Science minister vows to empower researchers

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Science minister vows to empower researchers

You Young-min, Korea’s minister of science, ICT and future planning who took office earlier this month, pledged to create a more researcher-friendly environment by empowering centers that conduct research in science and technology during his first on-site briefing with field experts on Tuesday at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul.

Minister You said his department aims to integrate some state-run advisory and mediation groups on science and technology-related policies to make each of them stronger. Research guidelines issued by different organizations will also be adjusted to get rid of misunderstandings.

While Tuesday’s visit to the Korea Institute of Science and Technology was his first official visit to a research site, You said he would more actively visit R&D centers to strengthen communication between the ministry and industry players.

“For the new administration’s science and technology policies to work on site, there needs to be change in the environment at both the ministry and research sites,” You said. “I plan to establish a more challenging work environment so that there is more active discussion on key agendas [within the ministry] and communication with industry players on site.”

During his visit to the institute, You also confirmed he would enforce phone bill discounts by raising the discount ceiling on monthly bills from the current 20 percent to 25 percent in September despite strong opposition from mobile carriers.

Before attending the meeting at the institute, You met with SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho and plans to schedule meetings with heads of the other two major carriers, KT and LG U+.

Regarding the meeting with Park, You said there was no special request from SK Telecom and that the two would simply maintain open communication on the issue.

The telecom operators opposed increasing discounts for phone bills, saying they would lose the profitability to invest in technologies like faster networks.

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