For Prospective/New Members at the Institutes of Mathematics, Academia Sinica

Overview


  • Academia Sinica is the national academy and the leading research institution of Taiwan. The Institute of Mathematics of Academia Sinica is located in the main campus of the National Taiwan University in the center of Taipei City. It is close to attractions such as the CKS memorial Hall, national concert hall, national theater, Longshan temple, Da-an forest park...etc
  • What's the COVID situation now in Taiwan?
    As of Nov 21, 2020, there are 611 cases and 7 deaths in Taiwan. The infection rate is extremely low given that the population of Taiwan is approximately 23.8 million. Please check here for the latest numbers.
    • A 14-day quarantine is required for people entering the country.
    • Public transportation is fully operational. Masks are required all the time.
    • Restaurants are open for dine-in. Sports events, concerts, gatherings are still happening under appropriate regulations.

Policies


  • What are the caps and regulations on business travel, bringing in visitors/collaborators, and holding conferences?
    There are no hard caps regarding travel money, which includes expenses attending and holding conferences, bringing in collaborators/visitors, as long as the proposal/application is approved by the corresponding committee or director.
  • How often do you have to be in your office?
    There is no requirement at all.
  • What's the tenure/retirement system in the institute?
    The terms of employment of research fellows of Academia Sinica are stipulated as follows:
    • The initial term of employment for Assistant Research Fellows is 5 years. Those who have passed the employment review procedures carried out before the completion of their initial term of employment shall be re-employed for a term of 3 years. Those who were unable to be promoted before the completion of the term of employment shall not be granted re-employment. Candidates under review for promotion to associate research fellows with particularly outstanding review outcome may be given tenured appointment of up to 65 years of age upon recommendation by the director and approval by the President of Academia Sinica.
      When Assistant Research Fellows who have been newly appointed since August 1, 2012 pass the employment review procedures to obtain a promotion will also receive tenured appointment of up to 65 years of age.
    • The initial and second terms of employment for associate research fellows are five years each. The third term of employment and each term thereafter is 3 years. Review procedures for re-employment shall be carried out according to the Employment Review Guidelines prior to the completion of each term of employment. However, exceptionally qualified candidates for initial or renewed employment with outstanding review outcome or those who have already obtained tenured appointment at another academic research institution may be recommended by the director to the President of Academia Sinica for tenured appointment until age 65.
      Associate research fellows who have been newly appointed since August 1, 2012 shall pass the employment review procedures to obtain a promotion or tenured appointment within 5 years of the first term of employment. Those who pass the employment review procedures will obtain tenured appointment of up to 65 years of age. Those who are unable to pass the employment review procedures shall not be granted re-employment.
    • The term of employment of Research Fellows of Academia Sinica is until 65 years of age.
  • How does the pension system works in Taiwan?
    It is a defined benefit scheme with a contribution rate of 13% - 18%. The employees pay a 35% share, while the government and employers cover the remaining 65%. Benefits are paid as a lump sum upon retirement for foreign faculty members; while Taiwanese faculty members have additional choices to either receive a monthly allowance or a 50-50 combination.

Enviroment


  • The institutes is located in the Astro-Math building in the main campus of the National Taiwan University (NTU). We are sharing this spacious 14-storey building with the Math Department of NTU, the math library operated jointly by the Academia Sinica and NTU, and other institute/departments from both affiliations.
  • The facilities in the institute include a lounge, shared refrigerators, coffee machines (free of charge), shower rooms, scanners and printers.

  • The Astro-Math building is next to the NTU's famous attraction, Drunken Moon Lake.
  • In front of the Astro-Math building there is a station for YouBike 2.0, which is a bike sharing system for the NTU area and the surroundings.

    You can rent it using an EasyCard or its official app. Please be adviced that the 2.0 version is more or less for intramural commuting, and they can not be returned to the YouBike 1.0 stations. The 1.0 model is employed throughout the country, instead.

    The stations for both YouBike systems near the institute are:

  • Where are the quick bites nearby the institute?
    As shown in the picture below, the closest dine-in place is the JM Cafe & Bistro (located in B1F of Cosmology Building) with a 150 TWD lunch special. Next to Drunken Moon Lake, there is a very popular yakiniku bento box takeout (~100 TWD). Slightly farther, there are many options in Xiao Fu (小福) Commissary and 9th Women's Dorm Restaurant. If you are feeling adventrous, you may want to explore over a hundred of options in the Lane 118 area and those ones in the lanes of ShinSheng South Road. There are also plenty of convenience stores nearby.

Pay Structure


  • The annual salary for postdoctral positions are fixed:
    • 3-year Postdocs: Approx. 0.8 million TWD
    • 5-year Institute Research Scholars: Approx. 1 million TWD
  • For faculty members, the average annual base salaries are:
    • Assistant Research Fellow: 1.1 million TWD
    • Associate Research Fellow: 1.3 million TWD
    • Research Fellow: 1.5 million TWD
  • Potential salary enhancements for faculty members include but are not limited to the following:
    • A yearly performance bonus of up to 3 additional monthly base salary.
    • For the first two years, a new faculty member may receive a startup bonus equivalent of up to 40% of his/her annual base salary.
    • A 15k TWD monthly stipend from research grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) subject to approval by the ministry.
    • An award of 400k - 500k TWD from the Foundation of the Advancement of Outstanding Scholarship (FAOS) for three years. Candidates need to apply for this award and awardees are selected through a national competitive process.
    • A salary-matching stipend from the FAOS of 400k TWD annually for up to five years; or a rank-depending stipend from the MoST of either 360k, 720k, or 1.08 million TWD annually, for up to three years. Note that these two awards are mutually exclusive and both are also subject to a competitive national application process.

