Korea to scale up int’l R&D collaboration on future technologies

2020.09.14 14:48:49 | 2020.09.14 14:49:15

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The South Korean government will enhance international R&D collaboration around future technologies of autonomous driving, semiconductor materials and equipment, and 6G network to diversify supply chains and prepare for growth in the post-coronavirus new order.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Sunday invited technology R&D institutes at home and abroad to partake in state-led projects of developing next-generation technologies. The ministry together with the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) is receiving application for R&D collaboration projects on Sept. 14-29.

The global invitation is part of the ministry’s plan to increase international R&D collaboration by five times through 2023. Currently, the international projects make up less than 3 percent of all state-backed R&D projects in the country.

The ministry will select four teams for eight proposed R&D project areas, which include light emitting material technology for displays, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography/optical technology in semiconductor manufacturing, sensors for self-driving technology, human-robot cooperative assembly tasks, and 5G/6G network modems. The eight areas were picked based on surveys of local businesses for technologies they would need for future growth.

Winners will receive a grant of 1 billion won ($844,000) per year for up to three years. The ministry plans to make its final selection by October.

It is the first time for the country to independently choose research subjects and directly invite international institutions for R&D collaboration without discussions with foreign government or researchers.

There had been limits in applying technologies that were developed through collaboration with foreign R&D institutions as previous projects required agreements from counterparts, said a KITA official. Now, the new way of conducting international R&D projects based on the independently selected topics will help deliver results more suitable for domestic needs, the official added.

By Baek Sang-kyung and Cho Jeehyun

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