The National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) is a non-profit foundation established by the government with its organization charter created by an Act of Congress (Legislative Yuan) and signed in 1995 by President Teng-hui Lee. Being an autonomous research organization under the supervision of the Department of Health, Executive Yuan, the NHRI is dedicated to the enhancement of medical research and the improvement of health care in this country.
Scientists at the NHRI conduct mission-oriented medical research and investigate many aspects of the basic biomedical sciences, as well as specific diseases. These range from the common problems such as aging, cancer, infectious diseases, mental disorders, occupational diseases, to health policy. It is our hope that the knowledge, experience, and facilities at the NHRI will become important resources to the whole nation in understanding, preventing, and curing diseases.
The NHRI has been established to serve the following purposes:
- To plan the overall directions of national science and technology development in health and medical care;
- To coordinate, integrate, and support research activities undertaken by medical institutions in this country;
- To further educate and train young scientists and physicians;
- To establish an objective and fair system for reviewing and assessing research projects and their progress;
- To facilitate the exchange of information and to promote domestic and international cooperation.
It is anticipated that both public and private sector efforts of the NHRI will help achieve excellence in medical research in Taiwan.
Important Events in Chronological Order Time Important Events
- July 1988 At the meeting of Academia Sinica all members unanimously proposed to establish a National Medical Research Center.
- March 1990 At the National Health Administration meeting it was proposed to establish the National Health Research Institutes(NHRI).
- January 1991 At the 4th National Science and Technology Conference it was proposed to plan and establish the NHRI.
- February 1991 At the Conference of Deans of National Medical Colleges and Superintendents of Teaching Hospitals it was again unanimously proposed to establish the NHRI, in the format of a non-profit organization.
- January 1995 The bill to establish the NHRI was passed in the Legislative Yuan.
- February 1995 The Act of Congress was signed by President Teng-hui Lee.
- January 1996 The NHRI was established.
Since its establishment in January 1996, the NHRI receives its founding funds mainly from the government and its operating funds from both public and private sectors. To use these investments wisely the NHRI distributes the funds to support research in public and private institutions throughout the country and conducts research in its research divisions.
To secure the NHRI's effectiveness and assure future success the NHRI has focused on several major, mission-oriented target areas of research. Based on these target areas the NHRI sets up research units to conduct state-of-the-art medical research, including:
- National Institute of Cancer Research
- Institute of Cellular and System Medicine
- Division of Aging-Related Musculoskeletal Diseases
- Division of Cardiovascular and Metabolism Medicine
- Division of Regenerative Medicine
- Institute of Population Sciences
- Center for Health Policy Research & Development
- Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
- Division of Gerontology Research
- Division of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Research
- Institute of Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Research
- National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
- Division of Environmental Health & Occupational Medicine
- Division of Medical Engineering Research
- Division of Molecular & Genomic Medicine
- Center for Nanomedicine Research
The NHRI sets up core facilities such as Cell Bank, Digital Library and Bioinformatics, to meet the needs of intramural research programs and to provide services to medical centers and research institutions. Research resources at the NHRI are listed as follows:
- National Health Insurance Research Database (in Chinese)
- Cell Bank (in Chinese)
- Health Research Information Network (HINT) (in Chinese)
- Bioinformatics (Gene Bank, GDB, Swiss-prot, ExPSAY, GCG)
Education and Training Programs
The training of the next generations of medical scientists in Taiwan is an important goal of the NHRI. Training programs range from sub-specialty training for physicians, predoctoral and postdoctoral training, to summer student research training. Success in education and training is the ultimate requirement for medical sciences to flourish in this country in the future and to establish Taiwan as a center of first-class medical research. Education and Training Programs are listed as follows:
- Medical, Surgical, & Gynecological Oncology Training Programs
- Infectious Diseases Training Programs
- NHRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards
- Postdoctoral Training Programs
- M.D. / Ph.D. Training Programs
- Physician Scientist Awards
- Summer Program for Undergraduates (Biological Science Related)
Cooperation & Collaboration
There are several collaborative research projects between the NHRI and medical centers and hospitals. Meanwhile, the NHRI provides opportunities for foreign scientists to train and conduct collaborative research at the NHRI. Currently, the NHRI attains close cooperation and collaboration with the following institutions:
- Academia Sinica
- Industrial Technology Research Institute
- INSERM, France
- Institute for Biotechnology at Medicine Industry
- Kaohsiung Medical University
- National Cheng Kung University
- National Chiao Tung University
- National Defense Medical Center
- National Institutes of Health, USA
- National Taiwan University Medical College
- National Tsing Hua University
- National Yang Ming University
- National Science Council
- Tzu Chi University
- Veterans General Hospital-Taipei
The NHRI also encourages collaboration on grant/contract basis with research institutions to jointly promote research that is important, urgently needed, and feasible to succeed within a short period of time. The Department of Research Planning and Development plays important roles in handling research activities and in funding outstanding researchers.
The Department of Research Planning and Development integrates the nationwide research programs related to the specific research goals of the NHRI and is responsible for assembling domestic scholars and scientists in the same field and conducting symposiums in order to reach consensus about the current development of that field and the needs for contract research in specific areas. The purpose of establishing Contract Research Projects is to bridge the scientific expertise between the research units of the NHRI and the domestic scientific community for mutual interests with an expectation to achieve goals in a joint effort.
The Department has continuously and actively organized international and domestic academic activities to provide the prospects of novel research, and to promote communication and cooperation among research communities. The advancement of knowledge and the formation of multi-disciplines team work will be the determinants for developing state-of-the art biomedical research of the 21st century. Since fiscal year 1996, this department has provided a series of academic activities to present and integrate the research grants' progress and results, and to improve the biomedical research environment, these activities include:
- NHRI Conferences
- NHRI Education Series
- Lecture Series
The NHRI's collaborative efforts with other institutions promise to contribute to the development of medical research in this country to attain world-class excellence.