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 Scientific Research Legal System and Response Thereto (1) – For Example, The Finnish Innovation Fund (“SITRA”),STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=6980 (Date:2021/01/27)
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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.

The Status of Taiwan's Regulations Concerning with Access to Biological Resources

Preface In actual practice, the research and development of biotech medicine, food, and environmental products cannot be done by in-lab researches. This is a unique character of the biotechnology industry. To get the research going, the researchers need to search for and exploit new biological materials and, samples outside the lab. Therefore, the access to and management of biological resources have significant impact on the stimulation and development of national biotech industry. Ever since the enforcement of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 by 172 countries, a general principal about conserving biological diversity and using biological resources has been set. According to CBD, States have sovereign rights over their own biological resources. CBD also encourages each State to access to and manage the biological resources conformed with the principals of conservation, sustainability, NOEL environment friendly, and adequate sharing of benefit arising from biological resources. Therefore, issues such as environmental protection and sustainability have become political issues internationally. If the ABS system for the access to biological resources is designed too strictly, the establishment of the system will make the research and development staffs and related institutions hang back with hesitation both domestically and internationally. Their intention of bioprospecting in the designated country will then be reduced. On the other hand, if the system is designed too loosely, it will not be able to protect the rights of the owner of the resources. As a result, currently, every country holds a cautious attitude in setting up the regulations of managing the access to biological resources. Currently, 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. Since it has been more than 10 years that the regulation of access to biological resources and benefit sharing has been developed in some countries, how is Taiwan's current situation regarding this issue? Taiwan's Existing Regulations on the Access to Bioloical Resources In terms of regulations, Taiwan's existing management style of the access to biological resources is similar to that of the US and the EU. It refers to the existing regulations on environmental protection and conservation, and evaluates from the perspective of environmental protection to control and manage the exploitation and application of the related biological resources. These regulations include the Wildlife Conservation Act, theNational Park Law, the Forestry Act, the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and the Aboriginal Basic Act. The paragraphs below describe the contents of the acts mentioned that are related to the access to biological resources. 1 、 Wildlife Conservation Act According to the Wildlife Conservation Act, the Protected Species and the products made of cannot be hunted, traded, owned, imported, exported, raised, bred, and processed unless the number of protected wildlife has exceeded the amount the environment permits, or carry the objectives of academic research and education with the permits of central or regional authorities. As for the hunting of General Wildlife, pre-application and approval is needed with the exception of projects based on the objectives of academic research or education. In addition, the import and export of the living wildlife and the products of Protected Wildlife are restricted to the condition of being permitted by management authority. With respect to the import and export of living Protected Wildlife, Academic research institutions and colleagues are the only person who can seek for the approval of management authority before they proceed. 2 、 National Park Law The design and management of Taiwan's national parks are based on the regulations listed in the National Park Law with the purpose of protecting our country's exclusive natural scenery, wildlife and historical spots. Based on the properties and the nature of resources, the national park management structures the preserved area into general control area, playground and resting area, spot of historical interest, special landmark area, and ecological protection area. Ecological protection area refers to the areas where the natural surroundings, creatures, the society they live and propagate are strictly protected only for the research of ecology. According to the regulation of National Park Law, inside the national park area, it is prohibited to hunt animals, fish, take off flowers or trees, not to mention the behaviours that are prohibited by the management authority. Exceptions are made based on the conditions of preserved areas and for the research purposes. In the general control area or resting area, the national park authority allows fishing or other activities agreed by the authority. However, these activities are prohibited in the preserved area of historical interest, special landmark area, and ecological protection area. To suit special purposes, in the special landmark area or ecological protection area, collection of specimens is allowed subject to the approval of authority. Under the purpose of academic research, better management of public safety, and special management of national park, the Ministry of the Interior will permit the collection of specimen. However, to enter the ecological protection area, one must obtain the permission of authority. 3 、 Forestry Act To protect the forest resources and to maximize the public welfare and economic effectiveness, some of the properties are classified as forestry land and being managed by authority. Based on the Forestry Act, management authority has to restrict the area of cutting timber and to identify the area or period of restricted digging of greensward, tree roots, and grass roots, based on the condition of the forest. In addition, to maintain the current ecological environment in the forest, and to preserve the diversity of species, identification of natural preserved area is needed inside the forestland. The entrance and exit of human and vehicles are controlled based on the nature of the resources inside the preserve area. Unless obtaining the approval from the management authority, not a single activity of damaging, logging or digging soil, stones, greensward and roots is allowed. Furthermore, any unauthorized activity of collecting specimen inside the forest recreation area and natural reserve will be fined. Collecting flowers and plants in these areas, or trespassing the natural reserve will also be fined. Only the activities taken by the aborigines to sustain their living or accommodate their customs are not restricted. 4 、 Cultural Heritage Preservation Act The objectives of setting up the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act are to preserve and apply the cultural resources, to enrich the spiritual lives of citizens, and to add glory to the existing diverse cultures. The Cultural Heritage Preservation Act classifies the natural landscape and scenery as cultural assets. Vistas of Natural Culture refer to the natural areas, landforms, plants and mineral which contain the values of preservation. It can be further grouped into natural preserved area and natural monuments. Since the natural monuments include the unusual plants and mineral, it is connected to the management of biological resources. According to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, unless approved by the management authority, it is prohibited to collect, log, destroy the plants or bio resources classified as natural monuments or trespass into the area of natural preserve. For the purposes of academic research, or for the memorial ceremony of aboriginal custom, research institute and the aborigines can collect the natural monuments without the approval of authority. 5 、 Aboriginal Basic Act To protect the basic rights of the aborigines, and to sustain and develop the aboriginal society, the Aboriginal Basic Act was designed and enacted. The government not only admits the aborigine's rights in lands and natural resources, but also permits the non-profit behaviour such as hunting of wildlife, colleting of wild plants and fungi for the objective of complying with traditional culture, ceremony or private uses. In addition, the Aboriginal Basic Act provides the requirement of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) to require government or private individual to inform the aborigines before they proceed with land development, resource exploitation, ecological preservation, and academic research in the land where the aborigines live. They need to consult and obtain the aborigines' agreement or participation, and to share the related interests derived from this project. In the case of restricting the aborigine's right of the use of land or natural resources by law, the government,shall consult with the aborigines or the tribe and reach the agreement. When the government wish to design and establish national park, national scenic area, forestry area, ecological protection area, recreational area, or other resource management authorities, the government should obtain the agreement from the local aborigines and to build up the co-management mechanism.

