Choi Yang-hee, head of Samsung Group’s ambitious new technological research foundation, is determined to produce Nobel Prize winners through advancing basic sciences.
Fostering Nobel laureates is actually one of the three main programs of the Samsung Research Foundation, which will support research and development in basic science, materials engineering, and information and communication technology in line with the Park Geun-hye administration’s “creative economy” drive. The other two are nurturing materials technologies and supporting ICT convergence projects.
“Finding talented young people with creative and innovative ideas and providing them with long-term support for research will let us get closer to the Nobel Prize,” Choi, a professor at Seoul National University’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“It is very rare for a privately-funded foundation to carry out a program of this size. We hope (the foundation) has major reverberations in and out of the country.”
Samsung Group said it would invest 1.5 trillion won in the foundation over the next 10 years.
While noting that the foundation would accept foreign researchers, Choi said its research projects would be led by Koreans.
The foundation will fund between 250 and 500 research projects across the three main programs and appoint around 100 outside experts to select the projects, starting from those led by research institutions. It will later consider funding individual researchers’ projects.
Regarding concerns that the outcome of R&D backed by the foundation could be used to benefit Samsung, Choi said, “discovering future Nobel laureates has little to do with serving the interests of a company.”
The foundation, scheduled to be established next month, is expected to help finance the Park administration’s initiative for boosting the economy by creating new and inventive business opportunities and more jobs through the fusion of information technology with other sectors.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com