Can Bureaucrats Stimulate High-Risk High-Payoff Research?
Despite the world-highest expenditure in R&D as a percentage of GDP, there is a rising concern that Korean researchers in universities and government-funded research institutes (GRIs) are contributing neither to creating new opportunities for the economy nor to solving big societal challenges. Based on the international comparison of academic papers, patents and technology transfers, this paper shows Korea’s poor performance in high-risk high-payoff research. We also point out that the root cause of such low performance in high-risk high-payoff research is a heavy-handed control over research communities by bureaucrats in ministries. This paper suggests several reform agendas for removing excessive bureaucratic controls and strengthening the autonomy of the funding and project agencies, GRIs, and research universities.
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