Taiwan Recent Regulatory Development- Promoting Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry

Over the past twenty years, the Government has sought to cultivate the biopharmaceutical industry as one of the future major industry in Taiwan. Back in 1982, the Government has begun to regard biotechnology as a key technology in Technology Development Program, demonstrated that biotechnology is a vital technology in pursuit of future economic growth. Subsequently, the Government initiated national programs that incorporated biotechnology as a blueprint for future industrial development. In order to enhance our competitiveness and building an initial framework for the industry, The Executive Yuan has passed the Biotechnology Industry Promotion Plan. As the Government seeks to create future engines of growth by building an environment conducive for enterprise development, the Plan has been amended four times, and implemented measures focused on the following six areas: related law and regulations, R&D and applications, technology transfer and commercialization, personnel training, investment promotion and coordination, marketing information and marketing service. In 2002, the Executive Yuan approved the Challenge 2008, a six-year national development plan, pointing out biotechnology industry as one of the Two Trillion, Twin Stars industries. The Government planned for future economic growth by benefiting through the attributes of the biotechnology: high-tech, high-reward and less pollution. Thus, since 1997 the Strategic Review Board (SRB) under the Executive Yuan Science and Technology Advisory Panel has taken action in coordinating government policies with industry comments to form a sound policy for the biotechnology industry. Additionally, a well-established legal system for sufficient protection of intellectual property rights is the perquisite for building the industry, as the Government recognized the significance through amending and executing related laws and regulations. By stipulating data exclusivity and experimental use exception in the Pharmaceutical Affair Act, tax benefits provided in Statute for Upgrading Industries , Incentives for Production and R&D of Rare Disease Medicine, Incentives for Medical Technology Research and Development, provide funding measures in the Guidance of Reviewing Programs for Promoting Biotechnology Investment. Clearly, the government has great expectation for the industry through establishing a favorable environment by carrying out these policies and revising outdated regulations. Thus, the Legislative Yuan has passed the “Act for The Development of Biotechnology and New Pharmaceuticals Industry” in June, 2007, and immediately took effect in July. The relevant laws and regulations became effective as well, driving the industry in conducting researches on new drugs and manufacturing new products, increasing sales and expanding the industry to meet an international level. For a biopharmaceutical industry that requires long-term investment and costly R&D, incentive measures is vital to the industry’s survival before the product launches the market. Accordingly, this article will be introducing the recent important regulation that supports the biopharmaceutical industry in Taiwan, and analyzing the government’s policies. Biotechnology is increasingly gaining global attention for its potential in building future economic growth and generating significant profits. In an effort to support the biotechnology industry in Taiwan, the Government has made a step forward by enacting the “Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry”. The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized as high-risk and high-reward, strong government support and a well-developed legal system plays a vital role from its establishment throughout the long term development. Therefore, the Act was enacted tailor to the Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry, primarily focuses on tax benefits, R&D activities, personnel recruitment and investment funding, in support of start-up companies and attracting a strong flow of funding worldwide. To pave the way for promoting the biopharmaceutical industry and the Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Company, here the article will be introducing the incentive measures provided in the Act, and supporting development of the industry, demonstrating the efforts made by the Government to build a “Bio-tech Island”. Reference “Act for Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceutical Industry”, webpage of Law and Regulations Database of the Republic of China. 4 July, 2007. Ministry of Justice, Taiwan. 5 Nov. 2008 http://law.moj.gov.tw/Eng/Fnews/FnewsContent.asp?msgid=3180&msgType=en&keyword=undefined

