regulations to manage the access of biological resources.

Can Taiwan's regulations comply with the purposes and objects of CBD? Is there a need for Taiwan to set up specific regulations for the management of these access activities? This article plans to present Taiwan's regulations and review the effectiveness of the existing regulations from the aspect of enabling the legal and effective access to biological resources. A recommendation will be made on whether Taiwan should reinforce the management of the bio-resources access activities.

Review and Recommendation of the Regulations on the Legal and Effective Access to Taiwan's Biological Rersearch Resources

(1)Evaluate the Needs and Benefits before Establishing the Regulation of Access Rights

When taking a look at the current development of the regulations on the access of biological resources internationally, we discover that some countries aggressively develop designated law for access, while some countries still adopt existing regulations to explain the access rights. Whether to choose a designated law or to adopt the existing law should depend on the needs of establishing access and benefit sharing system. Can the access and benefit sharing system benefit the functioning of bio-technological research and development activities that link closely to the biological resources? Can the system protect the interests of Taiwan's bio-research results?

In Taiwan, in the bio-technology industry, Agri-biotech, Medical, or Chinese Herb Research & Development are the key fields of development. However, the biological resources they use for the researches are mainly supplied from abroad. Hence, the likelihood of violating international bio-piracy is higher. On the contrary, the incidence of international research houses searching for the biological resources from Taiwan is comparatively lower, so the possibility for them to violate Taiwan's bio-piracy is very low.

To look at this issue from a different angle, if Taiwan establishes a separate management system for the access of biological resources, it is likely to add more restrictions to Taiwan's bio-tech R&D activities and impact the development of bio-industry. Also, under the new management system, international R&D teams will also be confined, if they wish to explore the biological resources, or conduct R&D and seek for co-operation activities in Taiwan. Not to mention that it is not a usual practice for international R&D teams to look for Taiwan's biological resources. A new management system will further reduce their level of interest in doing so. In the end, the international teams will then shift their focus of obtaining resources from other countries where the regulation on access is relatively less strict.

Before Taiwan establishes the regulations on the legal and effective access to bio-research resources, the government should consider not only the practical elements of the principal on the fair and impartial sharing of the derived interests from bio-research resources, but also take account of its positive and negative impacts on the development of related bio-technological industries.

Even if a country's regulation on the access and benefit sharing is thorough and comprehensive enough to protect the interests of bio-resource provider, it will, on the contrary, reduce the industry's interest in accessing the bio-resources. As a result, the development of bio-tech industry will be impacted and the resource provider will then be unable to receive any benefits. By then, the goal of establishing the regulation to benefit both the industry and resource provider will not be realized.

To sum up, it is suggested to evaluate the suitability of establishing the management system for the access to biological resources through the cost-effect analysis first. And, further consider the necessity of setting up regulations by the access the economic benefits derived from the regulation for both resource provider and bio-tech industry.

(2)The Feasibility of Managing the access to Bio-research Resources from existing Regulations

As analysed in the previous paragraphs, the original intention of setting up the Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act, Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and Aboriginal Basic Act is to protect the environment and to conserve the ecology. However, if we utilize these traditional regulations properly, it can also partially help to manage the access to biological resources.

When Taiwan's citizens wish to enter specific area, or to collect the biological resources within the area, they need to receive the permit from management authority, according to current regulations. Since these national parks, protection areas, preserved areas, or other controlled areas usually have the most comprehensive collections of valuable biological resources in a wide range of varieties, it is suggested to include the agreements of access and benefit sharing as the mandatory conditions when applying for the entrance permit.

Therefore, the principal of benefit sharing from the access to biological resources can be assured. Furthermore, the current regulations already favour activities of accessing biological resources for academic research purpose. This practice also ties in with the international trend of separating the access application into two categories - academic and business.

Australia's practice of access management can be a very good example of utilizing the existing regulations to control the access of resources. The management authority defines the guidelines of managing the entrance of control areas, research of resources, and the collection and access of resources. The authority also adds related agreements, such as PIC (Prior Informed Consent), MTA (Material Transfer Agreement), and benefit sharing into the existing guidelines of research permission.

In terms of scope of management, the existing regulation does not cover all of Taiwan's bio-research resources. Luckily, the current environmental protection law regulates areas with the most resourceful resources or with the most distinctive and rare species. These are often the areas where the access management system is required. Therefore, to add new regulation for access management on top of the existing regulation is efficient method that utilizes the least administrative resources. This could be a feasible way for Taiwan to manage the access to biological resources.

(3)Establish Specific Regulations to Cover the Details of the Scope of Derived Interests and the Items and Percentage of Funding Allocation

In addition to the utilization of current regulations to control the access to biological resources, many countries establish specific regulations to manage the biological resources. If, after the robust economic analysis had been done, the country has come to an conclusion that it is only by establishing new regulations of access management the resources and derived interests of biological resources can be impartially shared, the CBD (Convention of Bio Diversity), the Bonn Guidelines, or the real implementation experiences of many countries can be an important guidance when establishing regulations.

Taiwan has come up with the preliminary draft of Genetic Resources Act that covers the important aspects of international access guidelines. The draft indicates the definition and the scope of access activities, the process of access applications (for both business and academic purpose), the establishment of standardized or model MTA, the obligation of disclosing the sources of property rights (patents), and the establishment of bio-diversity fund.

However, if we observe the regulation or drafts to the access management of the international agreements or each specific country, we can find that the degree of strictness varies and depends on the needs and situations. Generally speaking, these regulations usually do not cover some detailed but important aspects such as the scope of derived interests from biological resources, or the items and percentage of the allocation of bio-diversity fund.

