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Government spending less on research equipment

Research and development projects (Yonhap)
Research and development projects (Yonhap)

South Korean government spending on research equipment and facilities declined during the five years ending in 2019, but the country spent more on research and development during the same time frame, a report said Sunday.

According to the paper by the Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning based on 2019 data, the government spent 678.5 billion won ($588.97 million) on research hardware in 2019, down from 930.2 billion won in 2017 and 971.1 billion won in 2015.

Over the 2015-2019 period, its R&D investment in all sectors except defense increased to 17.4 trillion won, from 16.6 trillion won in 2017 and 16.3 trillion won in 2015.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science and ICT led the investment in equipment, the report added.

In 2019, the Trade Ministry spent 339.3 billion won, up 38 percent from a year earlier. The ICT Ministry spent 200.4 billion won in 2019, down 42.5 percent on-year.

The two ministries’ spending accounted for 80.5 percent of all government spending on equipment and facilities in 2019.

Of all the country’s regions, the Chungcheong region received the largest government investment, 1.17 trillion won, which accounted for 27.9 percent of the total. North Gyeongsang Province followed with 863.8 billion won and the capital area with 812.5 billion won.

The report also said the government relied heavily on imported research equipment. The government purchased only 6,127 domestically manufactured pieces of machinery and equipment for R&D in 2019, as compared with 13,287 imported pieces of machinery and equipment.

Imports from the US totaled 6,128, followed by Germany at 2,180 and Japan at 1,712.

The latest report is based on data collected via the Zone for Equipment Utilization Service, a cloud-based system that has a list of research equipment purchased by the government and worth over 30 million won.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube