Introduction to the “Public Procurement for Startups” mechanism

Introduction to the “Public Procurement for Startups” mechanism

I.Backgrounds

  According to the EU’s statistics, government procurement budget accounted for over 14% of GDP. And, according to the media report, the total amount of government procurement in Taiwan in 2017 accounted for nearly 8%. Therefore, the government’s procurement power has gradually become a policy tool for the government to promote the development of innovative products and services. 

  In 2017, the Executive Yuan of the R.O.C.(Taiwan)announced a government procurement policy named “Government as Good Partners with Startups (政府成為新創好夥伴)”[1] to encourage government agencies and State-owned Enterprises to procure and adopt innovative goods or services provided by startups. This policy was subsequently implemented through an action plan named “Public Procurement for Startups”(新創採購)[2] by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration(SMEA).The action plan mainly includes two important parts:One created the procurement process for startups to enter the government contracts market through inter-entities contracts. The other accelerated the collaboration of the government agencies and startups through empirical demonstration.

II.Facilitating the procurement process for startups to enter the government market

  In order to help startups enter the government contracts market in a more efficient way, the SMEA conducts the procurement of inter-entity supply contracts with suppliers, especially startups, for the supply of innovative goods or services. An inter-entity supply contract[3] is a special contractual framework, under which the contracting entity on behalf of  two or more other contracting parties signs a contract with suppliers and formulates the specifics and price of products or services provided through the public procurement process. Through the process of calling for tenders, price competition and so on, winning tenderers will be selected and listed on the Government E-Procurement System. This framework allows those contracting entities obtain orders and acquire products or services which they need in a more efficient way so it increases government agencies’ willingness to procure and use innovative products and services.

  From 2018, the SMEA started to undertake the survey of innovative products and services that government agencies usually needed and conducted the procurement of inter-entity supply contracts for two rounds every year. As a result, the SMEA plays an important role to bridge the demand and supply sides for innovative products or services by means of implementing the forth-mentioned survey and procurement process. Moreover, in order to explore more innovative products and services with high quality and suitable for government agencies and public institutions, the SMEA actively networked with various stakeholders, including incubators, accelerators, startups mentoring programs sponsored by private and public sectors and so on.

  Initially the items to be procured were categorized into four themes which were named the Smart Innovations, the Smart Eco, the Smart Healthcare, and the Smart Security. Later, in order to show the diversity of the innovation of startups which response well to various social issues, from 2019, the SMEA introduced two new theme solicitations titled the Smart Education and the Smart Agriculture to the inter-entities contracts.

  Those items included the power management systems, the AI automated recognition and image warning system, the chatbot for public service, unmanned flying vehicles, aerial photography services and so on. Take the popular AI image warning system as an example, the system is used by police officers to make instant evidence searching and image recording. Other government agencies apply the innovative system to the investigation of illegal logging and school safety surveillance.

  Moreover, the SMEA has also offered subsidy for local governments to buy those items provided by startups. That is the coordinated supporting measure which allows startups the equal playing field to compete with large companies. The Subsidy scheme is based on the Guideline for Subsidies on Procurement of Innovative Products and Services[3] (approved by the Executive Yuan on March 29, 2018 and revised on Feb. 20, 2021). In the Guideline, “innovative products and services” refer to the products, technologies, labor, service flows or items and services rendered with creative activities through deploying scientific or technical means and a certain degree of innovations by startups with less than five years in operation. Such innovative products and services are displayed for the inter-entity supply contractual framework administered by the SMEA for government procurement.

III.Accelerating the collaboration of the government agencies and startups through empirical demonstration

  To assist startups to prove their concepts or services, and become more familiar with the governemnrt’s needs, the SMEA also created a mechanism called the “Solving Governmental Problems by Star-up Innovation”(政府出題˙新創解題). It plans to collect government agencies’ needs, and then solicit innovative proposals from startups. After their proposals are accepted, startups will be given a grant up to one million NT dollars to conduct empirical studies on solution with government agencies for about half a year.

  Take the cooperation between the “Taoyuan Long Term Care Institute for Older People and the Biotech Startup” for example, a care system with sanitary aids was introduced to provide automatic detection, cleanup and dry services for the patients’discharges, thus saving 95% of cleaning time for caregivers. In the past, caregivers usually spent 4 hours on the average in inspecting old patients, cleaning and replacing their bedsheets as their busy daily routines. Inadequate caregivers makes it difficult to maintain the care quality. If the problem was not addressed immediately, it would make the life of old patients more difficult.

IV.Achievements to date

  Since the promotion of the products and services of the startups and the launch of the “Public Procurement for Startups” program in 2018, 68 startups, with the SMEA’s assistance, have entered the government procurement contracts market, and more than 100 government agencies have adopted the innovative resolutions. With the encouragement for them in adopting and utilizing the fruits of the startups, it has generated more than NT$150 million in cooperative business opportunities.

V.Conclusions

  While more and more startups are obtaining business opportunities from the favorable procurement process, constant innovation remains the key to success. As such, the SMEA has regularly visited the government agencies-buyers to obtain feedbacks from startups so as to adjust and optimize the innovative products or services. The SMEA has also regularly renewed the specifics and items of the procurement list every year to keep introducing and supplying high-quality products or services to the government agencies.

 

 

[1] Policy for investment environment optimization for Startups(2017),available at https://www.ndc.gov.tw/nc_27_28382.(last visited on July 30, 2021 )

[2] https://www.spp.org.tw/spp/(last visited on July 30, 2021 )

[3] Article 93 of Government Procurement Act:I An entity may execute an inter-entity supply contract with a supplier for the supply of property or services that are commonly needed by entities. II The regulations for a procurement of an inter-entity supply contract, the matters specified in the tender documentation and contract, applicable entities, and the related matters shall be prescribed by the responsible entity.