Under the regulation to the access to biological resources, in addition to the access fee charge, the impartial sharing of the derived interests is also an important issue. Therefore, to define the scope of interests is extremely important. Any interest that is out of the defined scope cannot be shared. The interest stated in the existing regulation generally refers to the biological resources or the derived business interests from genetic resources. Apart from describing the forms of interest such as money, non-money, or intellectual property rights, the description of actual contents or scope of the interests is minimal in the regulations.

However, after realizing the importance of bio-diversity and the huge business potential, many countries have started to investigate the national and international bio-resources and develop a database system to systematically collect related bio-research information. The database comprised of bio-resources is extremely useful to the activities related to bio-tech developments. If the international bio-tech companies can access Taiwan's bio-resource database, it will save their travelling time to Taiwan. Also, the database might as well become a product that generates revenues. The only issue that needs further clarification is whether the revenue generated from the access of database should be classified as business interests, as defined in the regulations.

As far as the bio-diversity fund is concerned, many countries only describe the need of setting up bio-diversity funds in a general manner in the regulations. But the definition of which kind of interests should be put into funds, the percentage of the funds, and the related details are not described. As a result, the applicants to the access of bio-resources or the owner of bio-resources cannot predict the amount of interests to be put into bio-diversity fund before they actually use the resources. This issue will definitely affect the development of access activities.

To sum up, if Taiwan's government wishes to develop the specific regulations for the access of biological resources, it is advised to take the above mentioned issues into considerations for a more thoroughly described, and more effective regulations and related framework.

Conclusion

In recent years, it has been a global trend to establish the regulations of the access to and benefit sharing of bio-resources. The concept of benefit sharing is especially treated as a useful weapon for the developing countries to protect the interests of their abundant bio-research resources.

However, as we are in the transition period of changing from free access to biological resources to controlled access, we are facing different regulations within one country as well as internationally. It will be a little bit disappointing for the academic research institution and the industry who relies on the biological resources to conduct bio-tech development if they do not see a clear principal direction to follow. The worse case is the violation of the regulation of the country who owns the bio-resources when the research institutions try to access, exchange, or prospect the biological resources without thorough understanding of related regulations.

For some of Taiwan's leading fields in the bio-tech industry, such as Chinese and herbal medicine related products, agricultural products, horticultural products, and bio-tech products, since many resources are obtained from abroad, the incidence of violation of international regulation will increase, and the costs from complying the regulations will also increase. Therefore, not only the researcher but also the government have the responsibility to understand and educate the related people in Taiwan's bio-tech fields the status of international access management regulations and the methods of legally access the international bio-research resources.

Currently in Taiwan, we did not establish specific law to manage the access to and benefit sharing of bio-resources. Comparing with the international standard, there is still room of improvement for Taiwan's regulatory protection to the provider of biological resources. However, we have to consider the necessity of doing so, and how to do the improvement. And Taiwan's government should resolve this issue.

When we consider whether we should follow international trend to establish a specific law for access management, we should always go back to check the potential state interests we will receive and take this point into consideration. To define the interests, we should always cover the protection of biological resources, the development of bio-tech industry, and the administrative costs of government. Also the conservation of biological resources and the encouragement of bio-tech development should be also taken into consideration when the government is making decisions.

In terms of establishing regulations for the access to biological resources and the benefit sharing, there are two possible solutions. The first solution is to utilize the existing regulations and add the key elements of access management into the scope of administrative management. The work is planned through the revision of related current procedures such as entrance control of controlled areas and the access of specific resources. The second solution is to establish new regulations for the access to biological resources. The first solution is relatively easier and quicker; while the second solution is considered to have a more comprehensive control of the issue. The government has the final judgement on which solution to take to generate a more effective management of Taiwan's biological resources.

※Recommendation of the Regulations on the Legal and Effective Access to Taiwan’s Biological Resources,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=6138 (Date:2021/02/26)
Quote this paper
You may be interested
Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Scientific Research Legal System and Response Thereto (1) – For Example, The Finnish Innovation Fund (“SITRA”)