The opening and sharing of scientific data- The Data Policy of the U.S. National Institutes of Health

The opening and sharing of scientific data- The Data Policy of the U.S. National Institutes of Health Li-Ting Tsai   Scientific research improves the well-being of all mankind, the data sharing on medical and health promote the overall amount of energy in research field. For promoting the access of scientific data and research findings which was supported by the government, the U.S. government affirmed in principle that the development of science was related to the retention and accesses of data. The disclosure of information should comply with legal restrictions, and the limitation by time as well. For government-sponsored research, the data produced was based on the principle of free access, and government policies should also consider the actual situation of international cooperation[1]Furthermore, the access of scientific research data would help to promote scientific development, therefore while formulating a sharing policy, the government should also consider the situation of international cooperation, and discuss the strategy of data disclosure based on the principle of free access.   In order to increase the effectiveness of scientific data, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) set up the Office of Science Policy (OSP) to formulate a policy which included a wide range of issues, such as biosafety (biosecurity), genetic testing, genomic data sharing, human subjects protections, the organization and management of the NIH, and the outputs and value of NIH-funded research. Through extensive analysis and reports, proposed emerging policy recommendations.[2] At the level of scientific data sharing, NIH focused on "genes and health" and "scientific data management". The progress of biomedical research depended on the access of scientific data; sharing scientific data was helpful to verify research results. Researchers integrated data to strengthen analysis, promoted the reuse of difficult-generated data, and accelerated research progress.[3] NIH promoted the use of scientific data through data management to verify and share research results.   For assisting data sharing, NIH had issued a data management and sharing policy (DMS Policy), which aimed to promote the sharing of scientific data funded or conducted by NIH.[4] DMS Policy defines “scientific data.” as “The recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. Scientific data do not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, completed case report forms, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens.”[5] In other words, for determining scientific data, it is not only based on whether the data can support academic publications, but also based on whether the scientific data is a record of facts and whether the research results can be repeatedly verified.   In addition, NIH, NIH research institutes, centers, and offices have had expected sharing of data, such as: scientific data sharing, related standards, database selection, time limitation, applicable and presented in the plan; if not applicable, the researcher should propose the data sharing and management methods in the plan. NIH also recommended that the management and sharing of data should implement the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles. The types of data to be shared should first in general descriptions and estimates, the second was to list meta-data and other documents that would help to explain scientific data. NIH encouraged the sharing of scientific data as soon as possible, no later than the publication or implementation period.[6] It was said that even each research project was not suitable for the existing sharing strategy, when planning a proposal, the research team should still develop a suitable method for sharing and management, and follow the FAIR principles.   The scientific research data which was provided by the research team would be stored in a database which was designated by the policy or funder. NIH proposed a list of recommended databases lists[7], and described the characteristics of ideal storage databases as “have unique and persistent identifiers, a long-term and sustainable data management plan, set up metadata, organizing data and quality assurance, free and easy access, broad and measured reuse, clear use guidance, security and integrity, confidentiality, common format, provenance and data retention policy”[8]. That is to say, the design of the database should be easy to search scientific data, and should maintain the security, integrity and confidentiality and so on of the data while accessing them.   In the practical application of NIH shared data, in order to share genetic research data, NIH proposed a Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy in 2014, including NIH funding guidelines and contracts; NIH’s GDS policy applied to all NIHs Funded research, the generated large-scale human or non-human genetic data would be used in subsequent research. [9] This can effectively promote genetic research forward.   