Relationship between Theory and Practice
Relationship between Theory and Practice
  • Reporter Park Tae-yoon
  • 승인 2012.11.21 23:10
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The Postech Times met Son, Byoung-Ho, the director general of Office of Future Strategy in KISTEP (Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning.)
<Editor's Comment>

Society and technology are interrelated. Technologies that are disconnected with society are not readily available even if the level of these technologies in various fields has been remarkable and innovative. What effects will determinations of scientific and technological policies have on the advancement of technology and science?
The ultimate objective of technology and science is to enrich people’s lives. In other words, technology and science are evolving with the society of the world. Therefore, it is important to ponder how technology affects society. Policies could apply theory to practice. For instance, scientific and technological policies contributed to rapid economic growth in the past and put in a great deal of efforts to improve the quality of life these days. As they need to promptly meet the needs of the times, people who decide on policies think of potential changes in future and develop special strategies to deal with such changes.

What are the roles of KISTEP?
The National Science and Technology Commission (NSTC) is the presidential administrative committee that directs and establishes scientific and technological policies. The NSTC also distributes, adjusts, and estimates budgets related to those policies. KISTEP is exclusively responsible for executing policy. Specifically, KISTEP surveys, analyzes, and evaluates national R&D programs in the area of science and technology while providing support for coordination and distribution of R&D budgets. In addition, KISTEP significantly influences future visions of science and technology. KISTEP will put our utmost effort into developing into an even more specialized institution trusted by the people to maintain impartiality and objectivity.

What determines priority in establishing new scientific and technological policies?
In planning and establishing policies, it is important to foresee the changes of future and to look at this change from various viewpoints. This is related to setting the developmental direction of science and technology. All work has progressed nicely since the goal and direction was set. However, setting goal and direction is difficult to do alone. KISTEP tries to properly analyze trends of future society and anticipate big issues of the future. In other words, KISTEP predicts the changing shape of future society and concretely analyze issues resulting from these changes. In addition, KISTEP advises about direction of policies through the analysis of demand.

What are the limitations and problems in establishing policies?
These days, changes and issues surrounding us are more structurally twisted and complicated. For example, European financial crisis is not because of financial circumstance of one country. Cultural, political, and geopolitical causes around the world are involved in this matter. Therefore, solutions to the social problems are proving elusive but are of utmost importance now. When we suggest policies of science and technology, we consider other policies such as economic, industrial, environmental, and health policies. In KISTEP, various experts, including sociologists, humanists, scientists, and engineers, gather and are concerned about policies.

What do you think about scientific and technological policies of Korea?
Korea has achieved rapid economic development over the last quarter century and became the 11th largest economy in the world. In addition, Korea has grown nearly at the level of advanced countries through scientific and technological policies. Korea has been the fourth country to apply international patent application and 11th country to publish the paper of Science Citation Index (SCI) class in the world. The international status of Korea has improved in the last few years as Korea chaired and hosted the G-20 in 2010. However, the quality of Korean papers is inferior to that of other advanced countries. Korean potential economic growth rates have been falling regularly. Therefore, there is a need for a paradigm shift from catch-up to creative strategies. In addition, Korea makes efforts to obtain satisfactory results and strives to secure an outstanding work force.
I wonder how KISTEP prepares to develop science and technology of Korea.
As KISTEP is the global institution specializing in planning and evaluation for the creation of future value from science and technology, we put in a great deal of effort. First, KISTEP concentrates on finding an anticipative agenda and proposing a practical alternative about future. Second, KISTEP contributes to improving the efficiency of R&D budgets, to the sum of around 16 trillion KRW per year.Third, KISTEP develops global competence for innovations in science and technology.