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NTNU’s Steady Transition from the Classroom to the Cutting Edge

Some may have been surprised to see the NTNU emblem—featuring six scholastic bells arranged in a circle, symbolizing whole-person education—among the logos of leading tech companies on the backdrop behind Nvidia founder Jensen Huang's keynote speech at COMPUTEX 2024 earlier this month.

Why was a former teachers college included among Taiwan's tech giants? This curiosity highlights NTNU's steady transformation over the past three decades into a robust comprehensive university. To help students transition from education to the workplace, NTNU collaborates with leading companies, including Nvidia, TSMC, and Gigabyte, aiming to cultivate talents equipped for the challenges of the AI era.

'In today's world, where human problems are increasingly complex, no single discipline can provide all the answers,' said NTNU President Cheng-Chi Wu. 'What we need are individuals who can cross disciplinary boundaries and innovate. At NTNU, we aim to establish strong collaborative mechanisms between academia and industry, injecting new vitality and momentum into the technological development of the next generation.'

As artificial intelligence spreads across various fields, the barriers between subject areas are becoming less distinct. Coupled with the social changes of globalization, interdisciplinary learning has become essential. Therefore, NTNU actively collaborates with enterprises and academia, extending education beyond the classroom and helping students adapt and solve real-world problems with knowledge beyond textbooks.

In 2023, then-Taiwan President Ing-wen Tsai, NTNU President Wu, and partner companies jointly unveiled the College of Industry-Academia Innovation (CIAI) at NTNU. This new college encompasses the Institute of AI Interdisciplinary Applied Technology and the Institute of Green Energy and Sustainable Technology. By consolidating faculty and teaching resources and aligning them with market trends and enterprises' research and development needs, the college promotes interdisciplinary innovation and academia-industry integration, ensuring the practical application of learning and transferring R&D results to industry.

For example, the Nvidia Studio x GIGABYTE Collaboration Space, established by NTNU, Nvidia, and GIGABYTE, features an optical motion capture camera and a virtual reality dynamic real-time tracking visual preview system. Integrated with Nvidia's Studio platform, it enables dynamic dance movements to be digitized and performed in the metaverse, facilitating remote artistic collaboration.

Riding the AI wave, CIAI collaborates with 12 technology manufacturers such as Trend Micro, AU Optronics, Leadtek Technology, and Realtek Semiconductor. They focus on developing smart display technology, Metaverse 3D display, image display intelligence, manufacturing automation, and smart information security. By pooling the capabilities of industry, government, and academia, they accelerate the development of new AIoT application services for the global market.

Engaging with the corporate world helps to bridge the gap between students and the workplace. Students gain practical experience and operational skills, and learn to adjust their mindset and communication skills for professional environments. College of Management Dean Yung-Cheng Shen emphasized that the internship system, implemented since the department's inception, fosters good work habits and professional ethics, preparing students for the workplace.

NTNU Career Center Chief Executive Officer Sarah Wang advises students to research target companies or industries to understand their talent requirements. Internships provide practical experience, highlight the gap between career expectations and reality, and develop problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and coordination skills valued by industry.

Recently, NTNU has relaxed standards for double majors and minors, established interdisciplinary credit courses, and integrated different departments. Semiconductor courses offered jointly with TSMC include new university-level courses in technological teaching, metaverse narrative, scientific computing, and ESG sustainable management. These courses are relevant to the workplace and provide professional certification upon completion.

To maximize flexibility, NTNU has also implemented a 16-week semester system and expanded summer teaching, offering nearly 60 8-week courses across various fields of study with exemption from credit fees, making learning more accessible.