South Korea holds bi-annual public technology transfer roadshow

A large-scale collaboration involving the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Ministry of SMEs and startups and the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the one-day roadshow, held at the EL Tower in Seoul, was intended to forge stronger partnerships between businesses, universities and public research institutions.

This edition of the bi-annual roadshow was conducted in 2 parts. The first part comprised a keynote speech titled “Building the future ecosystem of public-use technology”  by Mr Kim Jun-Hong, CEO of Mirae Enterprise, a company that specialises in producing surgical robots and display equipment, and case presentations of successful university-industry partnerships; the second part included a technology exchange and investment conference that addressed technical difficulties faced by small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and provided support for patent application and funding. It is estimated that 372 public research results produced by 41 universities and 19 public research institutions will be transferred to companies in the private sector via the event.

Centred on the policy of a “people-centred economy” driven by “innovation growth strategies”, the roadshow provides a conduit for transferring “high-quality research” from universities and public research institutions to to small-medium enterprises, startups and venture companies, as well as a platform for promoting the transfer and commercialisation of “public good” technologies created via government-funded research and development. SMEs that participate in the roadshow will not only benefit from open access to a wide range of public research efforts, but also secure support for product commercialisation and market expansion.

By “linking private investment and revitalising open innovation”, the South Korean government seeks to transform such private-sector firms into the growth engines of the 4th Industrial Revolution. According to a press release by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the bi-annual roadshow will “see the participation of research companies to support productivity enhancement and new market creation via technological transfer and product commercialisation”.

As an open innovation ecosystem for companies, universities, public research institutions and government bodies,  the roadshow also supports the wider scope of the South Korean government’s domestic and international initiatives. By bridging public-sector research and development with private-sector innovation, the roadshow is a testbed for formulating new policies, strengthening Seoul’s status as a centre of excellence for policy innovation. In addition, government support for businesses creating public-use technologies also encourages entrepreneurship in the field and spurs job creation, supporting the Moon administration’s 5-year roadmap on job creation and improving job quality.

The South Korean government’s recent efforts to prepare the country for the 4th Industrial Revolution has been characterised not only by large-scale public funding for companies in relevant industries, but also public-private partnerships that create two-way transfers for public sector research and private sector innovation to flow, or vice versa. The bi-annual public-use technology roadshow underscores this policy strategy, supporting the South Korean government’s policy direction in the 4th Industrial Revolution by creating a more inclusive and secure environment for new technological developments to flourish.

The public technology transfer roadshow has been held on a bi-annual basis since its inception in 2013. According to the Ministry of Science and ICT, public-private collaboration have been expanding year-on-year, with more government ministries and SMEs coming onboard. As of the second run of roadshow in 2016, more than 2800 public-use technologies from 265 companies have been transferred and commercialised, with an estimated 251 tech transfer contracts signed.

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