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Scientific Research Legal System and Response Thereto (1) – For Example, The Finnish Innovation Fund (“SITRA”) I. Foreword   We hereby aim to analyze and research the role played by The Finnish Innovation Fund (“Sitra”) in boosting the national innovation ability and propose the characteristics of its organization and operation which may afford to facilitate the deliberation on Taiwan’s legal system. Sitra is an independent organization which is used to reporting to the Finnish Parliament directly, dedicated to funding activities to boost sustainable development as its ultimate goal and oriented toward the needs for social change. As of 2004, it promoted the fixed-term program. Until 2012, it, in turn, primarily engaged in 3-year program for ecological sustainable development and enhancement of society in 2012. The former aimed at the sustainable use of natural resources to develop new structures and business models and to boost the development of a bioeconomy and low-carbon society, while the latter aimed to create a more well-being-oriented public administrative environment to upgrade various public sectors’ leadership and decision-making ability to introduce nationals’ opinion to policies and the potential of building new business models and venture capital businesses[1]. II. Standing and Operating Instrument of Sitra 1. Sitra Standing in Boosting of Finnish Innovation Policies (1) Positive Impact from Support of Innovation R&D Activities by Public Sector   Utilization of public sector’s resources to facilitate and boost industrial innovation R&D ability is commonly applied in various countries in the world. Notwithstanding, the impact of the public sector’s investment of resources produced to the technical R&D and the entire society remains explorable[2]. Most studies still indicate positive impact, primarily as a result of the market failure. Some studies indicate that the impact of the public sector’s investment of resources may be observable at least from several points of view, including: 1. The direct output of the investment per se and the corresponding R&D investment potentially derived from investees; 2. R&D of outputs derived from the R&D investment, e.g., products, services and production methods, etc.; 3. direct impact derived from the R&D scope, e.g., development of a new business, or new business and service models, etc.; 4. impact to national and social economies, e.g., change of industrial structures and improvement of employment environment, etc. Most studies indicate that from the various points of view, the investment by public sector all produced positive impacts and, therefore, such investment is needed definitely[3]. The public sector may invest in R&D in diversified manners. Sitra invests in the “market” as an investor of corporate venture investment market, which plays a role different from the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (“Tekes”), which is more like a governmental subsidizer. Nevertheless, Finland’s characteristics reside in the combination of multiple funding and promotion models. Above all, due to the different behavior model, the role played by the former is also held different from those played by the general public sectors. This is why we choose the former as the subject to be studied herein. Data source: Jari Hyvärinen & Anna-Maija Rautiainen, Measuring additionality and systemic impacts of public research and development funding – the case of TEKES, FINLAND, RESEARCH EVALUATION, 16(3), 205, 206 (2007). Fig. 1 Phased Efforts of Resources Invested in R&D by Public Sector (2) Two Sided f Role Played by Sitra in Boosting of Finnish Innovation Policies   Sitra has a very special position in Finland’s national innovation policies, as it not only helps successful implementation of the innovation policies but also acts an intermediary among the relevant entities. Sitra was founded in 1967 under supervision of the Bank of Finland before 1991, but was transformed into an independent foundation under the direction of the Finnish Parliament[4].   Though Sitra is a public foundation, its operation will not be intervened or restricted by the government. Sitra may initiate any innovation activities for its new organization or system, playing a role dedicated to funding technical R&D or promoting venture capital business. Meanwhile, Sitra also assumes some special function dedicated to decision-makers’ training and organizing decision-maker network to boost structural change. Therefore, Sitra may be identified as a special organization which may act flexibly and possess resources at the same time and, therefore, may initiate various innovation activities rapidly[5].   Sitra is authorized to boost the development of innovation activities in said flexible and characteristic manner in accordance with the Finland Innovation Fund Act (Laki Suomen itsenäisyyden juhlarahastosta). According to the Act, Finland established Sitra in 1967 and Sitra was under supervision of Bank of Finland (Article 1). Sitra was established in order to boost the stable growth of Finland’s economy via the national instrument’s support of R&D and education or other development instruments (Article 2). The policies which Sitra may adopt include loaning or funding, guarantee, marketable securities, participation in cooperative programs, partnership or equity investment (Article 3). If necessary, Sitra may collect the title of real estate or corporate shares (Article 7). Data source: Finnish innovation system, Research.fi, http://www.research.fi/en/innovationsystem.html (last visited Mar. 15, 2013). Fig. 2 Finnish Scientific Research Organization Chart   Sitra's innovation role has been evolved through two changes. Specifically, Sitra was primarily dedicated to funding technical R&D among the public sectors in Finland, and the funding model applied by Sitra prior to the changes initiated the technical R&D promotion by Tekes, which was established in 1983. The first change of Sitra took place in 1987. After that, Sitra turned to focus on the business development and venture capital invested in technology business and led the venture capital investment. Meanwhile, it became a partner of private investment funds and thereby boosted the growth of venture capital investments in Finland in 1990. In 2000, the second change of Sitra took place and Sitra’s organization orientation was changed again. It achieved the new goal for structural change step by step by boosting the experimental social innovation activities. Sitra believed that it should play the role contributing to procedural change and reducing systematic obstacles, e.g., various organizational or institutional deadlocks[6].   Among the innovation policies boosted by the Finnish Government, the support of Start-Ups via governmental power has always been the most important one. Therefore, the Finnish Government is used to playing a positive role in the process of developing the venture capital investment market. In 1967, the Government established a venture capital company named Sponsor Oy with the support from Bank of Finland, and Sponsor Oy was privatized after 1983. Finland Government also established Kera Innovation Fund (now known as Finnvera[7]) in 1971, which was dedicated to boosting the booming of Start-Ups in Finland jointly with Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. (“FII”) established by the Government in 1994, and Sitra, so as to make the “innovation” become the main development force of the country[8] .   