The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) acknowledged South Korea as the most active country that pursues scientific and technological innovations.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría announced the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015 during this year's ministerial-level meeting of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy in Daejeon, Korea on Oct. 19.
Korea’s R&D investment-to-GDP ratio is said to have doubled over the last 20 years, from 2.2 percent in 1995 to 4.15 percent in 2013, which is well over 2.4 percent, an average score between OECD member countries. During the period of 2010 to 2012, the nation accounted for 14.1 percent of the total patents that were registered worldwide in the fields of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, quantum computing, and telecommunications. Korea's weight in cutting edge materials and nanotechnology, such as graphene, meta materials, and wearable tech grew to 21 percent during the period.
In particular, the nation is acknowledged to be a dominant player in 11 areas among 20 disruptive technologies, including data transmission human interface technology, which is the basis of the IoT. Disruptive technologies refer to radically innovative methods that can disrupt existing industry, unlike gradual innovative ones that improve the function or quality of products.
However, it was pointed out that making an investment in basic research while leading technological advancement has become the greatest challenge for Korean companies. Compared to the nation’s R&D investments, Korea showed mediocre performance in the number of papers published scientific journals, at a level similar to Australia or Spain. In addition, the nation’s score in international cooperation in the science and technology field is lower than the average score worldwide.
“Korea is ready for next-generation innovation in production by equipping them with intensive manufacturing fields, high performance workforces with technical skills, and some corporations leading global technologies,” said Andrew W. Wyckoff, the director of the OECD's Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
The next-generation innovation in production was coined by the OECD, meaning a new industrial revolution that would fundamentally change the existing production method, resulting from an advance in cutting-edge convergence technology such as IoT, 3D printing, bio, and nanotechnology.
Korea was also recognized as one of the most innovative countries in the OECD Innovation Strategy 2015. The nation’s “creative economy” policy was introduced as a successful case of strategic access to innovation, along with Germany's cutting-edge tech strategy and Finland's R&D innovation strategy.