SEOUL, President Moon Jae-in on Thursday urged the government to focus its science and technology research and development (R&D) on long-term, people-oriented innovations while also stressing the need to tolerate failures.
"Science and technology too are for the people in the end. I ask you to make sure our science and technologies help improve the people's lives," the president said in an inaugural meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.
The president noted the country's R&D spending was already one of the highest in the world but said its science and technology R&D may not be producing enough or adequate progress.
Moon said the reason may be in how and where the money is spent.
"Our scientists and engineers are world class. We must train them to be scientists and engineers with expertise by creating an environment where they can only focus on their research," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
The president called for efforts to create an innovative and independent R&D support system that will help cultivate new talents.
"After all, the people are the source of national competitiveness. Please consider ways to systematically support our young talents who wish to make new challenges as scientists, engineers or innovative entrepreneurs," Moon told the meeting attended by some 50 council members and government officials, including the science minister.
The president also stressed the need to expand R&D projects to more challenging areas.
"Currently, there are more than 50,000 government-funded R&D projects and their success rate is at around 98 percent. Many point out the fact that this is because the government evaluation and its budget mostly focus on projects with the possibility of quick progress," he said.
"We cannot produce world-class progress through such means. We also may not expect innovative technologies that go beyond our imagination. I ask that we rearrange our support system that allows failures, as to enable long-term, innovative and challenging research projects."
Source: Yonhap News Agency