Sitra plays a very important role in the foundation and development of venture capital market in Finland and is critical to the Finnish Venture Capital Association established in 1990. After Bank of Finland was under supervision of Finnish Parliament in 1991, Sitra became on the most important venture capital investors. Now, a large portion of private venture capital funds are provided by Sitra[9]. Since Sitra launched the new strategic program in 2004, it has turned to apply smaller sized strategic programs when investing young innovation companies, some of which involved venture capital investment. The mapping of young innovation entrepreneurs and angel investors started as of 1996[10].   In addition to being an important innovation R&D promoter in Finland, Sitra is also an excellent organization which is financially self-sufficient and tends to gain profit no less than that to be generated by a private enterprise. As an organization subordinated to the Finnish Parliament immediately, all of Sitra’s decisions are directly reported to the Parliament (public opinion). Chairman of Board, Board of Directors and supervisors of Sitra are all appointed by the Parliament directly[11]. Its working funds are generated from interest accruing from the Fund and investment income from the Fund, not tax revenue or budget prepared by the Government any longer. The total fund initially founded by Bank of Finland amounted to DEM100,000,000 (approximately EUR17,000,000), and was accumulated to DEM500,000,000 (approximately EUR84,000,000) from 1972 to 1992. After that, following the increase in market value, its nominal capital amounted to DEM1,400,000,000 (approximately EUR235,000,000) from 1993 to 2001. Obviously, Sitra generated high investment income. Until 2010, it has generated the investment income amounting to EUR697,000,000 .   In fact, Sitra’s concern about venture capital investment is identified as one of the important changes in Finland's national technical R&D polices after 1990[13]. Sitra is used to funding businesses in three manners, i.e., direct investment in domestic stock, investment in Finnish venture capital funds, and investment in international venture capital funds, primarily in four industries, technology, life science, regional cooperation and small-sized & medium-sized starts-up. Meanwhile, it also invests in venture capital funds for high-tech industries actively. In addition to innovation technology companies, technical service providers are also its invested subjects[14]. 2. “Investment” Instrument Applied by Sitra to Boost Innovation Business   The Starts-Up funding activity conducted by Sitra is named PreSeed Program, including INTRO investors’ mapping platform dedicated to mapping 450 angel investment funds and entrepreneurs, LIKSA engaged in working with Tekes to funding new companies no more than EUR40,000 for purchase of consultation services (a half thereof funded by Tekes, and the other half funded by Sitra in the form of loan convertible to shares), DIILI service[15] dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with professional sale consultation resources to integrate the innovation activity (product thereof) and the market to remedy the deficit in the new company’s ability to sell[16].   The investment subjects are stated as following. Sitra has three investment subjects, namely, corporate investments, fund investments and project funding. (1) Corporate investment   Sitra will not “fund” enterprises directly or provide the enterprises with services without consideration (small-sized and medium-sized enterprises are aided by other competent authorities), but invest in the businesses which are held able to develop positive effects to the society, e.g., health promotion, social problem solutions, utilization of energy and effective utilization of natural resources. Notwithstanding, in order to seek fair rate of return, Sitra is dedicated to making the investment (in various enterprises) by its professional management and technology, products or competitiveness of services, and ranging from EUR300,000 to EUR1,000,000 to acquire 10-30% of the ownership of the enterprises, namely equity investment or convertible funding. Sitra requires its investees to value corporate social responsibility and actively participate in social activities. It usually holds the shares from 4 years to 10 years, during which period it will participate the corporate operation actively (e.g., appointment of directors)[17]. (2) Fund investments   For fund investments[18], Sitra invests in more than 50 venture capital funds[19]. It invests in domestic venture capital fund market to promote the development of the market and help starts-up seek funding and create new business models, such as public-private partnerships. It invests in international venture capital funds to enhance the networking and solicit international funding, which may help Finnish enterprises access international trend information and adapt to the international market. (3) Project funding   For project funding, Sitra provides the on-site information survey (supply of information and view critical to the program), analysis of business activities (analysis of future challenges and opportunities) and research & drafting of strategies (collection and integration of professional information and talents to help decision making), and commissioning of the program (to test new operating model by commissioning to deal with the challenge from social changes). Notwithstanding, please note that Sitra does not invest in academic study programs, research papers or business R&D programs[20]. (4) DIILI Investment Model Integrated With Investment Absorption   A Start-Up usually will not lack technologies (usually, it starts business by virtue of some advanced technology) or foresighted philosophy when it is founded initially, while it often lacks the key to success, the marketing ability. Sitra DIILI is dedicated to providing the professional international marketing service to help starts-up gain profit successfully. Owing to the fact that starts-up are usually founded by R&D personnel or research-oriented technicians, who are not specialized in marketing and usually retains no sufficient fund to employ marketing professionals, DILLI is engaged in providing dedicated marketing talents. Now, it employs about 85 marketing professionals and seeks to become a start-up partner by investing technical services.   Notwithstanding, in light of the characteristics of Sitra’s operation and profitability, some people indicate that it is more similar to a developer of an innovation system, rather than a neutral operator. Therefore, it is not unlikely to hinder some work development which might be less profitable (e.g., establishment of platform). Further, Sitra is used to developing some new investment projects or areas and then founding spin-off companies after developing the projects successfully. The way in which it operates seems to be non-compatible with the development of some industries which require permanent support from the public sector. The other issues, such as INTRO lacking transparency and Sitra's control over investment objectives likely to result in adverse choice, all arise from Sitra’s consideration to its own investment opportunities and profit at the same time of mapping. Therefore, some people consider that it should be necessary to move forward toward a more transparent structure or a non-income-oriented funding structure[21] . Given this, the influence of Sitra’s own income over upgrading of the national innovation ability when Sitra boosts starts-up to engage in innovation activities is always a concern remaining disputable in the Finnish innovation system. 