President Park seeks opportunities from aging society, climate change

President Park Geun-hye and her science and technology advisers gathered on this Thursday… to talk about specific plans… to create new growth engines… that could lead to job creation. Other challenges, like Korea's aging society and climate change, were also up for discussion. Our Choi You-sun has more. Because of the aging, global population and growing health concerns, President Park's science and technology advisory council expects there to be rising demand for bio-related industries over the next 20 years. While the government's increased R&D investments have helped the nation emerge as a world-leading developer of new medicine, not enough of the research results are being commercialized. Pledging to make Korea one of the world's top seven bio-strong nations by 2020, the president's advisers proposed supporting Korean firms that specialize in biosimilar medicine so they can enter the global niche market, as a number of innovative drugs are close to their patent expiration.

They also talked about investing more in commercializing stem cell and gene treatments, and utilizing Korea's leading IT and molecular diagnostic technologies to develop state-of-the-art medical equipment. There were suggestions of streamlining red tape in the bio-related industries, such as simplifying the approval process for medicinal and medical equipment treatments, which currently take up to three years,… and reducing it to 80 days. On the subject of tackling climate change, the science ministry vowed to expand R&D investments in renewable energy-related technologies, such as solar and fuel cells, and bio energy to two billion U.S. dollars by 2020. The energy ministry put forth energy project models, including a so-called "negawatt" of making a profit from saved electricity, designed to spur private investments and create jobs.

Lastly, the land ministry suggested easing regulations and offering tax support to boost construction of self-sufficient zero-energy buildings that minimize energy usage through insulation. Choi You-sun, Arirang News..