[4] https://law.moea.gov.tw/LawContent.aspx?id=GL000555(last visited on July 30, 2021)

 

 

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※Introduction to the “Public Procurement for Startups” mechanism,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=8730 (Date:2022/06/25)
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An Analysis of the Recusal Mechanism in the Latest Revision of the Government Procurement Act and Regulations Governing Procurements for Scientific and Technological Research and Development

An Analysis of the Recusal Mechanism in the Latest Revision of the Government Procurement Act and Regulations Governing Procurements for Scientific and Technological Research and Development 1. Introduction   Article 1 of the Government Procurement Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) reveals that “This Act is enacted to establish a government procurement system that has fair and open procurement procedures, promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of government procurement operation, and ensures the quality of procurement.” Therefore, a recusal mechanism for reviewing qualification/disqualification of tenders and bidders is highly essential, for example, the head of the agency or its related persons should disclose the conflict of interests. After amended and promulgated on May 22, 2019 (Presidential Decree Hua-tzung-1 Yi No. 10800049691), the Act was revised with the identical legislative principle of the Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest. In other words, a more flexible and transparent mechanism has been adopted, which is more advanced and ideal for both procurement authority and external supervisors. 2. The New Recusal Mechanism of the Act Enhances the Flexibility and Transparency   The revision struck out the Paragraph 4, Article 15 of the Act, and the regulation related to the recusal mechanism shall be comply with the Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest, especially the qualification/disqualification provision of the “related persons.” The new government procurement procedure adopted a more flexible and transparent practice, “disclosure in advance and publication afterwards.” The detailed analysis is as follows. (1) Before the Act amended, the personnel of a procuring entity and its related persons shall withdraw themselves from the procurement.   Before the Act amended, the personnel of a procuring entity and its related persons shall withdraw themselves from the procurement. According to the previous Paragraph 4 of Article 15 (4), “Suppliers or persons in charge shall not participate in the procurement if they have connections with the agency’s head described in Paragraph 2. However, if the implementation of this paragraph is against fair competition or public interest, the exclusion can be exempted with the authority’s approval.” The Paragraph 2 mentioned specified, “The personnel of a procuring entity shall withdraw themselves from procurement and all related matters thereof if they or their spouses, relatives by blood or by marriage within three degrees, or family members living together with them have interests involved therein.” Simply put, legislators considered that suppliers or persons in charge shall not participate in an agency's procurement if they have conflict of interests with its head. For instance, the spouses, all the relatives within the third degree by consanguinity (blood) or by affinity (marriage), or family members living together with the head of the agency, cannot involve in the procurement of the agency. Furthermore, if a legal entity or an organization is directed by the relatives of the head of a government agency mentioned, it is disqualified from the procurement. (2) After the Act amended, the recusal of related persons substituted by self-disclosure and information publication norms   According to the Amendment, the Act was amended because the content of the article is existed in Article 9 of Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest; thus, Article 15 of the Act is hereby deleted. Recalling Article 9 of the previous Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest, “A public servant and his related persons shall not conduct transactions such as subsidizing, sales, lease, contracting, or other transactions conducted with consideration with the organ with which the public servant serves or the organs under his supervision.” For this reason, the amendment to Article 15 of Government Procurement Act is to regulate the mechanism of withdrawal of relevant parties by Article 14 of the existing Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest. However, the amendment of this article is greatly affected by the interpretation of judicial court no. 716, so it is necessary to briefly describe its key points as follows.   On the basis of the Judicial Yuan Justice Interpretation No. 716 [Transactions between public officials and their associates and service agencies shall be prohibited), adopting a constitutional interpretation of Article 9 of Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest, grand justice agreed this article does not contradict the proportion principle of article 23 of Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and it does not violate Article 15 “The right of existence, the right of work, and the right of property shall be guaranteed to the people” and Article 22 “All other freedoms and rights of the people that are not detrimental to social order or public welfare shall be guaranteed under the Constitution”, either. However, for public officials, if they are not allowed to participate in trading competition, it will result in the monopoly of other minority traders, which is not conducive to the public interest. Therefore, this interpretation holds that if the agency has conducted open and fair procedures in the transaction process, and there is sufficient anti-fraud regulation, whether there is still a risk of improper benefit transmission or conflict of interest, and it is necessary to prohibit the transaction of public officials' associates, the relevant authorities should make comprehensive review and improvement as soon as possible.   Accordingly, following interpretation no. 716, Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest was amended and published with 23 articles on 13 June, 2018. The withdrawal of interested parties is provided for in Article 14 and an additional six exceptions are provided, including: (1) The procurement carried out by public notice under the Government Procurement Act or pursuant to Article 105 of the same Act. (2) The property right in interest created for the procurement, sale by tender, lease by tender or tender solicitation carried out by public notice in a fair competitive manner pursuant to laws. (3) Subsidy requested in the legal capacity under laws; the subsidy to the public servant’s related person in an open and fair manner pursuant to laws, or the subsidy which might be against the public interest if it is prohibited and is granted subject to the competent authority’s approval. (4) The subject matter of the transaction is provided by the organ with which the public servant serves or the organs under his supervision, and traded at the official price. (5) The lease, acquisition, discretionary management, improvement and utilization of national non-public real estate requested by the state-owned enterprise in order to execute the national construction projects or public policies, or for the purpose of public welfare. (6) The subsidy and transaction under the specific amount.   The above amendments make the transactions between public officials and related parties that should be avoided in the past partially flexible now. In accordance with Paragraph 2 of the same article, in the case of the first three paragraphs of the proviso of Paragraph 1, the applicant or bidder shall voluntarily state his/her identity in the application or tender documents. After the subsidy or transaction is established, the agency shall disclose it together with its identity. That is to say, the self-disclosure is required beforehand and the information will go public afterwards to meet public expectations of transparency. This is also conducive to the supervision of all sectors, and conforms to the intention of the grand justice’s interpretation.   The reason why there is no need for government procurement to withdrawal is that the announcement process of the procurement is made in accordance with Government Procurement Act (including open tendering, selective tendering and restricted tendering through the announcement). There are strict procedures to follow and there is no conflict between the conflict of interest of public officials and the spirit of legislation. As to Paragraph 2 of other legal orders, the property right in interest created for the procurement, sale by tender, lease by tender or tender solicitation carried out by public notice in a fair competitive manner pursuant to laws. The legislative explanations are exemplified by the procurement (e.g. procurements for scientific and technological research and development) handled by the announcement in accordance with Fundamental Science and Technology Act. 3. Conclusion: It is suggested that relevant withdrawal regulations should be amended as soon as possible in procurements for scientific and technological research and development   The strike-out of the recusal provision of the Act does not mean that government procurement stoke out the recusal mechanism. The recusal mechanism is still stated in Article 14 of Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest. In addition to the advantages of the same regulations on the prohibition of transactions between related parties, it also enables the regulators with open and fair procedures and sufficient prevention of fraud, such as government procurement, to avoid evading so as not to harm the public interest. At the same time, supplemented by open and transparent disclosure, the amendment is a positive change of legislation.   Meanwhile, this paper believes that Government Procurement Act has adopted the mechanism of flexibility and transparency requirements for the procurement object avoidance regulations, and procurements for scientific and technological research and development should revise relevant withdrawal regulations as soon as possible. In accordance with Paragraph 4 of Article 6 of Fundamental Science and Technology Act and the authorization, Regulations Governing Procurements for Scientific and Technological Research and Development (hereinafter referred to as the regulatory regulations) is established. According to Article 8 (2) and (3) of the regulation, a responsible person, partner, or representative of the public school, public research institute (organization), or juristic person or entity performing the scientific research procurement may not serve as a responsible person, partner, or representative of the supplier. The supplier and the juristic person or entity performing the scientific research procurement may not at the same time be affiliated with each other, or affiliated to the same other enterprise. From the perspective of the article structure, the withdrawal regulation for scientific research procurement is within the norm of Article 15 of Government Procurement Act before the amendment, but it includes regulations for affiliated enterprises, which is not included in Article 15. The amendment to Article 14 of Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest also states that the proviso of Paragraph 1 of scientific research procurement “other procurements that are regulated by fair competition and by means of an announcement procedure” can also prove that the mechanism for scientific research procurement should adopt this provision. Therefore, it is recommended that the original procurements for scientific and technological research that is independent from Government Procurement Act should be amended by the competent authority as soon as possible in order to comply with the relevant provisions of Article 8 of Regulations Governing Procurements for Scientific and Technological Research and Development and to comply with the original intention of the Regulations Governing Procurements for Scientific and Technological Research and Development, and to avoid stricter regulations on scientific procurement than government procurement. Meanwhile, it is in accordance with the spirit of the grand justice’s interpretation No. 716.

