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South Korea to run pilot test of Knowledge Crowd R&D Program platform

South Korea to run pilot test of Knowledge Crowd R&D Program platform

South Korea’s Ministry of Science
and ICT has recently inaugurated the pilot run of the 2018 “Knowledge Crowd
R&D Program” in accordance with the “national strategy for the acquisition
of future material source technology” discussed earlier by the Steering Commitee
of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology (PACST) on 25 April this year. 

Designed as a platform to connect
the expertise of public research institutions to the technical needs of
small-medium enterprises (SMEs), the “Knowledge Crowd R&D Program” is
intended to provide technical support for SMEs faced with material or technical
challenges that they may not have the resources or expertise to resolve on
their own. South Korean SMEs may request technical assistance via this program
and solicit for solutions from public research institutions. Bringing together
private sector needs and public research expertise, the program is the latest
initiative in South Korea’s array of public-private partnerships.

The pilot run of the program consists
of multiple phases conducted over a period of 2 years: 

In the first year, the
Ministry of Science and ICT will first compile a list of technical problems
faced by SMEs prior to sending out invitations for researchers to take up cases
and propose solutions for them; the case selection process will be conducted on
a competitive basis, and in order to encourage uptake of cases, the ministry
will subsidise all research fees incurred by the participating researcher. 

In
the second year, projects will be selected based on preliminary results, and
once proposals have been vetted and reviewed there will be a process of
matching accepted solutions to SMEs. The research project will then be
supported until it reaches practical application. Funding for research will be
assessed and supported on a one-to-one basis, and intellectual property rights
that are created intellectual property rights that are created at the end of
the partnership will be jointly owned by the research institute that undertook
research on behalf of the SME that requested technical assistance, as well as
the requesting SME itself.

Under the 2018 “Knowledge Crowd
R&D Program”, the Ministry of Science and ICT intends to support not more
than 2 to 3 cases and support 6 preliminary research efforts within a time frame
of 5 months and budget of 40 million won in 2018; in 2019, based on the
condition that the research time frame be within 4.5 years and 500 million won,
2 research projects will be selected to receive government funding. Requests
for technical assistance from SMEs will be accepted from 1 June to 29 June
via the  government’s online public
consultation portal (idea.epeople.go.kr) , and solution proposals will be assigned based on the “priority of
problem”.

“We plan to expand the scope of the
project in accordance with the results of the '2018 Knowledge Crowd Research
and Development Program” said Kim Jung Won, Director of the Ministry of Science
and ICT R&D Policy Bureau. “We hope that it will be an opportunity for
[South Korean] companies to grow in quality”.

The launch of the inaugural “Knowledge Crowd
R&D Program” this year underscores the South Korean government’s recent
initiatives to promote cooperative governance via the creation of  public-private partnerships to not only drive
public research efforts, but also inform policymaking decisions. 

This month, South
Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Internet and Security Agency
had jointly released cybersecurity guides that were collaboratively designed
with members of the country’s IoT Security Alliance
. The recently
concluded 2018 ICT Commercialisation Festival also highlights the South Korean
government’s commitment to tapping on private sector opportunities for
improving governance and public service delivery
.

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