The following is an interview with Kim Suk-joon, president of Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), about the institute's 2009 business targets and projects to develop the nation's science and technology. In particular, STEPI is striving to develop policies on green growth and future-oriented growth engines - ED.
Q: Would you comment on your 2009 business targets and plans briefly
A: The 2009 business goal of STEPI is to suggest the direction of science technology policy to accelerate linkage of science technology, economy and society. It also aims at suggesting policy alternatives in the science and technology sector necessary for implementation of state affairs.
For successful propulsion of the top 100 state affairs and the 577 Initiative, in particular, it selects and propels study subjects, which are 70 percent of total subjects, centering on state affairs related to science technology.
Some example subjects are to tide over the current economic crisis through the creation of jobs, the propulsion of the Green New Deal, and creation of the nation's new growth engines on a longterm basis.
It is also developing policy issues on green growth and future-oriented growth engines, while selecting and propelling four Star Projects representing STEPI. Along with this, it is carrying out such policy tasks as a regional reform strategy for the creation of open technology innovation and a policy for cooperation between South and North Korea in science technology. Finally, it is persistently pushing for construction of an original statistics database for STEPI so that it can study infrastructure more thoroughly.
Q: Would you introduce the Symposium on Green New Deal science technology policy held on Jan. 29 to tide over the economic crisis and its effects
A: STEPI held the symposium on Green New Deal science technology policy to prepare concrete strategies to push for a new national development vision, called Low Carbon and Green Growth.
Through this symposium, STEPI will collect various opinions from experts in all walks of life, including industry, education, research, government, politics and press. It will draw conclusions through comprehensive discussions and arrange content on investment policies while suggesting policy alternatives to the government. By doing so we plan to offer the suggestions to the government to help with its decisions on direct investment in the private sector or state policy.
Some examples of what it suggested are a basic integrated green innovation policy, construction of a Smart R&D system, and activation of business start-ups by active creation of ecological systems for technology businesses such as the introduction of a Smart-up Program, Bridge Programs, and R&D Insurance. Other ideas also included science technology- led ODA propulsion, construction of a Green Value Chain Reform System, and assisting green technology development by drawing up a green technology portfolio and management structure. There were also other ideas put forth at the symposium, including design of a science technology development support system by company or industry, strengthening the public purchase system for green technology products, and improvement of tax and financial support systems. But the good ideas did not end there. They continued with the improvement of systems to foster and assist innovative small- and mediumsized companies in the green sector, improvement of a system to assist R&D manpower in green technology, and introduction of advanced base structures for green science technology development, which means easing regulations, bolstering the power of professional technology mediation institutions, and establishment of a green technology support center.
Q: Would you tell us about a way to make Korea a leader in the green competition era and the role of STEPI to do so
A: The core of Low Carbon and Green Growth is the development of green technology. The government recently prepared a mid- and long-term master plan for state research and development to cope with climate change in November 2008 and a comprehensive measure for the R&D of green technology in January 2009, in a bid to accelerate development of green technology from the dimension of the pan-governmental ministries.
However, there is just the government's role for development of green technology and preparation of methods to accelerate green technology development and investment in the private sector is not sufficient.
To make Korea a leader in the global green competition era through successfully realizing the low carbon and green growth vision, creation of green technology development and investment in the corporate sector is urgent, along with the government's policy to propel green technology development.
STEPI will push for a study on tax assistance systems and financial support systems to encourage enterprise investment in the development of green technology and make efforts to reflect the study results in government policy. At the same time, STEPI will actively perform policy studies on securing and distributing investment resources through the linkage of Low Carbon Green Growth and the 577 strategy, which is the Lee administration's basic science technology plan. STEPI will also study the selection of investment fields, analysis of investment effects and advanced green technology development systems. And we will do our best to reflect the study results in governmental policy.
Q: Would you make proposals for cooperative tasks between Korea and the US and direction for future development
A: Construction of close cooperative relations is necessary for Korea and the US to take initiative in the process of outlasting the global economic crisis and rebuilding a green-oriented new global order. To this end, both countries should push for close cooperation in science and technology sectors, not to mention in diplomacy, security, economy and education.
As a concrete task for propulsion, they can hold a Korea-US Science Technology Summit to lead the establishment of a global green order centering on science technology. Along with this, they can make a strong push for a Green G-20 Partnership initiative in which G-8 and newly emerging industrial countries join hands to develop green technology, and simultaneously a Green Technology for All initiative to encourage developing countries' participation. As part of their efforts to build a peaceful and secure system in Northeast Asia, they can also seek a Green Nuclear Energy Cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and jointly assist green technology to reduce North Korea's carbon emissions.
Finally, to effectively back up Korea-US science technology cooperation with a Summit, the two countries need to hold regular talks between Korean and US education science technology ministers by upgrading the current Korea US Science Technology Joint Committee. They also need to build a multi-dimensional cooperative system by strengthening science technology cooperation systems and systematically mapping out propulsion strategies.