Accommodation


  • Do you provide housing on campus?
    Yes (for tenure-track members), the Academia Sinica provide dorms at a discounted rate at various locations. Most of them are near the main campus, but there are two apartments near the NTU campus. The initial term is up to 6 years and is extendable. The monthly rent (including admistration fee) is about 1/3 of the market price. Below are some sample floor plans for a 1-bedroom (676 sqft), 2-bedroom (782 sqft) and a 3-bedroom (1031 sqft) unit. Please be advised that postdocs are not eligible to apply for dorms.
  • Are there child care or child care funds available?
    Academia Sinica has been working on a daycare center, whose Building Use Permit was obtained by August 2020. Structural reinforcement and reparation work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. It will enroll 35 children by the end of 2021.

    For existing child care resources, please check here (Chinese only).

Living in Taipei


  • Health Insurance
    Taiwan is known for its comprehensive and very affordable health care system covered by its national health insurance, which includes eye and dental care. The monthly cost for foreign employees at the institute is 30 - 60 USD.
  • Income Tax
    The income tax rate for foreign employees is 18%; however, you will be eligible for the same tax benefits and deductions of a Taiwanese citizen if you stay in Taiwan for more than 183 days in that calendar year. The adjusted rate will fall into the range from 12% to 18%.
  • Cost of Living
    Taipei enjoys a rather affordable cost of living as a metropolis. Below are some examples:
  • Crime Rates
    Taipei has an extremely low crime rate. As of 2020, it is ranked the 3rd safest city in the world, according to numbeo.com.
  • What kind of payments work in Taiwan?
    Cash is still favored over credit cards and mobile wallets. Visa and Mastercards are usually accepted; while American Express, Discover, JCB are less popular.
  • Do I need adapters?
    Taiwan operates on a 110V supply voltage and 60Hz. There are two associated plug types as below:
  • What's the weather like in Taipei?
    In short, it's hot and rainy. Remeber to stay hydrated in summer and prepare an umbralla all year long! Below are some graphs drawn from weatherspark.com:
  • Do you need to get a car? How is public transportation like in Taipei?
    It's not neccessary to get a car when living in Taipei. You can easily get around on metro, buses, taxis, scooters or bikes.
    Metro: It is fast, clean and affordable. Trains come every 2~4 minutes during rush hours. No food and drink are allowed onboard. One-way fares are between 20 TWD and 65 TWD. Various travel passes are also available. The routes are depicted below:

    Buses: There are hundreds of routes across the city, and they have been incoporated nicely in Google Maps to plan your trip. The fare is a multiple of 15 TWD based on the distance traveled.
    Taxis: The city taxis (yellow cab) are ubiquitous and is easy hailing one on the fly. It is also possible to reserve one by calling 55688 or via an app. A tip is not expected at all. Uber is also available in Taiwan; while Lyft has not set foot here.
  • What are the regulations regarding commuting in bicycles?
    It is technically illegal to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk, pedestrian crosswalk, or in a park. You may not use your cellphone while cycling. Do park in designated areas. It is required to have front and rear lights and reflectors on your bicycle.
  • What is an EasyCard(悠遊卡)/ipass(一卡通)?
    They are contactless prepaid smartcards that can be used for the metro, buses, ferries, YouBikes, and even taxis. In general, they can be purchased at the airports, metro stations and convenience stores at a standard fare of TWD 100. As a faculty memeber, you will receive an NTU id card that can be used as an EasyCard for free.

    EasyCards/ipasses can be topped-up in metro stations and in convenience stores, but not on buses. Unused amount can be refunded at the metro stations.
  • Are tap water potable?
    Taipei Water claims 99.95% of tap water is potable. It is drinkable when it is freshly released from treatment plants. The 0.5% results from possible contamination after delivery to the home. Many people boil tap water to sterilize and eliminate the chlorine before use.
  • Convenience Stores
    In many countries, Convenience Stores are just a truck-stop repository for slushies and cigarettes, but those in Taiwan (7-11, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, and OK Mart) are one-stop-shops for anything you'll need in a 24-hour period. You can buy designated garbage bags, pay for utility bills, concert tickets or parking tickets at the counter, and even get online shopping packages delivered.
  • Grocery Stores
    Here are a few grocery stores/supermarkets you can find in Taipei City: Carrefour, Costco, RT-Mart (大潤發), PXmart(全聯福利中心), Wellcome Supermarket (頂好超市)

    Below are some pictures of an RT-mart just for the reference:
  • Know the Recyclables
    Except for Wednesdays and Sundays, music-singing garbage trucks patrol the Taipei City to collect trash and recyclables. General trash must be packed using those designated garbage bags purchased say in convenience stores. A detailed guide for recyclables can be found here.
  • Emergency Assistance Contact the police by calling 110. Call 119 for a medical emergency. Also call 119 to contact the fire department.

Culture


  • Language Barrier
    Although English is a mandatory subject throughout the education system, please be adviced that many Taiwanese have limited chance to practice their English in everyday life. In general, young people and students are the easier ones to communicate with in English. It's just that you may need to speak slow enough.
  • Watch out for Scooters
    Scooters are everywhere! As of 2020 there are about 14 million scooters registered in Taiwan while the population is about 24 million. The traffic in the cities could be a little intimidating for foreigners. Unfortunately, scooter drivers tend to believe that they have the rights of way all the time (even when they don't), so keep an eye on them!
  • Tipping
    Except for bellhops and service personnel in International Hotels, tipping in Taiwan is generally not expected. In some restaurants there could be a 10% service fee added directly to your check.
  • Chopsticks Etiquette
    Don't stick your chopsticks into rice - it is regarded as food left for the dead and is only done at funerals.