NCKU Signs Agreement with Taiwan Nitride Material for Production of Aluminum Nitride

Prof. Hwung-Hweng Hwung, the Senior Executive Vice President of National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) - Taiwan, on behalf of NCKU, signed a joint venture agreement with a privately owned Taiwan Nitride Material Inc. led by its chairman Mr. H.H. Chang, for the production of aluminum nitride (AlN). Both parties agreed to invest a total of NT$ 30 million (US$ 932,000) for research and development of AlN, a semiconductor material widely used for heat radiation and insulation in microelectronics and optoelectronics.

NCKU will have a share right of 18% resulting from technique transfer and expects to have a revenue of at least NT$ 100 million (US$ 3.1 million) over the next ten years. The AlN production technique was developed by Prof. Shyan-Lung Chung of the NCKU Department of Chemical Engineering under the support from National Science Council (NSC) with an umbrella project, “A Study of Interdisciplinary Platform for New Technology Commercialization, Academic-Enterprise Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship”, supervised by the principal investigator - NCKU SEVP Hwung-Hweng Hwung. This agreement is the first joint venture in aluminum nitride production in Taiwan and certainly created a new way of the commercialization in the cross field of new technologies.

The academia-industry collaboration is essential to promote industrial development and innovation of our society. However, most universities in Taiwan emphasized the mode of academia-industry collaboration in technology transfer in the past few years, which often leads to a failure since no continuous R&D creation has been put in from university. However, the new mode of academia-industry collaboration has been reflected on the NSC-sponsored project, “A Study of Interdisciplinary Platform for New Technology Commercialization, Academic-Enterprise Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship”, led by NCKU SEVP Hwung. This new mode is to establish technical, marketing, producing and financial analysis actively, to recruit the employees with competence and to raise enough capital to realize creative and technical commercialization. That is, academia and industry will be close partners even after signing the agreement and finishing technology transfer. Prof. Hwung also expects to make public announcement soon on another joint venture, under this project, in production of aquaculture oral bacterial vaccine formulations and copper resources recycling industry for the next 6 months.

“I have a wish. I hope to develop a product at my homeland to strengthen the international competitiveness of local industry of my homeland. Now it is the time for our earth with an emphasis in energy conservation and less carbon emission. Light emitting diode (LED) provides a right solution to it. That is, LED lighting is replacing iridescent bulbs. However, the life of LED is still of grave concern resulted from overheating of the device. I really appreciated the effort done by Prof. Shyan-Lung Chung on development of AlN products that could solve this problem,” said Mr. Chang, chairman of Taiwan Nitride Material Inc.

“In addition, Taiwan is known for its volume production of LED. The coverage and luminescence intensity in LED lighting is increasing, and backlight modules for LCD displays, made by LED, is prevailing. Moreover, AlN just solved the problem in heat dissipation, frequently encountered in LED devices and the main cause of failure to such devices, especially in lighting and large-size TV with higher energy efficiency and less carbon emission. It also helps enhance the competitive advantage of Taiwan's high-power LED lighting, such as street lamps and backlight module industry. I hope this is a beginning for us as becoming NCKU’s strategic partners, and there will be more collaborative opportunities with each other in the future,” said Mr. Chang, chairman of Taiwan Nitride Material Inc.

Prof. SL Chung from NCKU Chemical Engineering Department has been dedicated to researches on AlN for so many years. Prof. Chung has developed different techniques, for example, sintering and composite materials, in efficient production of AlN. There have been a number of manufacturers in close cooperation with Prof. Chung’s laboratory in order to develop or to commission test in AlN downstream products. AlN products are becoming more and more popular, as its production cost is reduced with these innovative inventions by Prof. SL Chung. Even more, these innovative inventions have been protected under various issued patents and expect to generate high revenue.

It is worth to say that this cooperation project in the case of cross-cooperation model for the first time from technology development, technology transfer to technology commercialization, and mass production is done by the same research team. It can promote the continuous technological development and continuous mass production and product testing by the newly-established company to shorten the technology development schedule, but also to ensure that technology development is suitable for the demand of business industry and customers.

About the project: A Study of Interdisciplinary Platform for New Technology Commercialization, Academic-Enterprise Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship

The main objective of this project, “A Study of Interdisciplinary Platform for New Technology Commercialization, Academic-Enterprise Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship”, led by NCKU SEVP Hwung is to integrate the related sources of academia-industry, including the NCKU Research and Service Headquarter (RSH) and the NCKU Technology Licensing and Business Incubation Center (TLBIC). They also integrated six innovative sub-projects to cooperate with industry actively and to drive incubation of novel invention, to give balance of capital and innovative group planning and to establish a new company to realize the commercialization of creative technology. These six project are “aquaculture oral bacterial vaccine formulations research sub-research project”, “health development of Chinese herbal medicine research project”, “copper loop resource industries sub-research project”, “biosurfactant products sub-research project”, “aluminum nitride production and development of innovative technologies sub-research project” and “aluminum nitride electrical substrates metallization sub-research project”.

Innovative technological commercialization platform is aimed to establish a new company from technological development to innovative incubation as a series of service differed from the past academic innovation which is follow-up the industry market development and operational management by technology transfer. However, it is easy to break down the project due to technical fail-embracing in promoting the process of convergence.

The technological value evaluation of innovative technologies in sub-projects of “A Study of Interdisciplinary Platform for New Technology Commercialization, Academic-Enterprise Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship” will come with a relevant market demand, marketing and manufacturing feasibility and cost-benefit assessment. They will invite manufacturers to participate closely, to send technical members with the evaluation of various innovative technologies in the process developmental feasibility and the technology in mass production of the prototype deve

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