MKE Inaugurates R&D Strategy Planning Corps

Former Samsung Electronics President Hwang to jointly take the helm at the corps with the MKE minister

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) will inaugurate the R&D Strategy Planning Corps on June 1 with the goal of overhauling R&D-related affairs.
Hwang Chang-gyu, former president of Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Division, jointly will head the corps with Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Kyung-hwan. The new organization will be filled by three MKE deputy minister-level officials, five standing managing directors (MDs) for investment management and seven non-standing experts.
The idea of delegating parts of the national R&D authority to the private sector has drawn keen attention. Hwang¡¯s embarking on selecting the MDs whom he will work with has heralded tremendous changes in the R&D landscape. The corps¡¯ focus on planning rather than on the execution and evaluation of R&D outlays is feared to overlook the original rationale of establishing the organization, however.
The R&D-related institutions of the government are taking a lukewarm attitude. An official in the R&D sector said, ¡°The R&D Strategy Planning Corps, a privately-run R&D organization, will be virtually charged with the R&D-related roles of the MKE, and such jobs as R&D evaluation, manpower development and other infrastructure buildup will be left to affiliated institutions under the control of the MKE.¡±
A proposed amendment to the Act on Expediting Industrial Technology Innovation, which has been put on public notice recently, specifies the roles of the corps as follows: direct budgetary allocations of industrial technology innovation projects and efficient management; comprehensive outcome evaluation & analysis and restructuring plans; and budgetary readjustments, among other tasks.
An essential job of evaluating R&D outcomes and managing R&D institutions will not be given to the corps. The MKE minister serves as the co-head of the corps, which will be manned by the MKE¡¯s three first-grade ranking officials, including the deputy minister of the Office of Industrial Economic Policy, so the corps¡¯ innovation is expected to hinge on how much the MKE will listen to its suggestions and proposals.
Currently, there are 13 research institutions under the control of the MKE including the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) and the Electronics and Communications Research Institute (ETRI). Such research institutes as the Korea Institute of Construction Technology and the Korea Food Research Institute are not within the MKE¡¯s own inherent responsibilities, but all research institutes in the application sector have been put in the hands of the MKE in accordance with the Lee Myung-bak government¡¯s policies. nw

Kim Named KOFOTI Executive Vice Chairman

Kim Dong-soo, ex-director general of cross-border investment at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), was elected executive vice chairman of the Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI) at the KOFOTI board of directors meeting on April 14.
A graduate of Seoul National University with a major in trade, Kim held such posts as the director of trade and auditor at the predecessor of the MKE, as well as the director general of manufacturing industries and director general of cross-border investment at the MKE.
Apparel and fashion business circles welcomed Kim¡¯s selection as KOFOTI executive vice chairman, saying that they will expect Kim to help the textile and fashion industries cope with such external uncertainties as the global economic downturn and an expanded market entry of latecomer developing countries, including China, India and Vietnam. nw

Kwan Tapped as KAMA Executive Vice Chairman

Kwan Young-soo, former director-general of the Bureau of Standards & Technology Infrastructure at the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), took office as executive vice chairman of the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on May 13.
Kwan, a seasoned government official, was considered best qualified for the job as the day-to-day leader of the association.
Born in 1952 and a graduate of Seoul National University, Kwan earned a master¡¯s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School and a doctorate in economics from Chungang University. He has held such positions as Presidential administrative secretary, director in charge of reviewing corporate restrictions at the predecessor of the MKE, and director general of regional economic development policy at the MKE. nw

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