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Innovating for a Sustainable World: Professor Wei-Nien Su's Contributions to Research and Technology Transfer

pWei-nien Su received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University in 1990, followed by an M.S. in Germany's University of Stuttgart from 1993 to 1998. Professor Su continued his education in the UK and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Loughborough between 1998 to 2002.His research fields include electro-catalysis for energy applications, energy storage materials, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, etc. Currently, Professor Su holds multiple positions at Taiwan Tech, including Director of Technology Transfer Center, Vice Dean of Research & Development, and Leader of the Research Group in Sustainable Research Development Centre.

You received your Master’s and your PhD education in Europe. How has this impacted your own work as a researcher/ academic?
Su: Studying in Europe has broadened my horizons in many ways. One thing that I consider as particularly important is my experiences abroad help me to understand the situation of international students at Taiwan Tech. Having been an international student myself, I know firsthand about the challenges that come with studying abroad, as well as the opportunities. This allows me to better support and mentor the international students in my lab. Also, exposure to the academic environments in Germany and in the UK has increased my understanding for international cooperation. I know that universities and research groups in other countries are working under different conditions and constraints, which is important when engaging in collaborative international research projects.

You are the leader of a research group in the Sustainable Research Development Centre. Could you please tell us about your current field of research?

Su: Our research group is currently focused on two main fields: battery research for energy storage, and electro-catalysis for energy generation. The common thread between these fields is that they both involve electro-chemical applications working with nano-materials. We are exploring the use of nano-materials to improve the performance of batteries. Additionally, we are working on new catalysts that could make the process of energy-generation more efficient and cost-effective. We collaborate closely with German scientists in the Libest2 -project this field. In addition, we are currently preparing for an interdisciplinary Sustainable Electrochemical Energy Research Proposal that will include researchers from the materials sciences and other fields from Taiwan Tech, other universities in Taiwan or even abroad. 

How strong is sustainability research at Taiwan Tech in general?
Su: The Sustainable Research Development Centre is a university level research centre, established more than 10 years ago. Currently, we have 50-60 students, ranging from Masters to postdoc, with 50% of our members being international students. But sustainability research is found in many other departments and research centers. For example, the Building Technology Centre, or in the Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments are working on power saving devices.

You are also the Director of the Technology Transfer Centre at Taiwan Tech. How did you become interested in this field?

Su: I became interested in this field quite a while ago and have since taken a number of professional training courses, becoming more and more aware of the importance of intellectual property issues for researchers. The Taiwan Tech Technology Transfer Centre is responsible for a variety of tasks related to IP. This includes conducting patent surveys and patentability assessments before starting a research project to ensure that the research is aligned with existing IP laws and regulations. In addition, the center works to raise awareness on IP and patent issues. It is essential for young researchers to be informed about patent protection, and the center aims to help faculty and students with patent applications, industrial cooperation, and copyright issues. We have currently six people working at the TTC, and we get legal expertise from a patent lawyer.

As a Vice-Dean of Research & Development, how are you envisioning the future of research at Taiwan Tech?
Su: One key area of focus is cooperation with industry partners. Taiwan Tech has a competitive edge in applied research, making it an ideal partner for companies seeking solutions to their challenges. By collaborating with the industry, Taiwan Tech can remain at the forefront of research and development, ensuring that its innovations meet real-world needs. Working with industry partners, is not limited to companies in Taiwan, on the contrary. Recently, a Slovakian-UK start-up has approached us for collaboration which highlights the university's dedication to seeking out new partnerships and working with partners from different parts of the world.


Professor Wei-Nian Su
Graduate Institute of Applied Science and Technology
Email: wsu@mail.ntust.edu.tw

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