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Elders get last hurrah at small domestic firms

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Sept 05,2006
Under a new government program, small and medium-sized companies in Korea are getting the chance to harness the experience and know-how of scores of recently unretired scientists. The Science Ministry announced yesterday the names of 79 scientists to be brought out of retirement and the 79 companies where they will work. Scientists who had worked at a state research facility for 20 years or more were invited to apply via the Internet for posts as technical advisors. When the list of applicants was complete, small and medium companies were asked to pore over it to find the person they felt best suited to the company’s needs. This done, the Science Ministry made the final decisions on who went where. The ministry said that 282 companies and 129 retired scientists initially applied for the plan. “More companies and scientists applied than we expected,” a Science Ministry official said. The scientists will be granted a one-year contract, which can be renewed twice. They will receive a monthly stipend from the government of 2 million won ($2,082) and a 500,000 won monthly income from the company they work with. Eun Gwang-yong, 64 ― the first person in Korea to develop fake diamonds ― said that he was both happy and nervous at the prospect of returning to work. His job is to commercialize technology involved in producing small parts for machinery. Jeon Poong-il, 63, who retired two years ago after working for 36 years at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, took up an advisor’s position at the technical office of GNEC, a firm that designs atomic energy generators. A specialist in designing light-water reactors, Mr. Jeon has 10 years of experience at the International Atomic Energy Agency, with expertise in technology and policy-making. The oldest scientist chosen yesterday was 71-year old Yoo Gwang-geun, who became head of chemical research at Kunsul Plastic Pipe. by Park Bang-ju


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