3. Boosting of Balance in Regional Development and R&D Activities   In order to fulfill the objectives under Lisbon Treaty and to enable EU to become the most competitive region in the world, European Commission claims technical R&D as one of its main policies. Among other things, under the circumstance that the entire R&D competitiveness upgrading policy is always progressing sluggishly, Finland, a country with a population of 5,300,000, accounting for 1.1% of the population of 27 EU member states, was identified as the country with the No. 1 innovation R&D ability in the world by World Economic Forum in 2005. Therefore, the way in which it promotes innovation R&D policies catches the public eyes. Some studies also found that the close relationship between R&D and regional development policies of Finland resulted in the integration of regional policies and innovation policies, which were separated from each other initially, after 1990[22]. Finland has clearly defined the plan to exploit the domestic natural resources and human resources in a balanced and effective manner after World War II. At the very beginning, it expanded the balance of human resources to low-developed regions, in consideration of the geographical politics, but in turn, it achieved national balanced development by meeting the needs for a welfare society and mitigation of the rural-urban divide as time went by. The Finnish innovation policies which may resort to technical policies retroactively initially drove the R&D in the manners including upgrading of education degree, founding of Science and Technology Policy Council and Sitra, establishment of Academy of Finland (1970) and establishment of the technical policy scheme, et al.. Among other things, people saw the role played by Sitra in Finland’s knowledge-intensive society policy again. From 1991 to 1995, the Finnish Government officially included the regional competitiveness into the important policies. The National Industrial Policy for Finland in 1993 adopted the strategy focusing on the development based on competitive strength in the regional industrial communities[23].   Also, some studies indicated that in consideration of Finland’s poor financial and natural resources, its national innovation system should concentrate the resources on the R&D objectives which meet the requirements about scale and essence. Therefore, the “Social Innovation, Social and Economic Energy Re-building Learning Society” program boosted by Sitra as the primary promoter in 2002 defined the social innovation as “the reform and action plan to enhance the regulations of social functions (law and administration), politics and organizational structure”, namely reform of the mentality and cultural ability via social structural changes that results in social economic changes ultimately. Notwithstanding, the productivity innovation activity still relies on the interaction between the enterprises and society. Irrelevant with the Finnish Government’s powerful direction in technical R&D activities, in fact, more than two-thirds (69.1%) of the R&D investment was launched by private enterprises and even one-thirds launched by a single enterprise (i.e., Nokia) in Finland. At the very beginning of 2000, due to the impact of globalization to Finland’s innovation and regional policies, a lot of R&D activities were emigrated to the territories outside Finland[24]. Multiple disadvantageous factors initiated the launch of national resources to R&D again. The most successful example about the integration of regional and innovation policies in Finland is the Centres of Expertise Programme (CEP) boosted by it as of 1990. Until 1994, there have been 22 centres of expertise distributed throughout Finland. The centres were dedicated to integrating local universities, research institutions and enterprise for co-growth. The program to be implemented from 2007 to 2013 planned 21 centres of expertise (13 groups), aiming to promote the corporate sectors’ cooperation and innovation activities. CEP integrated local, regional and national resources and then focused on the businesses designated to be developed[25]. [1] Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [2] Jari Hyvärinen & Anna-Maija Rautiainen, Measuring additionality and systemic impacts of public research and development funding – the case of TEKES, FINLAND, RESEARCH EVALUATION, 16(3), 205, 208 (2007). [3] id. at 206-214. [4] Charles Edquist, Tterttu Luukkonen & Markku Sotarauta, Broad-Based Innovation Policy, in EVALUATION OF THE FINNISH NATIONAL INNOVATION SYSTEM – FULL REPORT 11, 25 (Reinhilde Veugelers st al. eds., 2009). [5] id. [6] id. [7] Finnvera is a company specialized in funding Start-Ups, and its business lines include loaning, guarantee, venture capital investment and export credit guarantee, etc. It is a state-run enterprise and Export Credit Agency (ECA) in Finland. Finnvera, http://annualreport2012.finnvera.fi/en/about-finnvera/finnvera-in-brief/ (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [8] Markku Maula, Gordon Murray & Mikko Jääskeläinen, MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, Public Financing of Young Innovation Companies in Finland 32 (2006). [9] id. at 33. [10] id. at 41. [11] Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [12] Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [13] The other two were engaged in boosting the regional R&D center and industrial-academy cooperative center programs. Please see Gabriela von Blankenfeld-Enkvist, Malin Brännback, Riitta Söderlund & Marin Petrov, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT [OECD],OECD Case Study on Innovation: The Finnish Biotechnology Innovation System 15 (2004). [14] id. at20. [15] DIILI service provides sales expertise for SMEs, Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en/articles/2005/diili-service-provides-sales-expertise-smes-0 (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [16] Maula, Murray & Jääskeläinen, supra note 8 at 41-42. [17] Corporate investments, Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en/corporate-investments (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [18] Fund investments, Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en/fund-investments (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [19] The venture capital funds referred to herein mean the pooled investment made by the owners of venture capital, while whether it exists in the form of fund or others is not discussed herein. [20] Project funding, Sitra, http://www.sitra.fi/en/project-funding (last visited Mar. 10, 2013). [21] Maula, Murray & Jääskeläinen, supra note 8 at 42. [22] Jussi S. Jauhiainen, Regional and Innovation Policies in Finland – Towards Convergence and/or Mismatch? REGIONAL STUDIES, 42(7), 1031, 1032-1033 (2008). [23] id. at 1036. [24] id. at 1038. [25] id. at 1038-1039.

