Why is South Korea the best

South Korea: an excellent partner for the future

Opportunities for Germany

The attractiveness of South Korea as a cooperation partner for German research has increased enormously - this has resulted in lively cooperation between German and South Korean science. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the South Korean ministries work closely together.

South Korea is currently the fourteenth largest economy in the world and for Germany, after China and Japan, the third most important sales market in Asia. The country is one of the world market leaders in technology fields such as digital electronics, liquid crystal displays (LCD) and microchips.

South Korea offers a wide range of opportunities for German companies. A research cooperation can bring added value for both sides and facilitate market entry, especially in technology-intensive areas such as automotive and shipbuilding, electronics, medical technology, biotechnology and environmental technology, plant construction or the chemical industry.

Building a “creative economy” is one of the main goals of the government of South Korea. This is to be achieved, among other things, by promoting innovative small and medium-sized companies. Germany is seen as a role model here. So far, a large part of South Korean research and development has taken place disproportionately often in the large industrial conglomerates, so-called chaebols such as Samsung or LG.

The internationalization of science and research is of great importance in South Korea. The very well-equipped research infrastructure and new funding programs aimed specifically at foreigners are intended to attract international science and foreign investments. The expansion of vocational training is also a declared goal of the South Korean government and is being promoted with the support of the BMBF.

Regular exchange at government level

An important basis for bilateral cooperation is the agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of South Korea on scientific and technological cooperation from 1986. Since 2007, WTZ meetings (KGCCSIT - Korean German Cooperation Committee on Science and Industrial Technology Meetings) to coordinate the cooperation activities. On the South Korean side, the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) are involved.

A variety of programs and projects

The intensity of research relations with South Korea has increased significantly in recent years. The BMBF alone funded over 280 projects between German and South Korean scientists between 2007 and 2019. The focus of the cooperation was in the areas of life sciences, information and communication technology, nanotechnology, materials research, physical and chemical technology, environmental research as well as marine and polar research.

Germany has a particular interest in working with South Korea. This can be seen, among other things, in the fact that the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has been running its own research institute under German law with the KIST-Europe branch in Saarbrücken since 1996.

South Korea actively participates in calls for tenders under the EU framework program for research and innovation Horizon 2020, especially in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT), health, energy, climate change and satellite navigation. Research institutions from South Korea generally do not receive any European funding. However, the Korean government provides co-financing across the entire range of topics. From 2014 to January 2020, Horizon 2020 recorded a total of 84 projects with South Korean participation. 57 of these projects also had German participation.

In addition, South Korea was accepted as an associated country in the EU program EUREKA in June 2009. Since July 2018 it has had the status of a "EUREKA partner country". The country is involved in a growing number of EUREKA projects and is now also leading the project consortium in several cases.

South Korea is also a member of EUROSTARS. The 1 + 1 rule has applied in the EUROSTARS 2 program since 2014. For South Korea this means that it can participate in a bilateral consortium, provided the other partner is from a EUROSTARS member country. In addition, South Korea can take over the project management.

ADeKo - The Germany-Korea Alumni Network

The Association of South Korean Germany Alumni, founded in May 2008, is a network of South Koreans who have studied or researched in Germany. The members include high-ranking representatives from South Korean politics and science who promote the strengthening of relations between the two countries on a scientific, economic, political and cultural level. The establishment of ADeKo was funded by the BMBF until 2015.