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ICT Ministry’s 2021 R&D budget set at W21.6tr, up 9.7%

Kim Sung-soo, the ICT Ministry’s vice minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, speaks during a briefing at Government Complex Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)
Kim Sung-soo, the ICT Ministry’s vice minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, speaks during a briefing at Government Complex Seoul in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)

The Ministry of Science and ICT announced Friday that the ministry’s research and development budget for 2021 is set at 21.6 trillion won ($18 billion), up 9.7 percent from 19.7 trillion won in 2020.

The ICT Ministry said the additional funds would be spent on high-priority areas such as disease research and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, fifth-generation wireless networks, self-driving vehicles and next-generation semiconductors.

The budget for infectious disease research has increased by 117.2 percent to 377.6 billion won, from 173.8 billion won in 2020.

The ministry said it will invest a total of 2.46 trillion won in South Korea’s New Deal projects, such as its Digital New Deal and Green New Deal projects, up 45.6 percent year-on-year. The investments will accelerate research in sectors including artificial intelligence and 5G wireless networks, it said.

The budget for three major industries -- the automobile, bio and semiconductor industries -- is set at 2.15 trillion won, up 0.44 trillion won from a year earlier.

The ICT Ministry added that it has allocated 2.35 trillion won for basic science research and educational programs, up 0.32 trillion won.

The nation’s total R&D budget for next year will come out after the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s R&D budget is confirmed. Korea’s combined R&D budget this year is 24 trillion won.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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