By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's government on Tuesday announced the blueprint for the country's research and development (R&D) project that will run through 2023.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it has picked 100 key development projects that reflect the latest social and technological trends that will mainly focus on convenient transportation, health care, living environment, environment-friendly energy and customized smart manufacturing.
The goal is in line with South Korea's industrial technology innovation promotion act, which aims to set goals and a direction for R&D projects over a five-year period.
"South Korea has made gains in developing new technologies for the future growth engine and fostered world-class industries through research projects," the ministry said.
"However, the country lacks innovative systems in terms of research, along with a long-term investment strategy," it added. "South Korea needs to make more efforts to support (local companies) in commercialization due to market regulations and cope better with the fourth industrial revolution."
The ministry said investment in the key areas will take up 95 percent of state-led projects, up from the current 73 percent.
The government especially plans to expand investment in the fields of next-generation chips, hydrogen energy, digital health care, self-driving automobiles and high-end displays.
The ministry highlighted that it will support challenging projects with little chance of success to obtain core know-how that may become critical down the line. The vision takes cues from alchemists from ancient Greece who failed to create gold and other valuable metals but established the foundations of modern chemistry through tireless experimentation.
To cope with the fourth industrial revolution, the government said it will seek to obtain 300 related international standards, especially in the various fields, including state-of-the-art automobile, robot, drone, chip, display and health care technologies.
The ministry will also continue to roll out "regulatory sandbox" programs, in which companies are granted more leeway to commercialize new technologies in the market, free from existing regulations.
"Through the blueprint, South Korea plans to beef up its investment strategy in the research and development of industrial technologies," the ministry said, claiming the keywords of the vision are challenge, speed and build-up.
The ministry added policies will also center more on supporting companies seeking to commercialize new technologies.
Such efforts are anticipated to enhance the competitiveness of South Korea's key industries and create new opportunities for emerging growth engines, it added.
In 2023, the ministry said corporate research and development projects are anticipated to account for 4.3 percent of South Korea's gross domestic production, up from 3.6 percent tallied in 2017.
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