Fellow Koreans, citizens of Daejeon, science and technology professionals,
I am standing here today to speak with the citizens of Daejeon as well as scientists and engineers about our new vision.
“I believe we should go to the moon.” At the time President Kennedy delivered his address to the U.S. Congress in 1961, announcing the American dream of entering uncharted territory and inspiring humanity with hope, Korea could only produce radios with its own technology. We could not stand at the same starting line in the race for scientific and technological advances but were merely struggling to keep up with the world without even wearing running shoes.
Sixty years later, we are ready to launch fifth-generation (5G) mobile network service in March this year for the first time in the world. We have become a front runner in the digital era. Here in Daedeok District of Daejeon, the lights of 45 research institutions and laboratories at seven universities, including KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and Chungnam National University, never go out. We have pushed our innovative scientific and technological capabilities all the way up to 7th among OECD member states. We have finally caught up with the world.
Now the Fourth Industrial Revolution awaits us. All countries and all of humanity have begun running toward this new world.
At last, we stand on the starting line as an equal. There is no need for us to follow in others’ footsteps nor a reason to emulate them. What we create with our own ideas can become the world standard.
Our ancestors constructed Cheomgseongdae, an astronomical observatory in Gyeongju. Koreans invented the world’s first movable metal type, created Hangeul and 600 years ago built the iron-clad turtle ship Geobukseon. From imagination and creativity to craftsmanship, there is no area where we lag behind.
The era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a new challenge for us. It, however, has given us a golden opportunity to transform our fast follower-type economy into a pace-setting one. Scientific and technological innovations will become starting points for that cause. I have firm conviction that Daejeon, the Republic of Korea’s scientific and technological pioneer, will prove this.
With praise for you scientists and engineers who are working hard with strong passion, I'd like to start our journey toward the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution here in Daejeon, the present and future of our science and technology.
Distinguished scientists and engineers,
I’m pulling for innovation in science and technology. My Administration will always stand by your dreams for the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
DNA, a combination of data, network and artificial intelligence, represents the underlying technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Government will first render support to develop these three key industries.
Investments in strategic, innovative industries will begin in earnest this year. The domestic data market will grow to 30 trillion won by 2023. The Government will help nurture 10,000 experts in data and artificial intelligence by implementing regulatory reforms for the data industry as planned and creating artificial intelligence convergence clusters. The number of graduate schools specializing in artificial intelligence will be increased to three this year and six by 2022.
This year, a total of 3.6 trillion won will be invested in eight pace-setting projects pertaining to hyper-connected intelligence, smart factories, smart cities, smart farms, fintech, energy-related new industries, drones and the cars of the future.
My Administration will strive to innovate the R&D system in ways conducive to researchers so that they will be able to play a leading role in developing pace-setting technologies.
This year, 1.7 trillion won will be provided for research on basic and original technologies in which researchers themselves choose their areas of study. The amount will be expanded to 2.5 trillion won by 2022. The Government will help create an environment where researchers can focus on their research exclusively without having to attend to administrative work.
Many great discoveries in science and technology resulted from things that couldn't be anticipated prior to research. The process of research and its achievements will be evaluated together, going beyond simply determining whether it succeeded or not. Failures despite sincere endeavors will be acknowledged, and thus, the experiences of failures will also be accumulated.
Instead of controlling and administering, the Government will render encouragement and support. I hope you all remember that each step you take pieces together a new map that helps steer the Republic of Korea toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Distinguished citizens of Daejeon,
Daejeon is a leading city in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. New advances by INNOPOLIS Daedeok, the R&D special zone, will lead to further growth of science and technology in the Republic of Korea.
The Government will provide every support necessary to see that R&D in INNOPOLIS Daedeok can lead to new jobs and innovative startups and that Daedeok can become a hub for Daejeon’s innovative growth.
Korea’s most capable and driven scientific institutes and scientists are concentrated in the R&D special zone. The Government will provide additional support for Daedeok’s infrastructure to ensure that it becomes a mecca for commercialization of state-of-the-art technologies.
A new technology regulation test bed will be established in INNOPOLIS Daedeok so that new technologies, products or services can receive special exemptions from regulations. Financial assistance will be provided to help produce prototypes.
Regional R&D projects will be reorganized in a way that gives more authority to local governments so that they can plan and propose regional R&D projects and select the key agents to conduct R&D activities. The central Government will provide support so that outstanding R&D results can lead to commercialization and new startups.
To further balanced national development, the Government will actively consider exempting Daejeon from the preliminary feasibility study for its long-desired tram construction project for its second urban railway.
Fellow Koreans, Daejeon citizens and distinguished scientists and engineers,
The era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides us a new opportunity. The path we take will lead to that Revolution, and the results of our scientists and engineers’ research will shape the era.
Innovation in national R&D is an undertaking we must achieve together. I urge you to shape the future in a cutting-edge, unprecedented manner as you see fit. In the new industrial realm, I hope that ever-more-vibrant science and technology and ICT-based startup activities will fascinate the world. The Government will neither interfere nor regulate. We will support science and technology researchers who take on new challenges and help innovative businesses.
The era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution belongs to us. It also belongs to Daejeon. As the Daejeon Expo implanted the dream of science in our children, I hope that Daejeon, the special city of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will once again help nurture their dreams about the science of the future.