The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a world leader in a range of technologies (e.g. digital technologies, materials and nanotechnologies, biotech and green tech) plus a major research and innovation partner of the EU. Korean cooperation with EU research institutions has increased significantly over recent years, but more can be done to increase the scope and depth of collaboration. The EU-funded project KONNECT fostered further EU-Korea cooperation in science, technology and innovation (STI). Specifically, the project team improved and sustained communication at the research and policy levels, while also improving the strength and scope of STI networks and activities. The work focused on five main themes: developing knowledge-based infrastructure, improving strategic communication, raising awareness to support cooperation, enhancing networking, and fostering innovation through joint activities. Project partners strengthened and reinvigorated the basis for EU-Korean cooperation. The team also assessed the current relationship, which included detailing strengths and weaknesses. The analysis yielded a recommendation that efficient and effective cooperation programmes be developed. The team also recommended an effective mediation system delivering funding opportunities from all parties to researchers. KONNECT prepared input reports for the EU-Korea Joint S&T Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) meetings regarding collaboration, which included action plans for the EU-Korea cooperation roadmap. The group analysed and discussed STI issues, including political aspects, to guide governments involved. The project also studied and reported on the feasibility of establishing a Joint Liaison Office in Korea. Researchers developed stable networks mainly in four technical areas: information and communications technology, nanosciences and technologies, energy-efficient green technologies and health and bio-medical technologies. As part of the development of such networks, KONNECT planned and conducted various training and information events, targeting research organisations and industrial groups. Some events were intended to foster matchmaking or organisational twinning. As a result of the implementation of a joint funding programme, eight projects have been funded under this mobility programme. The team also analysed EU-Korean public-private partnerships and other joint programmes, plus developed ways of evaluating joint projects. As a result of KONNECT, EU-Korean collaboration has been strengthened, leading to better delivery of innovative technologies for both societies.
STI cooperation, South Korea, KONNECT, science, technology and innovation