South Korea announced its commitment to basic research this year, with a planned investment exceeding 2.1 trillion won (US$1.5 billion) to enhance the global competitiveness of the nation’s researchers. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Science and ICT revealed that the government intends to allocate a total of 2.1 trillion won for basic research projects in 2024, representing a noteworthy increase of 67.8 billion won from the previous year.
Under the ‘2024 Basic Research Project,’ the Ministry of Science and ICT, led by Minister Lee Jong-ho, is taking proactive steps to facilitate innovation in research and development.
In a press release on the 3rd, the Ministry articulated its commitment to preparing and executing the ‘2024 Basic Research Project Implementation Plan,’ aiming to move South Korea into the forefront of world-class R&D initiatives.
The Ministry of Science and ICT has changed the basic research project support system. An addition includes establishing a creative research category designed to provide financial backing for purely theoretical and conceptual research initiatives. It aims to stimulate global research and development collaborations with foreign partners. Additionally, the funding ceiling for research projects doubled compared to the previous year, reaching 300 million won in 2024.
As part of the reorganization, the Ministry of Science and ICT has revamped the basic research project support system to catalyze innovative research and development endeavors that challenge global standards.
The transformation encompasses various research categories, including leader research, leading research centers, basic research labs, mid-level research (global type), and emerging research (global type). These entities plan to facilitate global R&D, encouraging creative outcomes through open and diverse collaborations with distinguished researchers worldwide.
Unlike the traditional ‘fiscal year matching’ system for basic research projects, the Ministry of Science and ICT has abolished the previous March to February timeline. The move offers flexibility by enabling year-round project selection, with evaluations incorporating a meta-assessment of the overall basic research project evaluation process.
The Ministry is committed to addressing any issues identified during this piloted meta-evaluation, ensuring continuous improvements to the evaluation system.
The 2024 Ministry of Science and ICT basic research project is progressing with a detailed timeline. The individual basic research project application window is set from January 19, 2024, to February 2, while group research project applications will be accepted from February 22, 2024, to March 6, 2024. Project submissions are scheduled for April 1 and August 1, following the selection and evaluation process.
For those interested, comprehensive information, including contest details and the promotion schedule for new tasks, is available on the official websites of the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation of Korea.
On a similar note, in a sector-specific allocation, the Science Ministry will allocate 4.69 trillion won toward science and 1.17 trillion won towards ICT in the current fiscal year. With a strategic emphasis, the Ministry intends to concentrate on securing critical technologies, including advanced biology, semiconductors, and rechargeable batteries. This targeted investment aligns with the broader objective of advancing technological prowess and fostering innovation in these key areas.
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