With China's sharp rise in nanotechnology ranging from original technology to industrial areas, the South Korean government will make massive investment by making a national nano industry road map to increase the competitiveness of related industries such as semiconductors and materials.
The Ministry of Science and ICT announced July 9 that the ministry will invest in technology in earnest while preparing "The Third National Nanotechnology Map (2018-2027)" with 10 related ministries.
Nanotechnology is considered basic technology for automobiles, materials, IT, energy, and other industries and the core link in industrial convergence. Nanotechnology is the linchpin of future core technologies such as sensors, batteries, autonomous vehicles, chips for human organs, and the internet of things.
In particular, China is rapidly raising its competitiveness through a combination of basic research and industrial growth. Through its abundant research staff and aggressive budget investment, China is publishing the largest number of international papers on nanotechnology (SCI) in the world. From 2013 to last year, China ranked first dominantly in the world with SCI papers nearly twice those of the US which ranks second in the world over the past five years. China is also investing heavily in the nano-material and semiconductor industries through its 13th five-year plan and Chinese Production 2025 strategy which were established in March 2016.
In the meantime, the number of SCI theses and thesis impact index are on the decline in Korea, and the gap between Korea and China in the core industry area is narrowed to one or two years, giving rise to a crisis for Korea. According to the Ministry of Science and ICT, gaps between Korea and China are only one year in the material sector, 1.7 years in the device sector, 1.3 years in the nano-bio sector, 1.8 years in the nano-energy sector and one year in the nano-technology sector.
The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy initially pushed forward with an R&D project to cost 1 trillion won, but were excluded from preliminary feasibility studies for the first half. As a consequence, the two ministries are planning to apply for a preliminary feasibility study again in August. If the project passes the a preliminary feasibility study, a mega project which will cost at least one trillion won will be implemented for 10 years from 2020 to 2029. In the fields of nanotechnology and materials with a high level of industrial competitiveness but a low basic research level, the Ministry of Science and ICT will promote R&D by investing 600 billion won for 10 years from 2020 to 2030. The Ministry of Science and ICT is planning to accelerate the project on a full scale through a preliminary feasibility study.
In addition, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will go ahead with the development of nanomaterials and process technologies for the five major new industries such as electric vehicles, autonomous cars, IoT appliances, new energy industries, bio-health, semiconductors and displays. In the long term, the ministry will develop element technology by selecting 30 future technologies based on nanotechnology. The 30 technology includes personal portable artificial intelligence at the level of human brains, a communication environment where speed is unlimited, a drone which flies without charge, an electric vehicle that can run from Seoul to Busan on a five-minute single charge, an explosion-free battery and artificial organs without a rejection.