Developments of and Challenges to Basic Research Funding in Science and Engineering Sectors of Korea: The Role of National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)

  •  In Soo Han    
  •  Hwa Yong Ahn    
  •  Byung Whan Ho    
  •  Keun Yeob Oh    


Today, Korea faces a new challenge in the field of basic research: the country has attained a goal in terms of the amount of growth, but it needs to improve its quality of research. Korean researchers need to demonstrate excellence in their research, a far more critical issue than the number of papers published. Considering the current research ability in the country, they also need to show more creativity and forge better links with business.This paper calls for a new policy on research within basic science and technology, at a turning point in the history of research funding in Korea. In particular, it explains the development of research funding focusing on the NRF’s role, discusses the performance of and some problems in research funding, and finally makes recommendations for an NRF funding policy that could usher in a new era of research excellence in Korea. We hope this paper will help construct a theoretical framework for a basic research funding system for science and technology in Korea. In addition, we expect this paper will give some practical guidance for other developing countries trying to foster R&D capabilities in basic science.

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