What improvements could be made?
The Recommendation has been translated into Korean and transmitted to relevant ministries, agencies, research institutes and universities. As the content of the Recommendation is complex, the leaflet made by Canadian Commission for UNESCO and UNESCO Netherlands Commission was also translated and transmitted so as to enhance understanding. To secure understanding and support for the mission of the Recommendation, UNESCO had requested the Member States to create and transmit materials to help stakeholders and the public understand the Recommendation.
Please state which were made and which could still be made
Although there has been no forum for discussions that invited multi-stakeholders to improve their understanding of the Recommendation and develop national implementation measures, relevant ministries and organizations collaborated to develop a progress report on the implementation of the Recommendation to enhance understanding.
Please state which were made and which could still be made and whether any is foreseen
Humane, just and inclusive development through science (Key area #1)
Korea developed the Fourth Science and Technology Basic Plan (2018-2022). It is Korea’s highest-level plan for science and technology policies, developed with the vision of improving people’s quality of life and contributing to humanity’s progress. To realize this vision, the Plan is composed of four strategies: building science and technology capacity for future challenges; fostering a science and technology ecosystem that encourages innovation; create new industries and jobs led by science and technology; and realize happier lives for all through science and technology.
Develop science and technology policies to address social problems and expand interactions with society (key area #2)
To address social problems and provide accurate scientific and technical information, the Korean government has created and is operating public communication channels, such as an online platform for social problem solving and the science and technology forum for people’s lives. The investment in R&D for solving problems in everyday life, such as disasters, is increasing every year, as well as the number of projects involving citizen engagement.
Stronger international cooperation and shared prosperity through science diplomacy (key area #3)
In April 2020, the Korean government established the International Cooperation Policy Center to promote science and technology cooperation that takes advantages of each country’s strengths and to respond to global challenges facing humanity, such as climate change and infectious diseases. Moreover, Korea is working to share Korea’s development experience and contribute to shared growth, as part of its efforts to foster innovative science and technology activities needed for achieving the 17 SDGs.
Open Science (key area #4)
The Korean government is operating the Korea Open Access platform for Researcher (KOAR) and a research data platform, DataON. In addition, it is building an Integrated R&D Information System, IRIS, to manage national R&D projects at a glance, aiming to launch the System starting 2022.
Measures to nurture female scientists and engineers (key area #5)
The Korean government developed the Fourth Master Plan for Female Scientists and Engineers (2019-2023) to build creative capacity of female scientists and engineers and unleash their potential. To this end, the government has implemented policies for developing creative female talent to meet the demands in new industries and for establishing a virtuous cycle of flexible R&D activities composed of entry, growth and re-entry. The following four strategies have been developed to facilitate these policies:
1. Facilitate the entry of female talent into new industries to meet the demands of the future and promote their growth.
2. Improve the STI and global capacity of female scientists and engineers.
3. Expand support for female scientist and engineers so that they can develop and continue their careers in the fields of science and technology.
4. Establish a gender innovation system in science and technology.
Research ethics governance to ensure freedoms and responsibilities (key area #7)
Through the enactment of the National R&D Innovation Act and the Decree of the National R&D Innovation Act, the Korean government has stipulated the importance of research ethics in the law. The legislation strengthens the responsibilities of researchers and underscores the importance of securing research ethics. Moreover, the extent of research ethics has been extended from a notion of preventing scientific misconduct (manipulations, falsification, inappropriate citation, etc.) to matters that should be complied with in order to conduct responsible research.
Under the National R&D Innovation Act, research institutes are now mandated to develop their own rules for research ethics that include the following measures:
1. Efforts and system for ensuring integrity of R&D performance
2. A code of ethics regarding academic exchange, including paper submission and conference attendance
3. Prevention and management of conflict of interests
4. A code of ethics regarding studies involving human subjects and animal testing
5. Commitment to fostering a healthy research environment in labs that protects researchers’ rights and benefits
6. Other measures deemed necessary by the head of the research organization for ensuring research ethics
Nurturing talent in science and technology (key area #9)
In February 2021, the Korean government developed the Fourth Master Plan for Supporting Science and Technology Talent Growth (2021-2025). The Plan is the highest-level plan for Korea’s science and technology talent policies and lays out the vision, goals and tasks of talent cultivation to raise the national competitiveness in science and technology. The Plan’s vision is “Becoming a leading nation for science and technology talent in a time of great transformation.” To achieve this vision, four strategies have been developed: 1) Nurture future talent with a strong base, 2) Create an environment that facilitates the growth of young researchers into key talent, 3) Expand the ground for scientists and technicians’ continuous performance, and 4) Improve the openness and dynamics of talent ecosystem.
* The numbers (e.g. Key area #1) correspond to the 10 Key Areas of the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers on page 17-18.