Analysis of the System for Utilizing Outcomes of National R&D Projects
Published on 15 October 2021
Published by Economic Industrial Program Evaluation Division
In order to promote innovative research achievements through national R&D programs, the Korean government has shifted its R&D investment position from fast-follower to first-mover, and has been expanding investments in high-risk, innovative R&D as well as basic research. While the nurturing of highly capable researchers as well as stable support in the form of research funds are essential for a national R&D project to be categorized as first-mover, it is also important to provide support in terms of utilizing the research outcomes in a systematic way upon the conclusion of such R&D, including via follow-up support for research outcomes, unveiling demand for such outcomes, market creation and improvement of related rules and regulations. However, while national R&D projects continue to accrue new outcomes, the lack of a systematic research outcome support system is regarded as an indication of somewhat stagnant performance in terms of technology transfer and translation into business models. Therefore, this report aims to review the main issues and improvement measures regarding support for the creation and management of national R&D research outcomes as well as a system for their transferral and utilization.
First, in the R&D planning stage, the object of utilizing research outcomes should be clearly defined through linkage with a “strategy for managing and utilizing research outcomes,” while creating highly applicable R&D outcomes through stage-specific strategic patent management of each project. Also, the registration and submission system of research outcomes should be overhauled and the function of organizations responsible for their management and distribution should be reinforced, to enhance the efficiency of the management and distribution of such outcomes.
Second, the expertise of organizations responsible for government-funded think-tanks’ technology transfer as well as a follow-up support system for beneficiary companies of the technology transfer need to be strengthened, along with efforts to pursue efficient technology transfer activities through technology transfer collaborations among private technology transaction institutions. Although multiple online platforms for facilitating technology transactions are provided by government ministries and institutions, their overall services are infrequently used and suffer from low satisfaction rates. As a result, effective improvement measures are called for.
Third, despite the government’s effort to strengthen inter-ministerial cooperation for the commercialization of technology gained from research outcomes, through programs such as “Relay” and “Run together,” there is a need to strengthen plans to support the transition of the market demand base into commercial products. Technology holding companies run by academia, industry and research institutes should achieve fiscal independence and secure a professional workforce, thereby striving to enhance the likelihood of creating new startups based on research outcomes. In addition, the government should develop government-wide guidelines and a thorough commercialization fund management plan taking into consideration the royalty discount trend, in line with the introduction of a running royalty system.