Taiwan Announced the Biobanks Regulations and Management Practices

Taiwan Has Passed “Statute of Human Biobank Management” to Maintain Privacy and Improve Medicine Industries Due to lack of regulations, divergent opinions abounded about the establishment of Biobanks and collection of human biological specimen. For example, a researcher in an academic research organization and a hospital-based physician collected biospecimens from native Taiwanese. Although they insisted that the collections were for research only, human rights groups, ethics researchers, and groups for natives´ benefits condemned the collections as an invasion of human rights. Consequently, the Taiwanese government recognized the need for Biobanks regulation. To investigate the relationship between disease and multiple factors and to proceed with possible prevention, The Legislative Yuan Social Welfare and Healthy Environment Committee has passed "the draft statute of human biobank management" through primary reviewing process on December 30, 2009 and subsequently passed through entire three-reading procedure on January 7, 2010. Therefore, the medical and research institute not only can set up optimal gene database for particular disease curing, but also can collect blood sample for database establishment, legally. However, the use of sample collections will be excluded from the use of judiciary purpose. In the light of to establish large scale biobank is going to face the fundamental human right issue, from the viewpoint of biobank management, it is essential not only to set up the strict ethics regulation for operational standard, but also to make the legal environment more complete. For instance, the Department of Health, Executive Yuan had committed the earlier planning of Taiwan biobank establishment to the Academic Sinica in 2006, and planned to collect bio-specimen by recruiting volunteers. However, it has been criticized by all circles that it might be considered violating the Constitution article 8 provision 1 front paragraph, and article 22 rules; moreover, it might also infringe the personal liberty or body information privacy. Therefore, the Executive Yuan has passed the draft statute of human biobank management which was drafted and reviewed by Department of Health during the 3152nd meeting, on July 16, 2009, to achieve the goal of protecting our nation’s privacy and promoting the development of medical science by management biomedical research affairs in more effective ways. Currently, the draft statute has been passed through the primary review procedure by the Legislative Yuan. 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Furthermore, regarding the restrained read right and setting up participants’ sample process way if there were death or lost of their capacity; (4) Biobank Management: The safety regulation, obligation of active notification, free to retreat, data destruction, confidentiality and obligation, and termination of operation handling are stipulated; and (5) Biobank Application: According to the new draft statute, that the biological data can’t be used for other purposes, for example, the use of inquisition result for the "Civil law", article 1063, provision 2, prosecution for denying the parent-child relationship law suit", or according to the "Criminal law", article 213, provision 6. This rule not only protects the participants’ body information and their privacy right, but also clearly defines application limits, as well as to set up the mechanism for inner control and avoid conflict of interests to prevent unnecessary disputes. Finally, the Department of Health noted that, as many medical researches has shown that the occurrence of diseases are mostly co-effected by various factors such as multiple genes and their living environment, rather than one single gene, developed countries have actively devoted to human biological sample collection for their national biobank establishment. The construction and usage of a large-scale human bank may bring up the critical issue such as privacy protection and ethical problems; however, to meet the equilibrium biomedical research promotion and citizen privacy issue will highly depend on the cooperation and trust between the public and private sectors. Taiwan Department of Health Announced the Human Biobanks Information Security Regulation The field of human biobanks will be governed by the Act of Human Biobanks (“Biobanks Act”) after its promulgation on February 3, 2010 in Taiwan. 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After all the protection of biobanks relative information above, the most important thing is the safety regulations and directive rules of the database administration lest all the restrictions of biobanks owners and the use be in vain. The draft Regulation aims to strengthen the safety of biobanks database and assure the data, the systems, the equipments, and the web circumstances are safe for the sake of the participants’ rights. The significant aspects of the draft are described as below. At first, the regulation should refer to the ISO27001, ISO27002 and other official rules. Concerning the personnel management, the security assessment is required and the database management personnel and researchers may not serve concurrently. In case some tasks are outsourced, the contractor should be responsible for the information security; the nondisclosure agreement and auditing mechanism are required. 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Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Scientific Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – For Example, The Finnish Innovation Fund (“SITRA”)

