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According to Yonhap News,
(SEOUL = Yonhap News) The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced on January 19 that it has finalized its “2014 fundamental research project initiative” and will invest a total of KRW 696.9 billion in fundamental research projects in 2014.
The ministry will allocate KRW 18.3 billion in fundamental research projects in 2014, which is an increase of 2.7 percent compared to last year.
In particular, the ministry will increase the support for mid-career researchers from KRW 32.2 billion to 34.88 billion, and introduce a new application requirement in an effort to prevent excessive competition and maintain the selection rate below the appropriate level of 15 percent.
In order to encourage young researchers to carry out creative and challenging research activities, the ministry will increase the number of the “young researchers support program type Ⅱ,” which selects projects through a preliminary evaluation for research ideas, by 50 percent. It aims to help senior researchers pass down their knowledge and experiences to young researchers by allowing them to carry out their research in the form of partnerships under the career scientist support program.
Under the new initiative, applications for female scientists will be accepted twice a year instead of once, and mid-career researcher programs are required to increase the percentage of female scientists in their project teams. Also, the ministry will enhance support for local scientists by increasing the percentage of the local universities from 30 percent to 50 percent in a basic research infrastructure support program.
The level of creativity and challenge of a project will account for 50 to 80 percent in the evaluation process, which is dramatically expanded from 10 to 30 percent under the current evaluation process. The ministry also decided to differentiate the evaluation indicators by considering the characteristics of different fields of science.
A total of 5,141 projects (4,936 private projects, 1,662 of which are new; 186 group research projects, 22 of which are new; 19 fundamental research infrastructure development projects) will receive support under the new initiative.
The MSIP plans to officially announce the initiative in the “2014 joint information session by research and development departments,” which will be arranged by 10 government departments including the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) and the Ministry of Education.
The information session will be held in Soongsil University in Seoul from January 21 to 24 and at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daegu from February 4 to 7.
On the first day of the information session, the Small and Medium Business Administration and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will introduce their projects in 2014. The second day will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Rural Development Administration and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The Ministry of Education, MSIP and the Ministry of Health & Welfare will provide information about their projects on the third day. The Ministry of Environment and MOTIE will bring the event to a close with presentations.
“In the past, each government department held its own information session, but this year, 10 departments with more than KRW 200 billion for their R&D budget agreed to hold the joint information session for the convenience of scientists and engineers,” said an official of MSIP.
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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 17, 2014)
** This article was translated from the Korean.