[Interview] TSMC’s “Six Knights of R&D” Lin Benjian: It is a good thing for engineers to go to the United States for training, and there is no need to go to the “brain drain”

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(Central News Agency) The investment in TSMC’s Arizona factory in the United States has caused concerns about brain drain. Lin Benjian, the deputy general manager of TSMC R&D and the current dean of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Semiconductors, said in an exclusive interview with Central News Agency that TSMC engineers chartered flights to the United States. “Brain drain” is actually “a good thing”.

In order to allow TSMC’s Arizona factory to operate smoothly, TSMC chartered flights to the United States with engineers and their families as early as November, with nearly a thousand people coming and going. TSMC’s “family relocation” is huge. The outside world is worried that when the top talents go to the United States, and the foundation of the National Protector Mountain is hollowed out, will Taiwan’s competitiveness be lost?

  • Engineers stepping out of Taiwan, Lin Benjian: Expatriate experience can be closer to customers

Lin Benjian has a high status in TSMC. After joining TSMC in 2000, he developed the 193nm immersion lithography technology in 2002, allowing TSMC to leapfrog six technology generations and become a world leader.

As one of the promoters of TSMC’s Great Leap Forward, Lin Benjian, former senior R&D directors Liang Mengsong and Yang Guanglei, former chief operating officer Jiang Shangyi, former chief technology officer Sun Yuancheng, and former deputy general manager of R&D Yu Zhenhua, are known as TSMC’s “R&D six knight”.

Looking back on Lin Benjian’s career, he studied in the United States, studied for a Ph. “Return” talent.

Therefore, Lin Benjian believes that talents should not be limited to Taiwan. If you have the opportunity to be sent abroad, you can learn about different ways of doing things abroad, and the collision of thinking will create new sparks, which will add value to work experience.

“There are many different opportunities in foreign countries. It is a good thing to know how to deal with foreign situations.” Lin Benjian said frankly that TSMC’s customers are scattered all over the world. If technicians have the opportunity to go abroad, they can get in touch with local customs and get closer to customers. , This is experience and opportunity.

In addition, for young people, entering TSMC to work and having the opportunity to be sent overseas in the future may be more attractive and help attract talents. “It depends on how the people above use these opportunities.”

However, Lin Benjian believes that there are not so many engineers from TSMC going to the United States this time, and the main research and development force is still in Hsinchu. Moreover, “it is not the first time that people have gone out, it has happened many times.”

As early as 1996, TSMC established an 8-inch factory in Washington State, the United States, and later set up a 12-inch factory in Nanjing, China. In recent years, it has successively set up factories in the United States and Japan.

From the perspective of business operations, Lin Benjian analyzed that many of TSMC’s customers are in the United States and invest in setting up factories in the United States. On the one hand, it responds to the US government’s demand for “localization of the supply chain.” On the other hand, customers can also feel more at ease when placing orders. , because TSMC’s actions are in line with the government’s expectations, and “it is also very good for their patriotism.”

  • Strengthening the foundation of semiconductor talents, Lin Ben insisted on getting through the two bottlenecks

Lin Benjian does not think that TSMC engineers charter a flight to the United States, which needs to be promoted to the level of “brain drain”, but he is worried about the shortage of semiconductor talents in Taiwan. This is also because he is 80 years old and still agrees to serve as the dean of the School of Semiconductors at Tsinghua University. The reason why Taiwan Semiconductor is responsible for cultivating “living talents”.

In terms of semiconductor education, Lin Benjian believes that “three talents should be advanced side by side”. In addition to “specialists” who can delve into advanced knowledge in specific fields, “generalists” who have broad vision and general knowledge of semiconductors and can communicate and cooperate with professionals in multiple fields, and “Living talents” with the ability to continuously solve new problems and open up new fields of creativity are the key to being ahead of competitors.

Lin Benjian said that at the beginning of the semester, in addition to communicating with teachers, he will also tell students the concept of “live talent”, hoping that everyone will move in this direction, “This is not my business alone.”

To allow students to realize their potential, the role of professors as “leaders” is crucial. However, Lin Benjian lamented that “the school has no way to deal with the brain drain.” Taiwan’s research talents are poached, but Taiwan wants to poach others, whether it is not limited by salary or regulations, it is quite difficult.

Lin Benjian was invited to give a speech at a forum held by the Institute of Economics of the Academia Sinica a few days ago. At that time, he pointed out that Taiwan’s employment of outstanding foreign professors is “very unfavorable.” If the other party has no other considerations, such as parents living in Taiwan, don’t say the United States. It is not easy for Singapore and Singapore to compete, “they are treated much better than us.”

Although the government has introduced industry-university cooperation and talent cultivation and innovation regulations in key national fields, and loosened salary regulations, Lin Benjian said that this can give better remuneration, but it also creates many problems. Some outstanding domestic professors have outstanding qualifications at the academician level. Choosing to stay in Taiwan and work hard, “Then do you want to raise his salary to international standards immediately?” If you don’t do this, many people will feel that it is unfair.

In fact, Lin Benjian said frankly that after hiring excellent professors with high salaries, it is not easy to deal with many injustices for professors who also have rich experience in China.

Taiwan’s semiconductor talent faces two major bottlenecks. In addition to the insufficient talent pool of excellent professors, there is also a shortage of students. Lin Benjian said frankly that under the population structure of declining birth rate, it is worth pondering how to expand the source of students; China has abundant manpower and has many excellent students and professors, but Taiwan is limited by laws and regulations and cannot be recruited. Perhaps it is possible to think about whether there is any improvement in the system.

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