Impact of Government Organizational Reform to Scientific Research Legal System and Response Thereto (2) – For Example, The Finnish Innovation Fund (“SITRA”) III. Comparison of Strength and Weakness of Sitra Projects 1. Sitra Venture Capital Investment Model   In order to comprehend how to boost innovation business development to upgrade innovation ability, we analyze and compare the innovation systems applied in Sweden, France and Finland[1] . We analyze and compare the characteristics, strength and weakness of innovation promotion models in terms of funding, networking and professional guidance. Generally, the first difficulty which a start-up needs to deal with when it is founded initially is the funding. Particularly, a technology company usually requires tremendous funding when it is founded initially. Some potentially adequate investors, e.g., venture capitals, seldom invest in small-sized start-up (because such overhead as supervision and management fees will account for a high percentage of the investment due to the small total investment amount). Networking means how a start-up integrates such human resources as the management, investors, technical advisors and IP professionals when it is founded initially. Control over such human resources is critical to a new company’s survival and growth. Professional guidance means how professional knowledge and human resource support the start-up’s operation. In order to make its product required by the market, an enterprise usually needs to integrate special professional knowledge. Notwithstanding, the professional knowledge and talents which are available from an open market theoretically often cannot be accessed, due to market failure[2].   Assuming that Sitra’s funding is prioritized as Pre-seed-Initiation stage, Seed-Development stage and Follow-up – Growth stage, under Finland model, at the Pre-seed-Initiation stage, Sitra will provide the fund amounting to EUR20,000 when Tekes will also provide the equivalent fund, provided that the latter purely provides subsidy, while the fund provided by Sitra means a loan to be repaid (without interest) after some time (usually after commercialization), or a loan convertible to shares. Then, the loan would be replaced by soft or convertible (to shares) investment and the source of funding would turn to be angel investors or local seed capital at the Seed-Development stage. At this stage, the angel investors, local seed capital and Sitra will act as the source of funding jointly in Finland, while Tekes will not be involved at this stage. At the Follow-up-Growth stage, like the Sweden model, Sitra will utilize its own investment fund to help mitigate the gap between local small-sized funding and large-sized international venture capital[3].   How to recruit professional human resources is critical to a start-up’s success. Many enterprises usually lack sufficient professional human resources or some expertise. DIILI service network set up by Sitra is able to provide the relevant solutions. DILLI is a network formed by product managers. Its members actively participate in starts-up and seek innovation. They also participate in investment of starts-up independently sometimes. Therefore, they are different from angel investors, because they devote themselves to the starts-up on a full-time basis[4]. In other words, they manage the starts-up as if the starts-up were their own business. 2. Key to Public Sector’s Success in Boosting Development of Innovation Activity Business   In terms of professional guidance, voluntary guidance means the direct supply of such professional resources as financing, human resource and technology to starts-up, while involuntary guidance means the supply of strategic planning in lieu of direct assistance to help the enterprises make routine decisions[5]. The fractured and incomplete professional service attendant market generates low marginal effect. Therefore, it is impossible for the traditional consultation service to mitigate such gap and the investment at the pre-seed initiation stage will be excessive because of the acquisition of the professional services. Meanwhile, professional advisors seldom are involved in consultation services at the pre-seed initiation stage of a start-up because of the low potential added value. Therefore, at such stage, only involuntary professional guidance will be available usually. Under Sitra model, such role is played by an angel investor.   Upon analysis and comparison, we propose six suggested policies to boost innovation activities successfully as the reference when observing Sitra operation. First of all, compared with the French model, Finland Sitra and Sweden model set more specific objectives to meet a start-up’s needs (but there is some defect, e.g., Sitra model lacks voluntary professional guidance). Second, structural budget is a key to the successful model. Sitra will receive the funds in the amount of EUR235,000,000 from the Finnish Government, but its operating expenditure is covered by its own operating revenue in whole. Third, it is necessary to provide working fund in installments and provide fund at the pre-seed-initiation stage. Under both of Finland model and Sweden model, funds will be provided at the pre-seed-initiation stage (Tekes is responsible for providing the fund in Finland). Fourth, the difficulty in networking must be solved. In Sitra, the large-sized talent network set up by it will be dedicated to recruiting human resources. Fifth, the voluntary professional guidance is indispensable at the pre-seed-initiation stage, while the same is unavailable at such stage under Sitra model. Instead, the Sweden model is held as the optimal one, as it has a dedicated unit responsible for solving the difficulty to seek profit. Sixth, soft loan[6] will be successfully only when the loan cannot be convertible to shares. At the pre-seed initiation stage or seed-development stage, a start-up is usually funded by traditional loan. Assuming that the start-up is not expected to gain profit, whether the loan may be convertible to shares will also be taken into consideration when the granting of loan is considered (therefore, the fund provider will not be changed to the “capital” provider). Besides, the government authorities mostly lack the relevant experience or knowledge, or are in no position to negotiate with international large-sized venture capital companies. For example, under the French model, the government takes advantage of its power to restrict the venture capital investment and thereby renders adverse impact to starts-up which seek venture capital. Finally, the supply of own fund to meet the enterprises’ needs at seed-development stage and follow-up-growth stage to mitigate the gap with large-sized venture capital[7] is also required by a successful funding model. IV. Conclusion-Deliberation of Finnish Sitra Experience   As the leading national industrial innovation ability promoter in Finland, Sitra appears to be very characteristic in its organizational framework or operating mechanism. We hereby conclude six major characteristics of Sitra and propose the potential orientation toward deliberation of Taiwan’s industrial innovation policies and instruments. 