Korea is currently one of the most innovative countries in the world. This was made possible in part by the establishment of a national innovation system by the Korean government shortly after the First Five Year Plan for Economic Development was introduced in 1962.
Over the past half century, the government has implemented a series of policy measures to enhance the innovative capabilities of universities, public research institutes, and businesses. For example, it has promoted the mass production of highly-qualified research personnel, constructed government-sponsored research institutes, and motivated private enterprises to establish their own research institutes.
Korea’s national innovation system initially had the most impact on public research institutes and businesses. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that universities began to significantly increase their R&D expenditures.
Having recognized the importance of innovation to enhancing its economic competitiveness, Korea now has one of the highest rates of spending on R&D in the world. As a result, it has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Recently, the Korean government launched a five-year green technology plan with a budget of US$84 billion, Korean companies beat out international competitors for a US$20 billion contract to supply the United Arab Emirates with four nuclear power plants, and Samsung—the Korean industrial conglomerate—signed a US$6.6 billion deal to build 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power in Ontario, Canada.