Between November 18 and November 20, 2010, I attended the 2010 Seoul Science and Technology Forum and visited the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). The 2010 Seoul Science and Technology Forum was dedicated to the international cooperation of public research institutes for green growth and was hosted by the Korea Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology (KRCF), organized by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI, and sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MESH Presidential Committee on Green Growth (PCGG), and Korea Economic Daily (Hankyung).
The theme of the Forum was the international cooperation of public research institutes for green growth. Its participants included representatives of about 40 international and about 30 Korean institutions. The opening ceremony was attended by about 40 ambassadors of participating countries. Already a few months before the Forum, the participants were interviewed whether they wished to deliver an oral presentation (15 minutes), to be official panelists (5 minutes) or to participate as discussants. The programme included the following sessions:
Part I. Roles of PRIs for Green Growth
Session 1. Positioning PRIs in Global Green Growth
Session 2. PRIs as S&T Entrepreneurs
Part II. International Cooperation
Session 3. Global Sharing of Existing Green Technologies
Session 4. Developing New Green Technologies Together
Session 5. Establishing a Global Green Network of PRIs
Session 6. 2010 SS&T Statement and Closing Ceremony.
Each session was opened by chairmanís introduction on the speakers and the topic covered by the session. It was followed by three 15-minute oral presentations, 3-4 panelists and 30-60-minute discussion. In the end of the sessions, the chairmen gave a brief summary of the presented ideas. The closing session featured more detailed summaries of the most important presentations, which served as the basis for the 2010 SS&T Statement.
The five sessions included 15 presentations. Within Session 4, I gave an oral presentation on the International Cooperation in Advanced Materials and Green Technologies. The presentation dwelt on the following topics:
- A comparative analysis of the science and technology policies in two developed countries (Korea and Slovenia) and Serbia and measures to mitigate the gap between the developed and the undeveloped (http://www.sti-studies.de/joomla15/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119&Itemid=1)
- Research programmes and results of the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA in the area of advanced materials and green technologies in the context of sustainable development;
- The role of the Materials Research Society of Serbia in international cooperation and development of new technologies.
Numerous discussants highlighted the importance of advanced materials and nanotechnology for sustainable development. Attention was also drawn to the positive example of the Africa Materials Research Society, established in 2001.
The work of about 40 research institutes in Korea is coordinated by three councils: for fundamental science and technology, for applied research and for economy, humanities and social sciences. The first council coordinates activities of 13 institutes; its budget for 2010 was 1.85 billion dollars, which makes 13.5 percent of the national budget allocated for research and development. The council has 6,800 employees; between two thirds and one half of them are researchers with a PhD degree. Fundamental research carried out under the auspices of that council is applicative. In 2009, 4,200 scientific papers (2,500 of which are published in SCI journals) were accompanied by 1,800 applied and 670 registered patents. Koreaís investment in science reaches 3.5 percent of BDP (1 percent from the national budget and 2.5 percent from non-budget funds).
One of these 13 institutes, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), was the chief organizer of the 2010 Seoul Science and Technology Forum. KIST was founded in 1966. Its goal is to bring Koreaís science side by side with research and development activities in the most developed countries. The Instituteís budget is 220 million dollars (almost twice as big as Serbiaís budget for R&D activities). KIST has 654 employees, 400 of whom are researchers with a PhD degree. Their scientific output in 2009 included 950 scientific papers and 580 applied and 200 registered patents. KISTís main campus is located in Seoul; there are also two minor campuses in Gangneung and Jeonbuk in Korea and one in Saarbreken in Germany (KIST Europe). Their goal is to research and develop creative original technologies to lead Koreaís science and technology sector and disseminate the results and accomplishments of its research throughout society. KISTís research focuses include:
- Interdisciplinary fusion technology: neural science, computational science, spintronics (magnetoelectronics), nano-devices, nanomaterials and nano-bio fusion;
- Materials and devices: optoelectronic materials, electronic materials, polymer-hybrid materials, high temperature energy materials and functional materials;
- Robotics and systems: cognitive robotics, intelligence and interaction, imaging media, energy and mechanics and photonics and sensors;
- Energy: fuel cells, solar cells, clean energy and advanced batteries;
- Environment: water management, global environment, health risk assessment and environment catalysts;
- Life and health: neuro-medicine, integrated omics, biomaterials, biomedicine and bioactive molecules;
- Carbon-based composites: carbon fibre, carbon naostructures, surface functionalization and processing;
- Advanced characterization: chemical analysis, nano-characterization, chemical and peptide analysis of vehicles for controlled drug delivery.
KISTís organization structure is very interesting. The highest positions are occupied by Korean researchers educated at the US and European universities. They are open for various modes of cooperation. The YUCOMAT 2011 list of plenary speakers will include some of the leading researchers of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology.
The second organizing institution of the 2010 Seoul Science and Technology Forum, Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), is in charge for policy implementation and monitoring in the national science and technology sector through research and analysis in this area, taking into consideration relevant economic and social factors. National strategies and policy decisions on the national and international levels are prepared in STEPI. The model provided by this Institute could serve as an example how to improve the organization of R&D activities and enhance the role of science in society to other countries, and especially to Serbia. In Korea, this approach increased the social impact of science.
Generally speaking, my visit to Korea was very successful and it significantly contributed to the affirmation of our Institute and science in Serbia.
2010 Seoul Science & Technology Statement