1. Particularity of Organizational Standing   In consideration of the particularity of Sitra organizational standing, it has two characteristics observable. First, Sitra is under supervision of the Finnish Parliament directly, not subordinated to the administrative organizational system and, therefore, it possesses such strength as flexibility and compliance with the Parliament’s requirements. Such organization design which acts independently of the administrative system but still aims to implement policies has been derived in various forms in the world, e.g., the agency model[8] in the United Kingdom, or the independent apparatus in the U.S.A. Nevertheless, to act independently of the administrative system, it has to deal with the deliberation of responsible political principles at first, which arouses the difficulty in taking care of flexibility at the same time. In Taiwan, the intermediary organizations include independent agencies and administrative corporations, etc., while the former still involves the participation of the supreme administrative head in the right of personnel administration and is subordinated to the ministries/departments of the Executive Yuan and the latter aims to enforce the public missions in the capacity of “public welfare” organization. Though such design as reporting to the Parliament directly is not against the responsible political principles, how the Parliament owns the authority to supervise is the point (otherwise, theoretically, the administrative authorities are all empowered by the parliament in the country which applies the cabinet system). Additionally, why some special authorities are chosen to report to the parliament directly while other policy subjects are not is also disputable. The existence of Sitra also refers to a circumstantial evidence substantiating that Finland includes the innovation policy as one of the important government policies, and also the objective fact that Finland’s innovation ability heads the first in the world.   Second, Sitra is a self-sufficient independent fund, which aims to promote technical R&D and also seeks profit for itself, irrelevant with selection of adequate investment subjects or areas. Instead, for this purpose, the various decisions made by it will deal with the utility and mitigate the gap between R&D and market. Such entity is responsible for public welfare or policy projects and also oriented toward gain from investment to feed the same back to the individuals in the organization. In the administrative system, Sitra is not directed by the administrative system but reports to the Parliament directly. Sitra aims to upgrade the national R&D innovation ability as its long-term goal mission and utilizes the promotion of innovation business and development of venture capital market. The mission makes the profit-orientation compatible with the selection of investment subjects, as an enterprise unlikely to gain profit in the future usually is excluded from the national development view. For example, such industries as green energy, which is not likely to gain profit in a short term, is still worth investing as long as it meets the national development trend and also feasible (in other words, selection of marketable green technology R&D, instead of comparison of the strength and weakness in investment value of green energy and other high-polluted energy). 2. Expressly Distinguished From Missions of Other Ministries/Departments   For the time being, Sitra primarily invests in starts-up, including indirect investment and direct investment, because it relies on successful new technology R&D which may contribute to production and marketability. Starts-up have always been one of the best options, as large-sized enterprises are able to do R&D on their own without the outsourcing needs. Further, from the point of view of an inventor, if the new technology is marketable, it will be more favorable to him if he chooses to start business on his own or make investment in the form of partnership, instead of transfer or license of the ownership to large-sized enterprises (as large-sized enterprises are more capable of negotiation). However, note that Sitra aims to boost innovation activities and only targets at start-up business development, instead of boosting and promoting the start-up per se. Under the requirement that Sitra needs to seek profit for itself, only the business with positive development view will be targeted by Sitra. Further, Sitra will not fund any business other than innovation R&D or some specific industries. Apparently, Sitra only focuses on the connection between innovation activities and start-up, but does not act as the competent authority in charge of small-sized and medium-sized enterprises.   Meanwhile, Sitra highlights that it will not fund academic research activities and, therefore, appears to be distinguished from the competent authority in charge of national scientific research. Though scientific research and technology innovation business, to some extent, are distinguished from each other in quantity instead of quality, abstract and meaningless research is existent but only far away from the commercialization market. Notwithstanding, a lot of countries tend to distinguish basic scientific research from industrial technology R&D in the administration organization's mission, or it has to be. In term of the way in which Sitra carries out its mission, such distinguishing ability is proven directly. 3. Well-Founded Technology Foresight-Based Investment Business   The corporate investments, fund investments and project funding launched by Sitra are all available to the pre-designated subjects only, e.g. ecological sustainable development, energy utilization efficiency, and social structural changes, etc. Such way to promote policies as defining development area as the first priority and then promoting the investment innovation might have some strength and weakness at the same time. First of all, the selection of development areas might meet the higher level national development orientation more therefor, free from objective environmental restrictions, e.g. technical level, leading national technology industries and properties of natural resources. Notwithstanding, an enterprise’s orientation toward innovation R&D might miss the opportunity for other development because of the pre-defined framework. Therefore, such way to promote policies as defining development areas or subjects as the first priority will be inevitably based on well-founded technology foresight-based projects[9], in order to take various subjective and objective conditions into consideration and to forecast the technology development orientation and impact to be faced by the home country’s national and social economies. That is, said strength and weakness will be taken into consideration beforehand for foresight, while following R&D funding will be launched into the technology areas pre-designated after thorough analysis. 