In May 2000, under the direction of President Yuan T. Lee and Dr. Peter Raven, member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Academia Sinica hosted an “International Symposium on the Future of Biodiversity in Taiwan.” At the meeting it was suggested that the government create a Biodiversity Committee to devise feasible plans and put them into action and that Academia Sinica should establish a Biodiversity and Ecology Institute. After several years of preparation, the Research Center for Biodiversity was officially founded on January 1, 2004. Dr. Kwang-Tsao Shao served as the acting director. Academician Dr. Wen-Hsiung Li assumed as Director in January 2008.
To facilitate Academia Sinica’s continuing effort in reorganizing the life sciences institutes, 17 PIs from the institutes of Zoology and Botany with expertise in biodiversity research were formally transferred to the Center in January 2005. An Advisory Board was formed at the end of 2003 and the Board’s first meeting was held in March 2004. At the meeting, the Center’s infrastructure was examined and its future research focuses were discussed.