Taiwan as a Pioneer (TAP) is an interdisciplinary and supra-regional postdoctoral joint project to promote structural strengthening and networking of Taiwan research in Sinology. The focus of the research is on Taiwan's role as an innovator in the dynamics of global megatrends. Over the next four years (02.2022 - 01.2026), the BMBF-funded, inter-institutional network between the universities of Trier, Tübingen and Ruhr-Universität Bochum will create intra- and interdisciplinary structures by means of which Taiwan research can be sustainably anchored in Germany as a center of science and scholarship.

The TAP postdoc team is made up of interdisciplinary researchers from political science, anthropology, literature and history, so that there is a connection to major disciplines. 

The team combines eight content-related elements and forms of mediation, which are aimed at dialogue both within the disciplines and with the public:

1. creation of an original subject network with annual conferences;
2. creation of a shared database accessible to the public;
3. individual studies on the respective research disciplines;
4. interdisciplinary synergetic overall analyses;
5. timely publication of research results in various formats;
6. production of a methods manual for China studies with a Taiwan focus;
7. provision of digital teaching modules;
8. designing a corresponding certificate program.

With this interdisciplinary approach, Taiwan studies should be institutionally strengthened and its visibility in the German research landscape increased.

Why the focus on Taiwan as a pioneer?

Taiwan is a political and social pioneer. This has become particularly clear in the successful containment of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 or in Taiwan's integrative language policy. Furthermore, Taiwan is Asia's pioneer in digitalization. Thanks to its world-leading IT industry, Taiwan has created both highly efficient channels within the administration to detect disinformation and election manipulation, as well as excellent cyber defenses. With the establishment of a digital ministry under Audrey Tang, new participatory and responsive forms of democracy have been created ("liquid democracy"). Finally, Taiwan is also breaking new ground in environmental policy in dialogue with civil society and in awareness of the current phenomena in the Anthropocene. Broad social participation is a salient aspect of coping strategies in dealing with global challenges. What institutional frameworks and social actors have enabled Taiwan to take such a pioneering role?

The current research on the historical, cultural and socio-political causes of Taiwan's pioneering role is, however, all too sparse. With the establishment at three university locations and the interdisciplinary research approach, the niche is to be expanded and the small subject of sinology is to be institutionally strengthened across universities and supraregional research cooperation with other disciplines is to be promoted.