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UT-Austin VP Jaffe Visits NTNU: Plans Future Collaboration in Astronomy

On March 28, 2024, NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu, along with Executive Vice President Y.-H. Frank Ying, Vice President of Research and Development Ying-Shao Hsu, and Vice President for International Affairs Yi-De Liu, hosted a visit from Daniel Jaffe, Vice President for Research at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin), to discuss academic collaboration across disciplines and institutions. While at NTNU, Jaffe also met with Deputy Director Yueh-Ning Lee and Assistant Professor Hung-Yi Pu from NTNU's Center of Astronomy and Gravitation to discuss potential partnerships in astronomical research and development.

Considered one of the eight “Public Ivy” universities in the U.S., UT-Austin ranked 52nd in the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. As a major academic and research center in the U.S., the university receives substantial federal support and boasts a notable alumni network, including NTNU President Wu, who earned his doctorate in Computer Science Education from UT-Austin.

Since the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities, four NTNU students have participate in exchange programs with UT-Austin. President Wu noted that, as a comprehensive university, NTNU has made consistent efforts to establish global partnerships. In addition to astronomical research at NTNU’s Center of Astronomy and Gravitation, other institutions within the National Taiwan University system also contribute expertise in areas such as electrical engineering and architecture, comprising a robust interdisciplinary academic collaboration network.

During discussions of potential areas for collaborative research, Vice President Liu suggested fields such as astronomy, data science, semiconductor technology, and social sciences. Vice President Jaffe, a former Department Chair of Astronomy at UT-Austin, expressed particular interested in NTNU's Center for Astronomy and Gravitation. In addition to elaborating on future opportunities for cooperation, Vice President Yin extended a personal invitation to Jaffe to showcase NTNU's hospitality and cultural heritage.

The meeting featured a focused dialogue on astronomy between UT-Austin's Jaffe and NTNU's Lee and Pu from NTNU’s Center of Astronomy and Gravitation, which, despite being established for only three years, is actively working toward interdisciplinary collaborations and promoting scientific education and research, notably in black hole studies.

The discussions underscored the mutual benefits of collaboration in astronomy and interdisciplinary research. Both Vice President Hsu of NTNU and Vice President Jaffe of UT-Austin emphasized the potential for significant advancements in space exploration through such collaborations, and expressed optimism about future partnerships, especially in astronomy.