Summary of Policy Paper


The Republic of Korea is one of the priority partners of the European Union (EU) in the global economy. The impressive economic and technological progress South Korea has demonstrated for the last several decades has made the country into a global powerhouse. This progress is firmly rooted in the principles of a “knowledge-based economy” that South Korea is consistently pursuing. The Korean economy is now the 12th largest in the world, and is a key trade and investments partner of Europe. Korean research and technology development (R&D) expenditures are over 4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, which is well above the average of the European and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Korea is among the most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries, and is a recognized market leader in electronics, mobile communication, and the automotive sector. Korea is one of the most important R&D partners of the EU, with well-established legal frameworks for cooperation.  

However, the level of public awareness of cooperative opportunities for European researchers in Korean R&D and innovation programs is still very low. Currently, no well-established basis for cooperation that can facilitate international collaboration between Korea and other countries exists. In many cases, the application procedure for Korean R&D programs is not fully open to researchers from abroad. Furthermore, R&D programs and information on opportunities to join them are not well-known overseas.  

Nevertheless, this situation is currently undergoing positive changes. For example, the Korean government recently expressed its desire to increase research collaboration and exchange with institutes from abroad. Furthermore, to encourage foreign researchers to participate in R&D programs, some Korean government departments, like the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), have reformed laws, such as facilitating these researchers to submit proposals as coordinators. With a view to making Korean policy more open, the present paper provides researchers in EU and associated countries (hereafter, called European researcher) with the opportunity to participate in Korean R&D programs, and analyzes the current policy and its present status. The current paper provides Korean and EU policy-makers with useful information on the policy amendment process as well.  

The present report is part of KORRIDOR (Stimulating and facilitating the participation of European researchers in Korean R&D programs), which is supported by the Seventh Framework Program. The overall objective of the project is to broaden and strengthen the R&D cooperation between Korea and the EU in research areas with common interests. Specifically, the programs that accomplish cooperation are in opening access opportunities to European research groups to participate in Korean national research and/or innovation programs, facilitating joint research initiatives supported by Korea, and contributing to the creation of the cooperative climate between Korea and the EU.  

The current paper is composed of four parts. Following the introductory chapter, chapter 2 gives an overview of Korean R&D and capacity building programs, which includes the main Korean R&D programs actively supporting global research collaboration. Chapter 3 shows the present status of international cooperation in Korean R&D programs and the participation of European scientists. The final chapter discusses the key issues in facilitating the participation of EU scientists in the R&D programs of Korea. The present paper should be regarded as a draft version of the policy paper, which will be updated fully at the end of the project period.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction  

II. Current access opportunities in Korean R&D programs   

    2.1 R&D programs 

        2.1.1 Framework of R&D supporting scheme  

        2.1.2 Funding flows       2.1.3 Basic framework for foreign participation          

    2.2 Capacity building and mobility programs        

        2.2.1 MEST       

        2.2.2 MKE        

    2.3 Description of main R&D programs supporting international collaboration   

        2.3.1 Global Research Laboratory (GRL) Program      

        2.3.2 Global Research Network (GRN) Program          

        2.3.3 International Collaborative R&D Program          

        2.3.4 R&D programs on energy technologies   

    2.4 Summary           

III. Status of cooperation with European researchers in Korean R&D and capacity building/mobility programs

    3.1 Overview of cooperation cases within projects          

        3.1.1 Country    

        3.1.2 Research stage     

        3.1.3 Organization type

        3.1.4 Research area      

        3.1.5 Cooperation type 

    3.2 Review of European participation in R&D and capacity building programs: MEST & MKE     

        3.2.1 The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST)  

        3.2.2 The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE)    

    3.3 Summary      

IV. Recommendations for policy improvement        

    4.1 Recommendations for Korean policy      

        4.1.1 Hindrances          

        4.1.2 Suggestions         

    4.2 Recommendations for EU policy        

        4.2.1 Hindrances          

         4.2.2 Suggestions