Samsung Electronics Co. will invest 61.70 billion won (US$54.19 million) in 44 research projects in the first half of this year.
Since 2013, the company has been funding research projects in the fields of basic science, materials science, and ICT and gives out research funds three times a year. Research grants are offered regardless of research topics twice and for a designated theme once. This time, a total of 61.70 billion won (US$54.19 million) of fund will be invested in 16 research projects in basic science, 11 in materials technology and 17 in ICT.
The beneficiaries of this year’s research grant package in basic science include a team led by Professor Lee Ja-il from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) that studies the human DNA restoration mechanism to develop cancer treatments as well as a team led by Professor Lee Soo-hyung from Yonsei University that studies the mass measurement of hardon, a type of elementary particle. This is considered one of the intractable problems in modern particle physics.
Samsung Electronics chose 11 research projects in the field of materials technology, including one related to environmental issues that attract a strong social interest. The research projects include a team led by Professor Jung Hyun-suk from Sungkyunkwan University that studies on a multifunctional water filter (membrane) capable of purifying polluted water of various water contaminants, such as heavy metals and organic matters, at once. The results of the study can contribute to reducing the size of water treatment plants.
A study led by Professor Kwak Rho-kyun from Hanyang University is also included. The research team will develop a device that compounds high-priced alloys instead of salt recrystallization which consumes a lot of energy in the seawater desalination process.
Samsung Electronics selected 17 research projects in the ICT sector, including AI, machine learning and quantum computers. Out of the 17, a research team led by Yoo Ki-jun from Yonsei University will develop deep learning-based word conversion algorithm and censors applied to the skin, which can measure the minute movements of muscles around the mouth and vocalcords. The results of the study will help the hearing-impaired and those with disorders of speech and language communicate more easily.
In addition, the research projects to receive research funds include the studies that develop a technology which can automatically design delicate robots, quantum algorithm and a micro light-emitting diode (LED) braintumor treatment system. Samsung Electronics will also support follow-up studies after chossing three out of the projects completed again.
Samsung Science & Technology Foundation chairman Kim Seong-keun, a professor of chemistry at Seoul National University, said, “We selected the most adventurous research projects seeking to become the world’s first so it is no wonder that the projects fail.”
Samsung Science & Technology Foundation is the nation’s first private firm which has raised 1.50 trillion won (US$1.32 billion) of funds over the last 10 years from 2013 and backed up challenging and creative research projects that have had difficulty receiving financial support from the government in order to seek out new competent researchers. The firm has so far invested a total 666.70 billion won (US$585.60 million) in 517 research projects from universities and public research institutes. Until now, a total of 8,657 researchers have been participating in the research projects, including 1,133 professor-level researchers from 46 public research institutes.