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – Observation of the Swiss Research Innovation System

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – Observation of the Swiss Research Innovation System I. Foreword   Switzerland is a landlocked country situated in Central Europe, spanning an area of 41,000 km2, where the Alps occupy 60% of the territory, while it owns little cultivated land and poor natural resources. In 2011, its population was about 7,950,000 persons[1]. Since the Swiss Federal was founded, it has been adhering to a diplomatic policy claiming neutrality and peace, and therefore, it is one of the safest and most stable countries in the world. Switzerland is famous for its high-quality education and high-level technological development and is very competitive in biomedicine, chemical engineering, electronics and metal industries in the international market. As a small country with poor resources, the Swiss have learnt to drive their economic and social development through education, R&D and innovation a very long time ago. Some renowned enterprises, including Nestle, Novartis and Roche, are all based in Switzerland. Meanwhile, a lot of creative small-sized and medium-sized enterprises based in Switzerland are dedicated to supporting the export-orientation economy in Switzerland.   Switzerland has the strongest economic strength and plentiful innovation energy. Its patent applications, publication of essay, frequencies of quotation and private enterprises’ innovation performance are remarkable all over the world. According to the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Switzerland has ranked first among the most competitive countries in the world for four years consecutively since 2009[2]. Meanwhile, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) released by INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly, Switzerland has also ranked first in 2011 and 2012 consecutively[3]. Obviously, Switzerland has led the other countries in the world in innovation development and economic strength. Therefore, when studying the R&D incentives and boosting the industrial innovation, we might benefit from the experience of Switzerland to help boost the relevant mechanism in Taiwan.   Taiwan’s government organization reform has been launched officially and boosted step by step since 2012. In the future, the National Science Council will be reformed into the “Ministry of Science and Technology”, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs into the “Ministry of Economy and Energy”, and the Department of Industrial Development into the “Department of Industry and Technology”. Therefore, Taiwan’s technology administrative system will be changed materially. Under the new government organizational framework, how Taiwan’s technology R&D and industrial innovation system divide work and coordinate operations to boost the continuous economic growth in Taiwan will be the first priority without doubt. Support of innovation policies is critical to promotion of continuous economic growth. The Swiss Government supports technological research and innovation via various organizations and institutions effectively. In recent years, it has achieved outstanding performance in economy, education and innovation. Therefore, we herein study the functions and orientation of the competent authorities dedicated to boosting research and innovation in Switzerland, and observe its policies and legal system applied to boost the national R&D in order to provide the reference for the functions and orientation of the competent authorities dedicated to boosting R&D and industrial innovation in Taiwan. II. Overview of Swiss Federal Technology Laws and Technology Administrative System   Swiss national administrative organization is subject to the council system. The Swiss Federal Council is the national supreme administrative authority, consisting of 7 members elected from the Federal Assembly and dedicated to governing a Federal Government department respectively. Switzerland is a federal country consisting of various cantons that have their own constitutions, councils and governments, respectively, entitled to a high degree of independence.   Article 64 of the Swiss Federal Constitution[4] requires that the federal government support research and innovation. The “Research and Innovation Promotion Act” (RIPA)[5] is dedicated to fulfilling the requirements provided in Article 64 of the Constitution. Article 1 of the RIPA[6] expressly states that the Act is enacted for the following three purposes: 1. Promoting the scientific research and science-based innovation and supporting evaluation, promotion and utilization of research results; 2. Overseeing the cooperation between research institutions, and intervening when necessary; 3. Ensuring that the government funding in research and innovation is utilized effectively. Article 4 of the RIPA provides that the Act shall apply to the research institutions dedicated to innovation R&D and higher education institutions which accept the government funding, and may serve to be the merit for establishment of various institutions dedicated to boosting scientific research, e.g., the National Science Foundation and Commission of Technology & Innovation (CTI). Meanwhile, the Act also provides detailed requirements about the method, mode and restriction of the government funding.   According to the RIPA amended in 2011, the Swiss Federal Government’s responsibility for promoting innovation policies has been extended from “promotion of technology R&D” to “unification of education, research and innovation management”, making the Swiss national industrial innovation framework more well-founded and consistent[8] . Therefore, upon the government organization reform of Switzerland in 2013, most of the competent authorities dedicated to technology in Swiss have been consolidated into the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.   Under the framework, the Swiss Federal Government assigned higher education, job training, basic scientific research and innovation to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), while the Commission of Technology & Innovation (CTI) was responsible for boosting the R&D of application scientific technology and industrial technology and cooperation between the industries and academy. The two authorities are directly subordinate to the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). The Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC), subordinate to the SERI is an advisory entity dedicated to Swiss technology policies and responsible for providing the Swiss Federal Government and canton governments with the advice and suggestion on scientific, education and technology innovation policies. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is an entity dedicated to boosting the basic scientific R&D, known as the two major funding entities together with CTI for Swiss technology R&D. The organizations, duties, functions and operations of certain important entities in the Swiss innovation system are introduced as following. Date source: Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research official website Fig. 1 Swiss Innovation Framework Dedicated to Boosting Industries-Swiss Federal Economic, Education and Research Organizational Chart 1. State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)   SERI is subordinate to the Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, and is a department of the Swiss Federal Government dedicated to managing research and innovation. Upon enforcement of the new governmental organization act as of January 1, 2013, SERI was established after the merger of the State Secretariat for Education and Research, initially subordinate to Ministry of Interior, and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology (OEPT), initially subordinated to Ministry of Economic Affairs. For the time being, it governs the education, research and innovation (ERI). The transformation not only integrated the management of Swiss innovation system but also unified the orientations toward which the research and innovation policy should be boosted.   SERI’s core missions include “enactment of national technology policies”, “coordination of research activities conducted by higher education institutions, ETH, and other entities of the Federal Government in charge of various areas as energy, environment, traffic and health, and integration of research activities conducted by various government entities and allocation of education, research and innovation resources. Its functions also extend to funding the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to enable SNSF to subsidize the basic scientific research. Meanwhile, the international cooperation projects for promotion of or participation in research & innovation activities are also handled by SERI to ensure that Switzerland maintains its innovation strength in Europe and the world.   The Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC) is subordinate to SERI, and also the advisory unit dedicated to Swiss technology policies, according to Article 5a of RIPA[9]. The SSTC is responsible for providing the Swiss Federal Government and canton governments with advice and suggestion about science, education and innovation policies. It consists of the members elected from the Swiss Federal Council, and a chairman is elected among the members. 2. Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)   The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is one of the most important institutions dedicated to funding research, responsible for promoting the academic research related to basic science. It supports about 8,500 scientists each year. Its core missions cover funding as incentives for basic scientific research. It grants more than CHF70 million each year. Nevertheless, the application science R&D, in principle, does not fall in the scope of funding by the SNSF. The Foundation allocates the public research fund under the competitive funding system and thereby maintains its irreplaceable identity, contributing to continuous output of high quality in Switzerland.   With the support from the Swiss Federal Government, the SNSF was established in 1952. In order to ensure independence of research, it was planned as a private institution when it was established[10]. Though the funding is provided by SERI, the SNSF still has a high degree of independence when performing its functions. The R&D funding granted by the SNSF may be categorized into the funding to free basic research, specific theme-oriented research, and international cooperative technology R&D, and the free basic research is granted the largest funding. The SNSF consists of Foundation Council, National Research Council and Research Commission[11]. Data source: prepared by the Study Fig. 2  Swiss National Science Foundation Organizational Chart (1) Foundation Council   The Foundation Council is the supreme body of the SNSF[12], which is primarily responsible for making important decisions, deciding the role to be played by the SNSF in the Swiss research system, and ensuring SNSF’s compliance with the purpose for which it was founded. The Foundation Council consists of the members elected from the representatives from important research institutions, universities and industries in Swiss, as well as the government representatives nominated by the Swiss Federal Council. According to the articles of association of the SNSF[13], each member’s term of office should be 4 years, and the members shall be no more than 50 persons. The Foundation Council also governs the Executive Committee of the Foundation Council consisting of 15 Foundation members. The Committee carries out the mission including selection of National Research Council members and review of the Foundation budget. (2) National Research Council   The National Research Council is responsible for reviewing the applications for funding and deciding whether the funding should be granted. It consists of no more than 100 members, mostly researchers in universities and categorized, in four groups by major[14], namely, 1. Humanities and Social Sciences; 2. Math, Natural Science and Engineering; 3. Biology and Medical Science; and 4. National Research Programs (NRPs)and National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCRs). The NRPs and NCCRs are both limited to specific theme-oriented research plans. The funding will continue for 4~5years, amounting to CHF5 million~CHF20 million[15]. The specific theme-oriented research is applicable to non-academic entities, aiming at knowledge and technology transfer, and promotion and application of research results. The four groups evaluate and review the applications and authorize the funding amount.   Meanwhile, the representative members from each group form the Presiding Board dedicated to supervising and coordinating the operations of the National Research Council, and advising the Foundation Council about scientific policies, reviewing defined funding policies, funding model and funding plan, and allocating funding by major. (3) Research Commissions   Research Commissions are established in various higher education research institutions. They serve as the contact bridge between higher education academic institutions and the SNSF. The research commission of a university is responsible for evaluating the application submitted by any researcher in the university in terms of the school conditions, e.g., the school’s basic research facilities and human resource policies, and providing advice in the process of application. Meanwhile, in order to encourage young scholars to attend research activities, the research committee may grant scholarships to PhD students and post-doctor research[16]. ~to be continued~ [1] SWISS FEDERAL STATISTICS OFFICE, Switzerland's population 2011 (2012), http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/en/index/news/publikationen.Document.163772.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [2] WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM [WEF], The Global Competiveness Report 2012-2013 (2012), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2012-13.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2011-2012 (2011), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GCR_Report_2011-12.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2010-2011 (2010), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); WEF, The Global Competiveness Report 2009-2010 (2009),. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2009-10.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [3] INSEAD, The Global Innovation Index 2012 Report (2012), http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/GII%202012%20Report.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013); INSEAD, The Global Innovation Index 2011 Report (2011), http://www.wipo.int/freepublications/en/economics/gii/gii_2011.pdf (last visited Jun. 1, 2013). [4] SR 101 Art. 64: “Der Bund fördert die wissenschaftliche Forschung und die Innovation.” [5] Forschungs- und Innovationsförderungsgesetz, vom 7. Oktober 1983 (Stand am 1. Januar 2013). For the full text, please see www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/4/420.1.de.pdf (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [6] Id. [7] Id. [8] CTI, CTI Multi-year Program 2013-2016 7(2012), available at http://www.kti.admin.ch/?lang=en&download=NHzLpZeg7t,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1ad1IZn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCDeYR,hGym162epYbg2c_JjKbNoKSn6A-- (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [9] Supra note 5. [10] Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/default.aspx (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [11] Id. [12] Foundation Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/foundationcouncil.aspx (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [13] See Statutes of Swiss National Science Foundation Art.8 & Art. 9, available at http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/statuten_08_e.pdf (last visited Jun. 3, 2013). [14] National Research Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/researchcouncil/Pages/default.aspx (last visted Jun.3, 2013). [15] Theres Paulsen, VISION RD4SD Country Case Study Switzerland (2011), http://www.visionrd4sd.eu/documents/doc_download/109-case-study-switzerland (last visited Jun.6, 2013). [16] Research Commissions, Swiss National Science Foundation, http://www.snf.ch/E/about-us/organisation/Pages/researchcommissions.aspx (last visted Jun. 6, 2013).