The GDS policy obliged researchers to provide genomic data; researchers who access genomic data should also abide by the terms that they used the Controlled-Access Data for research.[10] After NIH approved, researchers could use the NIH Controlled-Access Data for secondary research.[11] Reviewed by NIH Data Access Committee, while researchers accessed data must follow the terms which was using Controlled-Access Data for research reason.[12] The Genomic Summary Results (GSR) was belong to NIH policy,[13] and according to the purpose of GDS policy, GSR was defined as summary statistics which was provided by researchers, and non-sensitive data was included to the database that was designated by NIH.[14] Namely. NIH used the application and approval of control access data to strike a balance between the data of limitation access and scientific development.   For responding the COVID-19 and accelerating the development of treatments and vaccines, NIH's data sharing and management policy alleviated the global scientific community’s need for opening and sharing scientific data. This policy established data sharing as a basic component in the research process.[15] In conclusion, internalizing data sharing in the research process will help to update the research process globally and face the scientific challenges of all mankind together. [1]NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL, COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SUBCOMMITEE ON INTERNATIONAL ISSUES, INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP ON OPEN DATA SHARING POLICY, Principles For Promoting Access To Federal Government-Supported Scientific Data And Research Findings Through International Scientific Cooperation (2016), 1, organized from Principles, at 5-8, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/NSTC/iwgodsp_principles_0.pdf (last visited December 14, 2020). [2]About Us, Welcome to NIH Office of Science Policy, NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy, https://osp.od.nih.gov/about-us/ (last visited December 7, 2020). [3]NIH Data Management and Sharing Activities Related to Public Access and Open Science, NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy, https://osp.od.nih.gov/scientific-sharing/nih-data-management-and-sharing-activities-related-to-public-access-and-open-science/ (last visited December 10, 2020). [4]Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-013.html (last visited December 11, 2020). [5]Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research, Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-013.html (last visited December 12, 2020). [6]Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Elements of an NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan, Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-014.html (last visited December 13, 2020). [7]The list of databases in details please see:Open Domain-Specific Data Sharing Repositories, NIH National Library of Medicine, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/NIHbmic/domain_specific_repositories.html (last visited December 24, 2020). [8]Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Selecting a Repository for Data Resulting from NIH-Supported Research, Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-016.html (last visited December 13, 2020). [9]NIH Genomic Data Sharing, National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy, https://osp.od.nih.gov/scientific-sharing/genomic-data-sharing/ (last visited December 15, 2020). [10]NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy, National Institutes of Health (NIH), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-14-124.html (last visited December 17, 2020). [11]NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy, National Institutes of Health (NIH), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-14-124.html (last visited December 17, 2020). [12]id. [13]NIH National Institutes of Health Turning Discovery into Health, Responsible Use of Human Genomic Data An Informational Resource, 1, at 6, https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/Responsible_Use_of_Human_Genomic_Data_Informational_Resource.pdf (last visited December 17, 2020). [14]Update to NIH Management of Genomic Summary Results Access, National Institutes of Health (NIH), https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-19-023.html (last visited December 17, 2020). [15]Francis S. Collins, Statement on Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, National Institutes of Health Turning Discovery Into Health, https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/statement-final-nih-policy-data-management-sharing (last visited December 14, 2020).

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