“Korea and Sweden should foster outstanding researchers for global competitiveness”
Korea University President Jin-Taek Chung delivers keynote speech at the Korea-Sweden Science & Technology Innovation Forum in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations
Korea University President Jin-Taek Chung gave a keynote address at the Korea-Sweden Science & Technology Innovation Forum held in Stockholm, Sweden, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Sweden.
In celebration of the sixtieth year of diplomatic ties between the two countries, the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) hosted this event to share the accomplishments of bilateral cooperation in the science and technology sectors through international exchanges and joint research projects and to seek new ways of cooperation between the two countries based on shared visions and strategies for the sectors.
The event was held at Piperska Muren in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 14 and was attended by more than 100 people, including NRF President Jung-Hye Roe, Swedish Research Council (VR) Secretary General Sven Stafström, Adviser to the President for Science and Technology at the Presidential Secretariat of Korea Kong Joo Lee, Director General of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea Kyung Hee Song, and presidents of major universities and outstanding researchers.
In his keynote address, entitled Basic Research in Korea: Creative, Challenging, and Cooperative, President Chung shared with the audience the current status of Korea’s basic research, plans for the future and the impact of research and development (R&D) efforts of universities on the nation’s development. He focused on the support for basic research and international cooperation programs in Korea and KU’s R&D and international cooperation programs.
◆ Growing support for basic research in Korea and industrial and national development
President Chung said that increasing the Korean government’s R&D budget resulted in a significant increase in the number of top 1% SCI articles during the last five years and that of outstanding researchers publishing the top 0.1% most cited articles. He assessed that it is particularly encouraging that under the 4th Comprehensive Plan for the Promotion of Basic Research, which was rolled out last year, financial support for basic research in Korea will double by 2022 compared to 2017, allowing more researchers to participate. This shows, he added, that interest in and support for basic research create a virtuous cycle across industries and the country.
◆ International cooperation for basic research
President Chung introduced Korea’s various strategies to promote researcher-oriented international cooperation in addition to those for basic research support of the country. He emphasized the importance of attracting and exchanging foreign expertise and conducting research cooperation with overseas researchers. He gave as an example the research collaborations between Korea and Sweden.
According to Chung, the NRF pays for about 25% of the Korean government's R & D budget, which is used for international cooperation, official development assistance (ODA), researcher exchange programs and joint research programs. He stated that the countries are working together to create synergies through two major cooperation programs, the STINT (Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) Program and the Korea-Sweden Cooperation Development Program.
◆ KU’s R&D and international cooperation programs
Based on the core values of creative, challenging and cooperative, Korea University recently launched a range of programs to boost support for start-ups, the understanding of artificial intelligence, global cooperation with overseas universities and industry-academia collaborations. Chung stated that Korea University is devoted to spreading an atmosphere of creativity and innovation in an open and stable research environment through cooperation with external organizations. Such an attitude has led to the university standing out in various fields such as AI, big data, IoT, block chain technology, biotechnology and healthcare.
He said that Korea University is cooperating globally with partners across North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania and had opened the KU-KIEP-SBS EU Center (an organization supported by the European Commission that was launched as a consortium of Korea University, the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and SBS in May 2014 for European education, research and public diplomacy), which promotes education, research and external activities. He used the Jean Monnet Program, which is contributing greatly to the promotion of European studies and relations between Korea and EU, as an example.
Chung stated that Korea University not only emphasizes industry-university cooperation across various fields such as education and research, technology transfers and start-ups, but also maintains networks with more than 1,500 companies based on donations. He also said that for mutual benefits, KU is making every effort to maintain closer ties with industry by selecting small- and medium-sized enterprises with technological excellence as a KU Crimson Enterprise.
He concluded his keynote address by saying, “Korea and Sweden are countries that need to secure global competitiveness by fostering excellent researchers. We should build an academic research platform that can contribute to society by addressing future social issues, developing human resources and promoting cooperative and creative research. The collaborations between the two countries will generate synergistic effects and produce excellent researchers.”