South Korea to spend US$5.3 billion on science and ICT research

The Ministry of Science and ICT will invest US$5.3 billion on science and information and communication technology (ICT) research in 2021.
By: | January 6, 2021

The funds will go toward fostering new tech industries such as artificial intelligence (AI), 6G wireless networks and basic scientific research under the country’s Digital New Deal that aims to spur economic growth and innovation.

The Digital New Deal is one of the two pillars under the Korean New Deal; the other being the Green New Deal which focuses on transitioning the country to a net-zero emissions economy. 

The amount allocated for the Digital New Deal in 2021 is 12% higher than that last year.  

The ministry said it has set aside 1.8 trillion won (US$1.65 billion) for basic scientific research, compared with 1.5 trillion won (US$1.37 billion) in 2020, focusing on support for young scientists, while committing 287.9 billion won (US$264.7 million) for research in core tech parts, materials and equipment as the country seeks to foster a self-reliant supply chain. 

The ministry also said it will spend 139.1 billion won (US$127.9 million) on research to develop virtual services and industries as part of efforts to support the country’s Digital New Deal, which is aimed at investing 58.2 trillion won (US$53.5 billion) in AI and other promising tech industries to create 903,000 jobs by 2025. 

For next-generation growth drivers, such as 6G and self-driving technology, the ministry will invest 17.2 billion won (US$15.8 million) and 24.9 billion won (US$22.9 million), respectively. 

READ: South Korea approves 9.3 trillion won jobs package

Under the Green New Deal, the ministry said it will invest around 103.7 billion won (US$95.4 million) to meet its carbon-zero goal by 2050.  

In light of the pandemic that continues to grip the country, the ministry said it will spend 41.9 billion won (US$38.5 million) to develop treatments and vaccines against new infectious diseases, said Yonhap News Agency.