|Technological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)|
|3. The Republic of Korea|
The long-term goal of science and technology should be in accordance with that of national development. The national development goal is stated as achieving equal ranking with the developed countries by becoming the world's fifteenth in terms of GNP and the tenth in terms of trade volume. To compensate for the country's paucity of natural resources, the necessary goal for S&T is to become no. 10 in the world in the area of industrial technology.
Because of the limitation in available resources, priority areas should be established through consideration of, among other things, national needs and comparative advantage. The role of S&T is to lead national development and to support socio-economic needs. The priority areas that have been identified are:
- Development of electronics, information, and communication technologies.
- Development of selected high technologies to lead the industrial structure adjustment.
- Development of key technologies to increase the international competitiveness of existing Korean industries.
- Development of technologies related to resources, energy, and food for social and economic stability.
- Development of technology in the area of health care, environmental protection, and social information systems to improve the quality of life and social benefits.
- Fostering of creative basic research to promote scientific advancement and to expand sources of technological innovation.
These priority areas were identified using the following basic criteria:
- Economic return and growth potential in view of limited development resources.
- Probability of success in view of development capability and experience.
- Indispensability in relation to national security and socio-economic stability.
- Industrial and technological linkage.
- Future contribution in relation to public welfare and new industrial possibilities.
The report "Long-term Perspectives for Science and Technology Development to the Year 2000" has laid down a set of policy guidelines in accordance with these basic directions, covering manpower, investment, national R&D systems, technological information systems, financial and tax support mechanisms, generation of a market for new technology products, technology intensification of small business, formation of R&D estates, build-up of a technology-oriented social culture, and internationalization of science and technology and international cooperation. Among the major recommendations were the following:
Manpower development will increase the proportion of scientists and engineers to the level of 30 persons (from the current 8 persons) per 10,000 population, amounting to about 150,000 scientists and engineers for R&D. Investment in R&D will be expanded from 1.7 per cent of the GNP in 1985 to over 3 per cent. The government and public sector will be responsible for 40 per cent of the total, and the private sector for the remaining 60 per cent, for which inducement policy instruments will be improved. Top priority in investment will be given to areas of high expected return, high linkage and externality, indispensability, and high probability of success and public interest.
For an efficient division of R&D activities, industrial firms would devote themselves to industrial technologies, whilst national and public institutes would be responsible for mission-oriented, applied research and for national projects of high risk and externality, and universities for basic research and manpower development, as well as for cooperation with public sector institutes and industries.
An efficient nationwide system of scientific and technological information will be established to collect, manage, and distribute information. Financial and tax support systems and public procurement will be used to induce the private sector.
In the next century, small and medium-scale industries will grow to form the backbone of the national economy, because the economic structure will change to one of "economies of variety" rather than "economies of scale." Therefore, support systems involving financial, tax, information, and public procurement measures will be specially devised for the technology intensification of small and medium-scale industries.
In the 1990s, in order to integrate education and research, particularly for high technology, R&D estates will be constructed in various regions to form a network. Development of technologies at regional level will contribute greatly to the balanced development of the Republic of Korea.