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Inaugural Visit of KTH Royal Institute of Technology

KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) visited National Taiwan Normal University for the first time on 24 April. The three-person delegation consisted of Professor Urban Westergren, Director of International Relations for Greater China; Professor Yves Hsieh from the School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health; and Ms. Yingfang He, Assistant to the Vice President for Greater China.

KTH is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and 15th top university in Sweden. It is known as the cradle of Swedish engineers and the oldest and largest university of technology in Sweden with 13,000 students. The numerous notable alumni from KTH Royal Institute of Technology include Hannes Alfvén, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Lennart Carleson, winner of the 2006 Abel Prize. Dr. Urban Westergren said that for studying abroad in Asia, students in Sweden have expressed a clear desire to come to Taiwan, surpassing the demand for India, Indonesia, or China.

The delegates met with NTNU Professor Elise Li, Associate Vice President for International Affairs; Dr. Mark Lin, Associate Dean of the College of Technology and Engineering; and Dr. Yun-Cheng Tsai from the Department of Technology Application and Human Resource Development. The aim of this preliminary meeting is to start the dialogue regarding future cooperation between the two universities. Dr. Westergren shared his expectation for KTH and NTNU professors to lead the way with individual academic collaborations, which can then serve a solid anchor for further interactions between the two institutions.

KTH had spent a little over five years to reach a MOU with National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University; connections are also being forged with National Cheng Kung University and National Taiwan University. KTH is clearly working towards closer relationships with institutions of higher education in Taiwan, and the delegation revealed some of the challenges KTH must address along the way such as accounting for equivalent credit numbers across different university program systems. The lengthy period before reaching an agreement with NYCU is due in large part to such issues. As national universities in Taiwan generally employ similar academic metrics, Dr. Westergren reasoned, the experience that KTH have accrued so far in negotiating with Taiwan’s academic structures will enable future discussions with NTNU to progress at a much faster pace.

Professor Elise said, 'NTNU has the best language school in Taiwan, and it is a very good option for foreigners who want to study Chinese here.” Dr. Westergren responded, 'This is a good idea, and the rich EMI program at NTNU is the kind of learning environment our students are looking for.

NTNU and KTH plan to continue the conversation that this inaugural meeting has started. With hope, the two universities will develop long-term cooperation to bring about more resources for their respective teachers and students.