- ABOUT US
Yuan-Hsiang Lin received his undergraduate education at Taiwan Tech, and gained his Ph.D. in Department of Electrical Engineering (Biomedical Engineering Group) at National Taiwan University (2004). After a -five-year stint in the semiconductor industry (2004 – 2009), he entered the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at Taiwan Tech. Professor Lin has been awarded many prizes for his teaching and research, and is well-known in Taiwan for leading Taiwan teams in the Electronics category of the World Skills competition.
After your Ph.D. at National Taiwan University, you were working for Realtek Semiconductor Corp for five years. Why did you decide to give up on a career in industry and join Taiwan Tech as an assistant professor?
The first reason was a practical one: After almost five years, I had enough of commuting from Taipei to the Hsinchu Science Park where Realtek is located. The other reason was that I missed the academic environment. An academic career at Taiwan Tech offered a high degree of freedom, a good research environment and rich resources, which allowed me to improve my research skills for my future development. Furthermore, I could also enhance Taiwan’s technical skills through the skills competitions that I am guiding.
Your research interests are mainly in the field of biomedical engineering. Could you tell us a bit more about your research in this field?
I did my Ph.D. in this field which was still a rather “cold” research area at that time. Biomedical engineering is a very interdisciplinary field that involves the cooperation of different disciplines. My research is still in electronics and embedded systems, but over the last 15 years, the area has undergone enormous changes. While we were developing appliances for hospitals before, we are now working on individual health monitoring devices. After the wearables, the latest trend is now non-contact sensing devices to measure blood pressure, heart beat etc. Taiwan Tech doesn’t have a medical school, but we have built up a fruitful co-operation with the NTU hospital and other institutions, relying on personal and Taiwan Tech’s networks.
Governments worldwide are pushing for applied research, putting pressure on researchers to turn research findings into products as quickly as possible. How do you deal with this situation?
I basically agree with the idea that research should not only be done to publish academic papers, but lead to products that may improve our lives. But the tendency is now that professors have to fulfill both demands, applied research with quick commercial results plus academic research which is relevant for rankings. I am trying to juggle both demands, but this is hard. Still, Taiwan Tech provides a better environment for applied research than comprehensive universities, because Taiwan Tech does not only consider the publication of academic papers for promotion, but also successful projects with the industry.
In Taiwan, you are well known for leading the Taiwan team in the WorldSkills Competition (WSC) where your teams have won medals several times. What are the benefits for students joining this competition?
To prepare for the competition, participants have to undergo a rigorous training of ten months to upgrade their skills. No matter, if they will be successful at the competition or not, this training process will be very helpful for their future development. Also, success in the competition comes with many material incentives, such as a substantial cash-out. Apart from that, there is the sense of pride and achievement to represent Taiwan at an international competition.
You have participated in the WSC many times, first as a candidate, then as coach, and now as a WSC judge. What is your motivation for your engagement?
(laughing) I am definitely not doing it for material incentives…there is hardly any compensation for coaches. I do it out of a sense of responsibility, and to “give back”. I have had very dedicated teacher-coaches when I joined skill competitions as a competitor, and I would like to play the same role for young students now.
You have known Taiwan Tech for many years, as a student and as a professor of all career stages. What are the biggest changes that Taiwan Tech has gone through in the last twenty years?
Taiwan Tech has turned from a local technological institute into a truly internationalized institution. We have managed to recruit very strong international students, mostly from South-East Asia. Although advising international students does require more time and effort, mostly due to the language gap, I fully support this development. Local students are also benefitting from the international environment at Taiwan Tech.