4. Self-Interested Investment with the Same High Efficiency as General Enterprises   Sitra aims to gain profit generally, and its individual investment model, e.g., DIILI, also permits marketing managers to involve business operation. The profit-sharing model enables Sitra to seek the same high efficiency as the general enterprises when purusing its innovation activity development. The investment launched by Sitra highlights that it is not “funding” (which Tekes is responsible for in Finland) or the investment not requiring return. Therefore, it has the system design to acquire corporate shares. Sitra participates in a start-up by offering its advanced technology, just like a general market investor who will choose the potential investment subject that might benefit him most upon his personal professional evaluation. After all, the ultimate profit will be retained by Sitra (or said DIILI manger, subject to the investment model). Certainly, whether the industry which requires permanent support may benefit under such model still remains questionable. However, except otherwise provided in laws expressly, said special organization standing might be a factor critical to Sitra profit-seeking model. That is, Sitra is not subordinated to the administrative system but is under supervision of the parliament independently, and how its staff deal with the conflict of interest issues in the capacity other than the public sector’s/private sector’s staff is also one of the key factors to success of the system. 5. Investment Model to Deal With Policy Instruments of Other Authorities/Agencies   Sitra decides to fund a start-up depending on whether it may gain profit as one of its priorities. As aforesaid, we may preliminarily recognize that the same should be consistent with funding to starts-up logically and no “government failure” issue is involved. For example, the funding at the pre-seed-initiation stage needs to tie in with Tekes’ R&D “funding” (and LIKSA service stated herein) and, therefore, may adjust the profit-seeking orientation, thereby causing deviation in promotion of policies. The dispute over fairness of repeated subsidy/funding and rationality of resource allocation under the circumstance must be controlled by a separate evaluation management mechanism inevitably. 6. Affiliation with Enhancement of Regional Innovation Activities   Regional policies cannot be separable from innovation policies, especially in a country where human resources and natural resources are not plentiful or even. Therefore, balancing regional development policies and also integrating uneven resource distribution at the same time is indispensable to upgrading of the entire national social economic benefits. The Finnish experience indicated that innovation activities ought to play an important role in the regional development, and in order to integrate enterprises, the parties primarily engaged in innovation activities, with the R&D ability of regional academic research institutions to upgrade the R&D ability effectively, the relevant national policies must be defined for adequately arranging and launching necessary resources. Sitra's approaches to invest in starts-up, release shares after specific period, integrate the regional resources, upgrade the national innovation ability and boost the regional development might serve to be the reference for universities’ centers of innovative incubator or Taiwan’s local academic and scientific sectors[10] to improve their approaches.   For the time being, the organization engaged in venture capital investment in the form of fund in Taiwan like Sitra of Finland is National Development Fund, Executive Yuan. However, in terms of organizational framework, Sitra is under supervision of the Parliament directly, while National Development Fund is subordinated to the administrative system of Taiwan. Though Sitra and National Development Fund are both engaged in venture capital investments primarily, Sitra carries out its missions for the purpose of “promoting innovative activities”, while the National Development Fund is committed to achieve such diversified goals as “promoting economic changes and national development[11]” and is required to be adapted to various ministries’/departments’ policies. Despite the difference in the administrative systems of Taiwan and Finland, Sitra system is not necessarily applicable to Taiwan. Notwithstanding, Sitra’s experience in promotion and thought about the system might provide a different direction for Taiwan to think when it is conceiving the means and instruments for industrial innovation promotion policies in the future. [1] Bart Clarysse & Johan Bruneel, Nurturing and Growing Innovation Start-Ups: The Role of Policy As Integrator, R&D MANAGEMENT, 37(2), 139, 144-146 (2007). Clarysse & Bruneel analysis and comparison refers to Sweden Chalmers Innovation model, French Anvar/Banque de Developpement des PMEs model and Finland Sitra PreSeed Service model. [2] id. at 141-143. [3] id. at 141. [4] id. at 145-146. [5] id. at 143. [6] The loan to be repaid is not a concern. For example, the competent authority in Sweden only expects to recover one-fourths of the loan. [7] Clarysse & Bruneel, super note 26, at 147-148. [8] 彭錦鵬,〈英國政署之組織設計與運作成效〉,《歐美研究》,第30卷第3期,頁89-141。 [9] Technology foresight must work with the innovation policy road mapping (IPRM) interactively, and consolidate the forecast and evaluation of technology policy development routes. One study case about IPRM of the environmental sustainable development in the telecommunication industry in Finland, the IPRM may enhance the foresighted system and indicates the potential factors resulting in systematic failure. Please see Toni Ahlqvist, Ville Valovirta & Torsti Loikkanen, Innovation policy road mapping as a systemic instrument for forward-looking policy design, Science and Public Policy 39, 178-190 (2012). [10] 參見李昂杰,〈規範新訊:學界科專辦法及其法制配套之解析〉,《科技法律透析》,第23卷第8期,頁33(2011)。 [11] National Development Fund, Executive Yuan website, http://www.df.gov.tw/(tftgkz45150vye554wi44ret)/page-aa.aspx?Group_ID=1&Item_Title=%E8%A8%AD%E7%AB%8B%E5%AE%97%E6%97%A8#(Last visit on 2013/03/28)

