Modern Engineer and Technology
The Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar (METS) is the most historical and prestigious technology seminar hosted by both CIE/USA and CIE/ROC. The cooperation among engineers in USA and Taiwan successfully helped Taiwan in establishing infrastructure for industrialization and promoting industrial research and development for advanced technologies.
The Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar (METS) is the most historical and prestigious technology seminar hosted by both CIE-USA NC and CIE-ROC. The cooperation among engineers in USA and Taiwan successfully helped Taiwan in establishing infrastructure for industrialization and promoting industrial research and development for advanced technologies. Over the past 51 years (started in 1966), the METS has introduced many advanced technologies to Taiwan and set the stage for Taiwan’s microelectronics miracles. Taiwan has gradually evolved from an emerging industrialized country to a highly-skilled and knowledge-based economy. Also witnessed the open-minded, the elite experts from industry, government and research worked together for the development of Taiwan’s science and technology strategy, and helped laid a solid foundation that has provided the driving force for the continuous progress of Taiwan economy in recent decades.
In 1965, Kwoh-Ting Li (李國鼎), then Minister of Economy of Taiwan and a board member of CIE-ROC, communicated with Hua Fei (費驊), Deputy Minister of Transportation (交通部政務次長), that Taiwan had an immediate need for industry transformation. Taiwan needed to develop long-term viable economic growth solutions following the United States’ cessation of economic and technical assistance. Later that year during a business trip to the U.S., Hua Fei (費驊) reached out to former classmate Wen-Yuan Pan (潘文淵) about the urgent need for Taiwan’s industry transformation. At the time, Wen-Yuan Pan was the Director of Microwave Research, Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and a senior member of CIE-NY. After the initial contact between Hua Fei (費驊) and Wen-Yuan Pan (潘文淵), the CIE-NY and CIE-ROC co-founded the bi-annual METS, a two week-long seminar in Taipei where focused areas of interest were chosen from a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines which were of immediate interest or might be needed on a long-term basis in Taiwan.
The 1st METS, chaired by T. C. Tsao (趙曾珏) and Kwoh-Ting Li (李國鼎), took place in July 1966 and sixteen US experts were invited to attend. The experts came from four disciplines: Chemical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering; and visited Taiwan’s related industries and companies during the first week to understand and identify potential areas for improvement in Taiwan’s existing technology, engineering practices, and business processes. The following week, seminars and panel discussions with Taiwan’s engineers were held. The METS concluded the seminar with the final panel discussion and final report session during which recommendations were made to the industry leaders and Taiwan’s government.
Since the inception in 1966, the biannual METS has continued without interruption for half century. Its focus has gradually moved from introducing new ideas and establishing semi-conductor industry to Taiwan to a broadening exchange of new knowledge which may benefit or shape the future, and from one-way information flow to an international platform of scientific dialogue. The continuation of the METS is important for CIE-USA and CIE-ROC for several reasons.
In the last 10 years, METS attracted large numbers of audience in Taiwan with intensive, open conversation and discussion of ideas across the Pacific Ocean. Providing a forward-looking technology vision is the main mission of the METS. In addition, the METS also provides the platform and opportunities for CIE-USA members to go back to Taiwan starting a business or working in the industry. Many experts/speakers invited by CIE to METS got their first opportunity to closely encounter the Taiwan industry. While the general consensus in the 60s and 70s was that Taiwan needed to transform and develop its industry, yet among the milliards of options, they needed to decide which was the best for Taiwan. The proposal by METS Chair Pan Wen-Yuan (潘文淵) of introducing the electronic and semiconductor industry to Taiwan fixed the direction of the development, and paved the way for the prosperous economic outlook that followed, the most prominent example being that of Morris Chang (張忠謀).
In these modern times, even with the advent of the Internet, the experience and insights of experts through in-person encounters through METS will continue to be invaluable for both US and Taiwan experts and government officials alike.