Samsung invests in rare earth material research

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Samsung invests in rare earth material research

Samsung Group will invest in a search for alternatives to rare earth materials, which are essential in the manufacturing of smartphones and televisions.

Yesterday, the group announced 27 areas of research to be pursued under the Samsung Future Technology Cultivation Project. The project, announced in May in line with the Park Geun-hye administration’s creative economy drive, will put 1.5 trillion won ($1.41 billion) over the course of 10 years into research that could help foster new economic engines for Korea.

Research in basic science is also being encouraged under the project to help earn Korea its first Nobel prize in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine.

Samsung selected 15 research areas involving development of new materials and innovation in information and telecommunications, including a project to develop optoelectronics materials that can function in place of rare earth materials, the supply of which is dominated by China.

The project will be carried out by Yu Yeong-min, a 35-year-old professor at Kyung Hee University, who submitted the idea to get funding for the project.

Neuromorphic processors and hybrid holographic 3-dimensional displays are other research areas Samsung picked in the materials and ICT realms.

Samsung, which says the purpose of the research project is to benefit society as a whole and not just the company, also selected 12 research subjects in basic science areas.

“All of the members participating in the screening process spent several days and nights together for high-level discussions and did their best to selecting innovative research projects,” said Kim Du-cheol, a computing science professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, who headed the selection of research areas in basic science. “We feel proud about choosing creative and challenging researches.”

The 27 projects are only the first batch among hundreds of research projects to get funding from Samsung. The screening process to select the next batch will start in January, the company said.

It is planning to select new research projects twice a year.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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