Research on Policies for building a digital nation in Recent Years (2016-2017)

Research on Policies for building a digital nation in Recent Years (2016-2017)   Recent years, the government has already made some proactive actions, including some policies and initiatives, to enable development in the digital economy and fulfill the vision of Digital Nation. Those actions are as follows: 1. CREATING THE “FOOD CLOUD” FOR FOOD SAFETY CONTROLS   Government agencies have joined forces to create an integrated “food cloud” application that quickly alerts authorities to food safety risks and allows for faster tracing of products and ingredients. The effort to create the cloud was spearheaded by the Executive Yuan’s Office of Food Safety under the leadership of Vice Premier Chang San-cheng on January 12, 2016.   The “food cloud” application links five core systems (registration, tracing, reporting, testing, and inspection) from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) with eight systems from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Education (MOE), Council of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Administration.   The application gathers shares and analyzes information in a methodical and systematic manner by employing big data technology. To ensure the data can flow properly across different agencies, the Office of Food Safety came up with several products not intended for human consumption and had the MOHW simulate the flow of those products under import, sale and supply chain distribution scenarios. The interministerial interface successfully analyzed the data and generated lists of food risks to help investigators focus on suspicious companies.   Based on these simulation results, the MOHW on September 2, 2015, established a food and drug intelligence center as a mechanism for managing food safety risks and crises on the national level. The technologies for big data management and mega data analysis will enable authorities to better manage food sources and protect consumer health.   In addition, food cloud systems established by individual government agencies are producing early results. The MOE, for instance, rolled out a school food ingredient registration platform in 2014, and by 2015 had implemented the system across 22 countries and cities at 6,000 schools supplying lunches for 4.5 million students. This platform, which made school lunch ingredients completely transparent, received the 2015 eAsia Award as international recognition for the use of information technology in ensuring food safety. 2. REVISING DIGITAL CONVERGENCE ACTS   On 2016 May 5th, the Executive Yuan Council approved the National Communications Commission's (NCC) proposals, drafts of “Broadcasting Terrestrial and Channel Service Suppliers Administration Act”, “Multichannel Cable Platform Service Administration Act”, “Telecommunications Service Suppliers Act”, “Telecommunications Infrastructure and Resources Administration Act”, “Electronic Communications Act”, also the five digital convergence laws. They will be sent to the Legislature for deliberation. But in the end, this version of five digital convergence bills did not pass by the Legislature.   However, later on, November 16, 2017, The Executive Yuan approved the new drafts of “Digital Communication Act” and the “Telecommunication Service Management Act”.   The “Digital Communication Act” and the “Telecommunication Service Management Act” focused summaries as follows:   1. The digital communication bill   A. Public consultation and participation.   B. The digital communication service provider ought to use internet resource reasonability and reveal network traffic control measures.   C. The digital communication service provider ought to reveal business information and Terms of Service.   D. The responsibility of the digital communication service provider.   2. The telecommunication service management bill   A. The telecommunication service management bill change to use registration system.   B. The general obligation of telecommunications to provide telecommunication service and the special obligation of Specific telecommunications.   C. Investment, giving, receiving and merging rules of the telecommunication service.   Telecommunications are optimism of relaxing rules and regulations, and wish it would infuse new life and energy into the market. Premier Lai instructed the National Communications Commission and other agencies to elucidate the contents of the two communication bills to all sectors of society, and communicate closely with lawmakers of all parties to build support for a quick passage of the bills. 3. FOCUSING ON ICT SECURITY TO BUILD DIGITAL COUNTRIES   The development of ICT has brought convenience to life but often accompanied by the threat of illegal use, especially the crimes with the use of new technologies such as Internet techniques and has gradually become social security worries. Minor impacts may cause inconvenience to life while major impacts may lead to a breakdown of government functions and effects on national security. To enhance the capability of national security protection and to avoid the gap of national security, the Executive Yuan on August 1st 2016 has upgraded the Office of Information and Communication Security into the Agency of Information and Communication Security, a strategic center of R.O.C security work, integrating the mechanism of the whole government governance of information security, through specific responsibility, professionalism, designated persons and permanent organization to establish the security system, together with the relevant provisions of the law so that the country's information and communication security protection mechanism will become more complete. The efforts to the direction could be divided into three parts:   First, strengthening the cooperation of government and private sectors of information security: In a sound basis of legal system, the government plans to strengthen the government and some private sectors’ information security protection abilities ,continue to study and modify the relevant amendments to the relevant provisions, strengthen public-private collaborative mechanism, deepen the training of human resources and enhance the protection of key information infrastructure of our country.   Second, improving the information and communication security professional capability: information and communication security business is divided into policy and technical aspects. While the government takes the responsibility for policy planning and coordination, the technical service lies in an outsourcing way. Based on a sound legal system, the government will establish institutionalized and long-term operation modes and plan appropriate organizational structures through the discussion of experts and scholars from all walks of life.   Third, formulating Information and Communication Safety Management Act and planning of the Fifth National Development Program for Information and Communication Security: The government is now actively promoting the Information and Communication Safety Management Act as the cornerstone for the development of the national digital security and information security industry. The main content of the Act provides that the applicable authorities should set up security protection plan at the core of risk management and the procedures of notification and contingency measures, and accept the relevant administrative check. Besides the vision of the Fifth National Development Program for Information and Communication Security which the government is planning now is to build a safe and reliable digital economy and establish a safe information and communication environment by completing the legal system of information and communication security environment, constructing joint defense system of the national Information and Communication security, pushing up the self-energy of the industries of information security and nurture high-quality human resources for elite talents for information security. 4. THE DIGITAL NATION AND INNOVATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN   The Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan (2017-2025) known as “DIGI+” plan, approved by the Executive Yuan on November 24, 2016. The plan wants to grow nation’s digital economy to NT $ 6.5 trillion (US$205.9 billion), improve the digital lifestyle services penetration rate to 80 %, increase broadband connections to 2 Gbps, ensure citizens’ basic rights to have 25 Mbps broadband access, and put our nation among the top 10 information technology nations worldwide by 2025.   