New Zealand – Taiwan Symposium on Bio-nanotechnologies and MacDiarmid Institute BioNanoNetwork (BNN) Meeting

The joint New Zealand – Taiwan Symposium on Bionanotechnologies and the MacDiarmid Institute BioNanoNetwork (BNN) annual meeting was held in April 2010 in Wellington and in Christchurch, organized by Richard Tilley and Maan Alkaisi. The symposium was sponsored by the NZ Ministry of Research, Science & Technology, National Science Council, Taiwan and the MacDiarmid Institute BioNanoNetwork.

Dr Wen-Chang Chang, Deputy Minister of National Science Council, Taiwan, gave the opening remarks and Dr Wynn Ingram, General Manager Innovation Network, MoRST, opened the scientific programme.

The symposium was attended by more than 40 people from all over New Zealand and included oral presentations in Wellington and a workshop at Canterbury University. The Taiwanese delegates also visited the nanofabrication laboratories at Canterbury University.

This is the second meeting with Taiwanese researchers. At our first  symposium on bio-nanotechnologies, held in Taiwan in 2008, areas of common research interest were identified and this led to successful interactions with the Taiwanese. These were strengthened and advanced at the 2010 event. The government of Taiwan’s commitment to funding collaborative research programs was emphasised by the presence of the Deputy Minister of Science. The model envisaged would be for programmes jointly funded by New Zealand and Taiwanese funding agencies.

Richard Blaikie (CU) and Maan Alkaisi (CU) have already started work with researchers in Taiwan and Maan will visit Taiwan next month to follow-up some of this work. Richard Tilley (VUW) and Prof Dar-Bin Shieh, National Cheng Kung University, have established a collaboration on bio-applications of magnetic nanoparticles and Dr Peter Ferguson, a PhD student with Richard Tilley, spent a month last year in the lab of Professor Yeh of National Cheng Kung University, investigating magnetic nanoparticles for MRI contrast.

Taiwan science is well funded with access to state of the art instrumentation and able researchers. The ability of Taiwanese researchers to access end users and companies also makes collaboration with New Zealand highly opportune.