Panel unveils an ambitious R&D agenda

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Panel unveils an ambitious R&D agenda

The Park Geun-hye administration has announced an ambitious plan to increase research and development spending for new science and technologies as part of its so-called “creative economy” policy.

The government yesterday convened its first meeting of the newly launched National Science and Technology Council and decided to invest a total of 92.4 trillion won ($80.3 billion) in research and development of new science technologies with a goal of creating 640,000 jobs and increasing per-capita income to $30,000 by 2017.

The new R&D spending is 25.9 trillion won more than the Lee Myung-bak administration’s 66.5 trillion won.

The new plan will focus on developing a total of 120 technologies with the following goals: raising R&D spending; developing “strategic technologies”; strengthening the creativity of employees and job-seekers; and creating new industries and more jobs.

So far, the policies of former administrations focused only on developing technology and cultivating talent.

But the Park administration’s plan is aimed at creating jobs based on the science and technology industry and setting up systems to boost start-up businesses.

“The new plan will realize the creative economy, aiming to support the entire procedures for the innovation of science and technology, from R&D to job creation,” said Park Hang-sik, an official at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Starting next year, the ministry will also outline a road map for development of strategic technologies.

The National Science and Technology Council, launched with the new plan yesterday, is headed by Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and composed of 13 cabinet ministers and 10 experts from the private sector.

Since 1999, former administrations had formed their own control towers to stimulate the science and technology industry, mostly chaired by the president. The Science Ministry typically played a secretariat role.

In 2011, the administration of President Lee Myung-bak launched the so-called “Committee for National Science and Technology,” absorbing the secretariat of the Science Ministry into the new body.

But the Park administration split the committee into two organizations again, sending the secretariat to the Future Ministry and forming the council separately.

Among the 10 experts, the council embraced an array of high-profile figures, such as Kim Jin-hyeong, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Koo Cha-yol, chairman and CEO of the LS Group.

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