The plan contains several important development strategies: DIGI+ Infrastructure: Build infrastructure conducive to digital innovation. DIGI+ Talent: Cultivate digital innovation talent. DIGI+ Industry: Support cross-industry transformation through digital innovation. DIGI+ Rights: Make R.O.C. an advanced society that respects digital rights and supports open online communities. DIGI+ Cities: Build smart cities through cooperation among central and local governments and the industrial, academic and research sectors. DIGI+ Globalization: Boost nation’s standing in the global digital service economy.   The plan also highlights few efforts:   First is to enrich “soft” factors and workforce to create an innovative environment for digital development. To construct this environment, the government will construct an innovation-friendly legal framework, cultivate interdisciplinary digital talent, strengthen research and develop advanced digital technologies.   Second is to enhance digital economy development. The government will incentivize innovative applications and optimize the environment for digital commerce.   Third, the government will develop an open application programming interface for government data and create demand-oriented, one-stop smart government cloud services.   Fourth, the government will ensure broadband access for the disadvantaged and citizens of the rural area, implement the participatory process, enhance different kinds of international cooperation, and construct a comprehensive humanitarian legal framework with digital development.   Five is to build a sustainable smart country. The government will use smart network technology to build a better living environment, promote smart urban and rural area connective governance and construction and use on-site research and industries innovation ecosystem to assist local government plan and promote construction of the smart country.   In order to achieve the overall effectiveness of the DIGI + program, interdisciplinary, inter-ministerial, inter-departmental and inter-departmental efforts will be required to collaborate with the newly launched Digital National Innovation Economy (DIGI +) Promotion Team. 5. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH STRATEGY   The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) reported strategy plan for artificial intelligence (AI) scientific research at Cabinet meeting on August 24, 2017. Artificial intelligence is a powerful and inevitable trend, and it will be critical to R.O.C.’s competitiveness for the next 30 years.   The ministry will devote NT$16 billion over the next five years to building an AI innovation ecosystem in R.O.C. According to MOST, the plan will promote five strategies:   1. Creating an AI platform to provide R&D services   MOST will devote NT$5 billion over the next four years to build a platform, integrating the resources, providing a shared high-speed computing environment and nurturing emerging AI industries and applications.   2. Establishing an AI innovative research center   MOST will four artificial intelligence innovation research centers across R.O.C. as part of government efforts to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in AI technology. The centers will support the development of new AI in the realms of financial technology, smart manufacturing, smart healthcare and intelligent transportation systems.   3. Setting up AI robot maker spaces   An NT$2 billion, four-year project assisting industry to develop the hardware-software integration of robots and innovative applications was announced by the Ministry of Science and Technology.   4. Subsidizing a semiconductor “moonshot” program to explore ambitious and groundbreaking smart technologies   This program will invest NT$4 billion from 2018 through 2021 into developing semiconductors and chip systems for edge devices as well as integrating the academic sector’s R&D capabilities and resources. the project encompasses cognitive computing and AI processor chips; next-generation memory designs; process technologies and materials for key components of sensing devices; unmanned vehicles, AR and VR; IoT systems and security.   5. Organizing Formosa Grand Challenge competitions   The program is held in competitions to engage young people in the development of AI applications.   The government hopes to extend R.O.C.’s industrial advantages and bolster the country’s international competitiveness, giving R.O.C. the confidence to usher in the era of AI applications. All of these efforts will weave people, technologies, facilities, and businesses into a broader AI innovation ecosystem. 6. INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM PLANS   Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) launched plans to develop intelligent transportation systems at March 7th in 2017. MOTC integrates transportation and information and communications technology through these plans to improve the convenience and reduce the congestion of the transportation. These plans combine traffic management systems for highways, freeways and urban roads, a multi-lane free-flow electronic toll collection system, bus information system that provides timely integrated traffic information services, and public transportation fare card readers to reduce transport accidence losses, inconvenience of rural area, congestion of main traffic arteries and improve accessibility of public transportation.   There are six plans are included: 1. Intelligent transportation safety plan; 2. Relieve congestion on major traffic arteries; 3. Make transportation more convenient in Eastern Taiwan and remote areas; 4. Integrate and share transportation resources; 5. Develop “internet-of-vehicles” technology applications; and 6. Fundamental R&D for smart transportation technology.   These plans promote research and development of smart vehicles and safety intersections, develop timely bus and traffic information tracking system, build a safe system of shared, safe and green-energy smart system, and subsidize the large vehicles to install the vision enhancement cameras to improve the safety of transportation. These plans also use eTag readers, vehicle sensors and info communication technologies to gather the traffic information and provide timely traffic guidance, reduce the congestion of the traffic flow. These plans try to use demand-responsive transit system with some measures such as combine public transportation and taxi, to improve the flexibility of the public traffic service and help the basic transportation needs of residents in eastern Taiwan and rural areas to be fulfilled. A mobile transport service interface and a platform that integrating booking and payment processes are also expected to be established to provide door-to-door transportation services and to integrate transportation resources. And develop demonstration projects of speed coordination of passenger coach fleets, vehicle-road interaction technology, and self-driving car to investigate and verify the issues in technological, operational, industrial, legal environments of internet-of-vehicles applications in our country. Last but not least, research and development on signal control systems that can be used in both two and four-wheeled vehicles, and deploy an internet-of-vehicles prototype platform and develop drones traffic applications.   These plans are expected to reduce 25% traffic congestion, 20% of motor vehicle incidence, leverage 10% using rate of public transportation, raise 20% public transportation service accessibility of rural area and create NT$30 billion production value. After accomplishing these targets, the government can establish a comprehensive transportation system and guide industry development of relating technology areas.   Through the aforementioned initiatives, programs, and plans, the government wants to construct the robust legal framework and policy environment for digital innovation development, and facilitate the quality of citizens in our society.

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