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Korea Seeks to Attract Foreign Researchers, Students

According to Yonhap News,

(SEJONG = Yonhap News) South Korea plans to attract more experts and students from other countries to help boost its overall research capabilities that will also help develop its economy, the government said Thursday.

Under the new plan approved Thursday at a policy coordination meeting, the government will increase the number of experts and researchers it invites from overseas by nearly 50 percent from 24,800 in 2012 to over 36,000 in 2020, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

South Korea has been ranked among the lowest in terms of R&D capabilities and corporate competitiveness in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Through various programs such as the Brain Korea 21 and Study Korea 2020, the number of foreign experts and researchers in South Korea nearly doubled over the five-year period starting in 2007, the ministry said.

Such visiting experts or students, however, rarely made long-term commitments here, often heading to other countries or institutes soon after government support or scholarships expired. Only 14 percent, or 55 people, out of 403 who arrived here on the so-called World Class University program still remained after the human resources program expired, according to the ministry.

To encourage foreign researchers to make long-term commitments, the government will work to improve the country's overall living conditions for foreigners, including extending the duration of long-term residency F-2 visa from the current three years to five years.

To attract leading students from around the world, the government will launch a new program, tentatively named the Korea Research Fellowship, that will provide not only scholarships for graduate school courses but also additional financial support for a maximum of five years to those willing to stay and work with local businesses or institutes, the ministry said.

It will also attract leading researchers who will work with the country's small and medium-size enterprises.

The Study Korea 2020 project, launched in 2004, will be expanded to offer annual scholarships to 1,000 visiting college students in 2017 from 827 last year, according to the ministry.

Copyrights Yonhap News. All Rights Reserved.

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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 23, 2014)

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