Analysis of National R&D Programs
Published on 22 October 2019
Published by Economic Industrial Program Evaluation Division of the Budget Analysis Department
The government is increasingly concentrating on research and development (R&D) investments to secure economic growth potential and respond to the transforming environment under the 4th Industrial Revolution. The 2019 budget for national R&D reached a record surpassing 20 trillion won, while the budget earmarked for 2020 amounts to 24.1 trillion won. Although the government is striving to enhance the efficiency of its R&D fiscal investment, concerns remain regarding the inefficient management system, weak investment strategy and failure to transform R&D outcomes into viable business models.
The aim of this report is to provide alternative options that may assist government R&D innovation by conducting an analysis of the overall status and key issues regarding national R&D programs. The key issues regarding the national R&D programs include the R&D implementation system, the investment allocation of R&D budgets, R&D conducted by government-funded research institutes and on SMEs, human resource development and performance management systems.
The outcomes of this report are as follows. The analysis indicated the need to reinforce the R&D budget allocation and coordination functions of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science & Technology and strengthen the independence and expertise of the Science, Technology & Innovation Office, as the R&D programs are expanding in volume. Concrete policy action objectives need to be set along with the promotion of enhanced inter-ministry cooperation regarding basic research, policies on innovative growth drivers and R&D on parts & materials. Since there are a variety of R&D management rules and institutes specializing in research management, R&D rules should be unified ministry-wide and the roles of institutes specializing in research management should be further adjusted. There is room for convergence research to be more actively conducted by government-funded research institutes in the fields of science and technology while their performance in the areas of patent registrations and technology transfer are declining. Therefore, reviews should be conducted on reforming the operational systems of such institutes as well as improving their budget-support methods. Fiscal investments need to be made more efficient by promoting more systematic R&D programs regarding science and technology human resource development. Specifically, in terms of land, agricultural and food, it was found that there is a lack of efficient human resource policies and fiscal investments, therefore requiring improvement measures to address such shortcomings. Despite the increasing government support for R&D in the fields of public health and welfare as well as SMEs, actual outcomes are weak. Therefore, the R&D implementation and performance management systems need to be reviewed for improvement. Furthermore, in terms of R&D in the areas of national defense and agriculture and food, technology gaps persist due to weak private investment and a lack of research personnel. In terms of performance management, a research ethics system needs to take root in order to improve the research performance management system towards facilitating the utilization of research outcomes; prevent the unnecessary squandering of research funds and pursue qualitative R&D growth.