R&D Funding to Catalyze Industrial Restructuring Thru Domestic Innovation

Article excerpt

The National R&D Program, initiated by MOST in 1982, was based on the Technology Development Promotion Law. During the industrialization of the 1960's and 1970's, R&D activities were aimed primarily at imitating and absorbing technologies from abroad. Since the 1980's, however, the government has systemized a national R&D funding mechanism to catalyze industrial restructuring through domestic innovation. Government assistance would make it possible to use limited resources more efficiently. Public R&D needs to be expanded in order to induce private firms to invest in R&D and to encourage collaborative R&D among industries, universities, and government-supported research institutes (GRI's). In response to various new socio-economic demands, the program is enlarged to various research projects. Major sub-programs are the Highly Advanced National Project(HAN Project), the Creative Research Initiative, the Strategic National R&D Project, the National Research Laboratory, and so on.

The HAN Project is a large-scale R&D project carried out with funding from government and industry under the long-term project management system. Designed as an inter-ministerial program under the existing national R&D program framework and launched in 1992, the HAN Project aims at the development of strategic industrial technologies in order to make Korea more self-reliant in S&T. The HAN Project is broadly composed of two categories. First, product technology development focuses on technologies for developing specific products, particularly high-tech products in which Korea has the potential to compete with the advanced countries by the early 21st century, e.g. : new agrochemicals, ISDN, HDTV, ASIC, flat panel displays, biomedicals, micromachine, next-generation vehicles, and express railways. Second, fundamental technology development emphasizes core technologies that are indispensable for long-term economic growth and improving the quality of human life, e.g. : next-generation semiconductors, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing systems, new functional biomaterials, environment technology, new forms of energy, next-generation nuclear reactors, advanced superconduction tokamak, and human sensibility ergonomics.

A total of 2085.9 billon Won had been invested over the period from 1992 to 1997, when the second-phase of the program was completed. …