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Can South Korea lead global innovation in Fourth Industrial Era?
Updated: 2020-06-12 05:47:50 KST
We begin a discussion with experts from around the world.
How did South Korea get it right?
That's been the question on everyone's lips as the country demonstrated technological leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, producing high quality test kits, and effective digital contact tracing, further boosting its reputation as a republic of high tech smartphones and digital infrastructure.
Today we look at how the country has grown as a leader of innovation, as dubbed by a special edition of Nature Index published last month. We also explore how Korea should move forward.
Today we have Dr. Lee Ju-ho who served as South Korea's Minister of Education, Science and Technology from 2010 to 2013, and established one of the most innovative institutions in the country during his term. He is now a professor and economist at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management. Also joining us is Dr. Stephen EZELL, Director of Global Innovation Policy and Vice President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.

1. To both: Last month, Nature Index highlighted South Korea's leadership in global innovation. Which unique factors enabled South Korea to become a fast follower in science and technology today?

2. Dr. Lee: South Korea has been lagging behind in basic research, but as minister you tried to change that by establishing the Institute of Basic Science. This institute made headlines this year when researchers completed the world's first high-resolution genetic map. What are the factors that enabled it to achieve such a feat, and what more should be done to encourage progress?

3. Dr. Ezell: Learning from the U.S. experience, what kind of regulatory principles or improvements do you think are needed for South Korea to become an innovation powerhouse in emerging technologies?

4. Minister Lee: South Korea spends the second highest proportion of GDP on R&D after Israel, yet its level of innovation in emerging technologies is not exactly proportionate to the input, ranking 11th on the WIPO Innovation Index.
To become a first mover in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, what kind of policy direction should the country adopt?

5. Dr. Ezell: Which industries or technologies do you think South Korea could lead the world in, and how should it handle growing competition from China?

6. Dr. Lee: South Korea's New Deal is about bolstering a digital economy based on remote services in health and education. What opportunities do you see for Korea in terms of education technology?

This is where we have to wrap up the discussion. Dr. Lee Ju-ho South Korea's Minister of Education, Science and Technology from 2010 to 2013, and professor at the KDI School of Public Policy. And Stephen EZELL, Vice President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Thank you for joining the program

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