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< 2017 MSIP R&D Program Implementation Plan > (Jan. 2)

- Plan calls for stronger support for researchers in high-potential industries, heightened focus on preparations for 4th Industrial Revolution

The Ministry unveiled its "Science, Technology and ICT R&D Program Implementation Plan" for 2017. The comprehensive road map contains plans for science and technology (S&T) and information and communication technology (ICT) R&D programs including fundamental and basic science R&D, lab-to-enterprise plans, human resource development, and R&D groundwork and infrastructure development programs.

This year's "S&T, ICT R&D Program Implementation Plan" aims to present a stronger response to the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4th IR) that will blur the boundaries, and accelerate convergence, between industries and technologies with the arrival of intelligent information technology, while helping previously-announced S&T and ICT policies such as "R&D Innovation " and the "K-ICT Strategy" take root in the field through stronger support regimes for researchers, development of an advanced open R&D ecosystem, and expanded investment into future high-growth areas.

The details of the implementation plan are as follows:

Stronger R&D support highlighting the importance of researchers

The plan calls for increased bottom-up (i.e. researcher-initiated) R&D projects that can create a creative and risk-welcoming R&D environment by allowing researchers to choose research topics; government-funded projects will also include more hybrid plans that contain both selection of strategic R&D areas by the government (top-down) and self-driven and creative research (bottom-up).

In addition, the plan will build a partnership governance structure between the government and research bodies covering the entire process of target project selection, project planning and other aspects of R&D policy-making process, as part of an effort to promote "open project planning" involving ideas collected not only from the R&D community but experts in industry and academia, and via a variety of channels including social media.

Advanced open R&D ecosystem

The Ministry will create a new "First-time Researcher Support Program" that will enable new researchers armed with drive and imagination, who will form the backbone of the R&D ecosystem, to more easily initiate their first research projects and seamlessly growth into world-class science and technology leaders. The program will include expanded support for follow-up projects to allow researchers to engage in stable and long-term R&D.

Additional support will also be provided for expanding the pool of science and engineering experts by assisting graduate students and next-generation leaders, and more clearly define the roles of each component member of the R&D ecosystem--industry, universities and research organizations (university-basic research / government-funded research centers-application research / industry-development).

Expanded investment for high-potential future growth areas

The plan will pave the way for greater support in the development of fundamental technologies in biotechnology such as new drug and innovative health-care device development, as well as more active support for creative and pioneering research in nanotechnology and climate change response technology. Lunar exploration and other key space technologies, artificial intelligence that will serve as the key engine for the 4th IR, ICBMS* and other key strategic ICT areas and application technologies will also receive increased support. In addition, ultra high-speed computers and other next-generation computer technologies will be nurtured in order to build sufficient computing capabilities to prepare for the arrival of the intelligent IT society of the future.

* Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, mobile, (information) security,

The plan will also highlight key future growth drivers such as self-driving cars, smart cities and augmented reality, as well as R&D for boosting quality of life such as micro-fine dust control and carbon capture and utilization.

A Ministry spokesperson said that the latest implementation plan focuses on strengthening the strategic properties of S&T and ICT R&D and preparing for the 4th IR that will be catalyzed by the rise of intelligent IT and other breakthroughs, and provides a blueprint for the advanced development of Korea's R&D ecosystem that can create and expand greater R&D achievements. Concurrent with the announcement of the 2017 plan, the Ministry will increase communication with researchers and stakeholders in the field in order to enable S&T and ICT R&D support to be made available in a timely and most-effective manner and quickly create solid results, said the spokesperson.

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