At present, many countries in the world are slowing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, Taiwan continues to be one of the few that has successfully curbed the spread of the virus, all the while allowing its citizens to maintain their normal lives. Supporting the national effort, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) plays an indispensable role in strengthening Taiwan’s R&D capability on infectious diseases and strengthening the foundation of epidemic prevention for nearly two decades post SARS. To date, more than 150 labs and researchers in related fields were funded under MOST. Also working on the forefront, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), a leading university in Taiwan, has been one of the forerunners to enact rapid contingency plans and measures since the beginning of the outbreak.
Amid the ongoing development of the virus, MOST and NCKU jointly organized the 2020 NCKU International Virtual Forum on COVID-19 on Tuesday, April 21. The goal of the event was to create a platform for NCKU and its partners around the world to share their experiences, knowledge, and best practices on epidemic prevention.
Having effectively applied its research strengths in engineering and medicine, NCKU has been recognized in the region for its measures to prevent and respond to the virus. To demonstrate universities' shared responsibility to quell this outbreak and to share the best practices, the 2020 NCKU International Virtual Forum on COVID-19 (access the forum here) focused on several aspects: first, how universities have rapidly adopted measures to continue to educate their students, uninterrupted by shutdowns; second, how universities, government agencies, and communities can effectively work together to combat the spread of the virus; last but not least, how innovative research across such fields as big data, AI healthcare, rapid testing devices, and novel treatments have been applied in the response to COVID-19.
Given the objectives of the forum, NCKU has invited all of its local and global partners to join, including 104 member universities of the Presidents' Forum of Southeast Asia and Taiwan Universities (SATU), scholars and administrators from Stanford University (U.S.A.), the University of Cincinnati (U.S.A.), Masaryk University (Czech Republic), Technischen Universität Darmstadt (Germany), University of Bern (Switzerland), University of Tsukuba (Japan), SRM Institute of Science and Technology (India), Mahidol University (Thailand), and University of Malaya (Malaysia), among others. Altogether, online participation in the forum is expected to reach over 100 countries.
The virtual forum began at 9:30 a.m. Taiwan local time, and continued for nearly 12 hours to ensure that participants in different countries have the chance to join. Having garnered praise for its rapid responses to major events and its collaboration with the government in recent years, NCKU once again demonstrated how the university can apply its research strengths to improve the well-being and the advancement of our society.