The Tax Benefit of “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” and the Relational Norms for Innovation

The Tax Benefit of “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” and the Relational Norms for Innovation   “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” was promulgated in 1979, and was amended entirely in May 15, 2018, announced in June 6. The title was revised from “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science ‘Industrial’ Parks” to “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” (it would be called “the Act” in this article). It was a significant transition from traditional manufacture into technological innovation.   For encouraging different innovative technology enter into the science park, there is tax benefit in the Act. When the park enterprises import machines, equipment, material and so on from foreign country, the import duties, commodity tax, and business tax shall be exempted; moreover, when the park enterprises export products and services, it will have given favorable business and commodity tax free.[1] Furthermore, the park bureaus also exempt collection of land rent.[2] If they have approval for importing or exporting products, they do not need to apply for permission.[3] In the sub-law, there is also regulations of bonding operation.[4] To sum up, for applying the benefit of the act, enterprises approved for establishment in science parks still require to manufacture products. Such regulations are confined to industrial industry. Innovative companies dedicate in software, big data, or customer service, rarely gain benefits from taxation.   In other norms,[5] there are also tax deduction or exemption for developing innovative industries. Based on promoting innovation, the enterprises following the laws of environmental protection, laborers’ safety, food safety and sanitation,[6] or investing in brand-new smart machines for their own utilize,[7] or licensing their intellectual property rights,[8] can deduct from its taxable income. In addition, the research creators from academic or research institutions,[9] or employee,[10] can declare deferral of the income tax payable for the shares distributed. In order to assist new invested innovative enterprises,[11] there are also relational benefit of tax. For upgrading the biotech and new pharmaceuticals enterprises, when they invest in human resource training, research and development, they can have deductible corporate income tax payable.[12] There is also tax favored benefits for small and medium enterprises in using of land, experiment of research, technology stocks, retaining of surplus, and additional employees hiring.[13] The present norms of tax are not only limiting in space or products but also encouraging in “research”. In other word, in each steps of the research of innovation, the enterprises still need to manufacture products from their own technology, fund and human resources. If the government could encourage open innovation with favored taxation, it would strengthen the capability of research and development for innovative enterprises.   Supporting the innovation by taxation, the government can achieve the goal of scientific development more quickly and encourage them accepting guidance. “New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act” can be an example, [14]the innovative enterprises accepting the guidance from incubators will have the benefit of tax on “personal income”, “sales and use” and “corporation franchise”. Moreover, focusing on key industries and exemplary cases, there are also the norms of tax exemption and tax abatement in China for promoting the development of technology.[15]The benefit of tax is not only in research but also in “the process of research”.   To sum up, the government of Taiwan provides the benefit of tax for advancing the competition of outcomes in market, and for propelling the development of innovation. In order to accelerate the efficiency of scientific research, the government could draw lessons from America and China for enacting the norms about the benefit of tax and the constitution of guidance. [1] The Act §23. [2] Id. §24. [3] Id. §25. [4] Regulations Governing the Bonding Operations in Science Parks. [5] Such as Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, Statute for Industrial Innovation, Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry. [6] Statute for Industrial Innovation §10. [7] Id. §10-1. [8] Id. §12-1. [9] Id. §12-2. [10] Id. §19-1. [11] Id. §23-1, §23-2, §23-3. [12] Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry §5, §6, §7. [13] Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises Chapter 4: §33 to §36-3. [14] New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Taxpayer Guidance Division, New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act, Technical Memorandum TSB-M-14(1)C, (1)I, (2)S, at 1-6 (March 7, 2014), URL:http://www.wnyincubators.com/content/Innovation%20Hot%20Spot%20Technical%20Memorandum.pdf (last visited:December 18, 2019). [15] Enterprise Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China Chapter 4 “Preferential Tax Treatments”: §25 to §36 (2008 revised).

