European and South Korean science foundations consider cooperation potential

The Korea Research Foundation (KRF) has expressed its interest in participating in programmes such as the European Collaborative Research Scheme (EUROCORES) and the Research Networking
Programmes (RNPs) under the aegis of the European Science Foundation (ESF).

‘In the fields of science and engineering, research collaboration between Korea and Europe has started to increase,’ said Dr Sang-Man Huh, president of the KRF, at a recent workshop in Seoul,
South Korea. ‘But in terms of humanities and social sciences, the basis for cooperation is still weak. I believe that it is necessary to lay the foundation for more active exchanges and
collaboration between Korean and European researchers by means of academic agreements or through other measures between KRF and ESF.’

‘The Korean Research Foundation is a key funder of bottom-up response mode projects, together with the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation, which funds more strategic research, and hence
an interesting partner for ESF and its member organisations,’ remarked ESF chief executive Dr John Marks, who took part in the meeting. ‘They are determined to promote greater international
cooperation for their scientific community, not only focusing on the US, but also creating openings to Europe.’

As two North American science foundations – namely the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Council – have already joined the EUROCORES
programme, the KRF would be the third non-European partner.
In addition to potential cooperation, which will be looked into over the following months, the KRF is also considering the possibility of establishing a structure similar to the European
Research Area (ERA), Dr Huh explained. The Asian Research Area would try ‘to create a common platform for cross-border collaboration in the Asian region’, he explained, adding that he hopes
Asia will benefit from the European experience. ‘In addition to that, we want to know what the prerequisites are and if any independent, non-governmental organisation of national research
organisations is needed before creating the area.’

The KRF was founded in 1981. Since then, it has been dedicated to developing academic research in a broad range of fields. Having a budget of about ?900 million, it has become one of the
nation’s leading research funding organisations and has established research agreements and exchange programmes with research institutes and councils in various countries, including eight EU
Member States.

The ESF unites 78 national funding agencies, research performing agencies and academies from 30 nations. For the past 33 years, the Strasbourg-based organisation has promoted cross-border
research cooperation across all disciplines of science in Europe.

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