The EU's New Legal Framework for European Research Infrastructure

Recognized that Research infrastructures (RIs) are at the centre of the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation and play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology, the EU began to finance for the establishments of RIs by its Framework Programmes (FPs) since the start of FP2 of 1987. On the other hand, the EU also assigned the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) to develop a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on RIs between Member States and to facilitate the better use and development of RIs at EU and international level. Based on those efforts, the European Commission understood that a major difficulty in setting up RIs between EU countries is the lack of an adequate legal framework allowing the creation of appropriate partnerships and proposed a legal framework for a European research infrastructure adapted to the needs of such facilities. The new legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) entered into force on 28 August 2009. An successfully-set-up ERIC will have the legal personality based on EU law, and can benefit from exemptions from VAT and excise duty in all EU Member States and may adopt its own procurement procedures to get rid of the EU's public procurement procedures. It is predicted that the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) will apply to become a BBMRI-ERIC in the near future. The EU also seeks to lead in Energy, Food and Biology through the reforms of ERICs to assist the high quality of activities of European scientists and attract the best researchers from around the world. Besides, in order to connect the knowledge triangle effectively, the European Commission also established the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) on March 2008. It hopes through the research development partnership network to gather all the advantages from the science and technology chains of multiple areas, and make an effort for the strategy of EU innovation development jointly;Meanwhile, extends its roadmap to the objectives and practices of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the EIT. Contrast with the EU's advance, it is necessary to our government to concentrate and contemplate whether it is the time to reconsider if our existing legal instruments available to domestic research facilities and infrastructures are sufficient enough to reach our science and technology development goals.

TOP