SMEs to enjoy 50% tax exemption for gains from tech transfer

Small and medium-sized enterprises will get a 50 percent tax exemption from income earned by technology transfer from January next year at the earliest. A company that takes over or merges with a venture firm will also be exempted from corporate tax by a certain ratio.

The Science, ICT and Future Planning Ministry announced “Measures to galvanize private sector R&D investment” at the 3rd National Science and Technology Council meeting on Friday. The measures are meant to improve the current situation of lackluster R&D by SMEs, with the number of companies running affiliated R&D centers only accounting for 0.8 percent (26,381 firms) of the SMEs in Korea. For starters, tax benefits will increase. SMEs will enjoy a 50 percent exemption in corporate tax or income tax for gains from technology transfer. If this policy, which was revoked in 2005, is reinstated, 540 SMEs stand to benefit.

If a company takes over or merges with a venture firm, or “technology innovation firm,” which invests more than 5 percent of its sales in R&D, the former will enjoy corporate tax exemption amounting to 10 percent of the value of technology concerned. If the two firms are not in special relationship, the company that is taken over will be exempt from transfer tax.

For full article, see Dong-a Ilbo.

PET-MRI made in Korea

Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial
Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial

The joint research team (KAIST, Sogang University and Seoul National University) with KAIST Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Professor Kyu-Sung Cho in charge, together with National Nanofab Institution (NNFC; Director Jae-Young Lee), has developed PET-MRI simultaneous imaging system with domestic technology only. The team successfully acquired brain images of 3 volunteers with the newly developed system.

PET-MRI is integrated state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that combines the advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that shows anatomical images of the body and Position Emission Tomography (PET) that analyses cell activity and metabolism. Since the anatomical information and functional information can be seen simultaneously, the device can be used to diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is essential in biological science research, such as new medicine development.

The existing equipment used to take MRI and PET images separately due to the strong magnetic field generated by MRI and combine the images. Hence, it was time consuming and error-prone due to patient’s movement. There was a need to develop PET that functions within a magnetic field to create a simultaneous imaging system.

For full article, see KAIST.

KAIST developed ultra-low power 100 Gbps ethernet IC

2013_11_terasquareData centers can consume up to 100 times more energy than a standard office building. Data center energy consumption doubled from 2000 to 2006, reaching more than 60 billion kilowatt hours per year. If the current usage and technology trends continue, the energy consumption of data centers in the US will reach 8% of the country’s total electric power consumption by 2020.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Terasquare, Inc. (, a spin-off company of the university, developed an extremely low-powered integrated circuit for Ethernet that consumes less than 0.75W of electricity but is able to send and receive data at the high speed of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). The research team, headed by Hyeon-Min Bae, assistant professor of electrical engineering at KAIST, claims that the new microchip uses only one-third of the electricity consumed by the currently installed chips at data centers, thereby helping the centers to save energy.

For full article, see KAIST.

R&D investment by Korean firms

2013_11_RnDinvest korea

Korean firms’ investment in research and development leans toward the electronics sector, reaching 46.6 percent of total R&D spending in 2011, according to a report by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning. But the levels of investment in the high-tech industries of aerospace technology, pharmaceuticals and machinery stalled at 0.2 percent, 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Source: Korea Herald.

Korea gets poor marks in open data

2013_11_opendataKorea lags behind some other advanced countries in the openness of data collected by the government, according to an England-based nonprofit organization.  A recent survey of 77 countries by the World Wide Web Foundation gave Korea 54.21 points out of 100 in its Open Data Barometer, which made it the 12th most transparent country among those surveyed.

The United Kingdom topped the list at 100, followed by the United States at 93.38 points and Sweden at 85.75 points. It is the first time the organization, established by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, conducted the survey. The scores, according to the organization, combine an assessment of the countries’ readiness regarding open data policy, as well as how well it implements the policy and how much of an impact it has on society.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korean Government boosts its goals for space

2013_11_map_to_spaceKorea plans to launch an exploratory lunar probe aboard its own launch vehicle by June 2020 and later embark on missions to Mars and asteroids by 2040, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced yesterday.This represents a revision of the space development blueprint that moves up the time frame of the lunar landing mission and outlines a budget and other long-term space plans.

The advancement of Korea’s space program is one of President Park Geun-hye’s key pledges in line with other projects aimed at fostering the sciences and engineering fields. Initially, the development of the space launch vehicle, or rocket, was scheduled for September 2021 with a budget of 1.545 trillion won ($1.45 billion). The ministry pushed up the schedule by one year and three months, and boosted the budget to 1.957 trillion won.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

KAIST developed technology for flexible, foldable & rechargeable battery


Flexible, foldable & rechargeable battery. Source: KAIST.

The research group of professors Jang-Wook Choi & Jung-Yong Lee from the Graduate School of EEWS and Taek-Soo Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST has developed technology for flexible and foldable batteries which are rechargeable using solar energy. The research result was published in the online issue of Nano Letters on November 5.

Trial versions of flexible and wearable electronics are being developed and introduced in the market such as Galaxy Gear, Apple’s i-Watch, and Google Glass. Research is being conducted to make the batteries softer and more wearable and to compete in the fast-growing market for flexible electronics.

This new technology is expected to be applied to the development of wearable computers as well as winter outdoor clothing since it is flexible and light. The research group expects that the new technology can be applied to current battery production lines without additional investment. Professor Choi said, “It can be used as a core-source technology in the rechargeable battery industry in the future. Various wearable mobile electronic products can be developed through cooperation and collaboration within the industry.”

Source: KAIST.


Korea launches new science satellite


South Korea on Thursday successfully launched a new science satellite, beginning a two-year mission to search for clues about the evolution of the universe.  The Science and Technology Satellite-3, or STSAT-3, blasted off at 1:10 p.m. aboard a Dnepr launch vehicle from the Yasny launch base in southern Russia near the border with Kazakhstan.

The three-stage, liquid-fueled Russian launcher sent the 170 kilogram satellite into orbit approximately 600 kilometers above sea level. The launch vehicle “successfully released the STSAT-3 into our target orbit around Earth exactly 929 seconds after lift-off,” the launch team in Russia said.

“It’s a great relief after all the things we’ve been through to prepare this moment, over the past seven years,” Rhee Seung-wo, the STSAT-3 program manager told The Korea Herald.  Controllers confirmed that initial contact with the satellite was made at 2:40 p.m., 89 minutes after lift-off at a ground station in Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

South Korea’s STSAT-3 satellite is placed on Russia’s Dnepr launch vehicle at Yasny base in southern Russia on Thursday. (Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning)



SK Hynix producing slimmer NAND

S2013_11_NANDflashK Hynix announced yesterday it has started to mass produce an enhanced version of the world’s thinnest NAND flash memory chip. The company developed the 16-nanometer, 64GB multilevel cell NAND flash chip in the first half of the year.

The new version, which is 10 percent thinner, went into production last month, the company said yesterday, adding that production of the initial version of the chip began in June. It is the first company in the world to mass produce the 16-nanometer 64G MLC NAND flash chip. Micron Semiconductor of the United States said it developed the chip in June.

The Korean company, which is the world’s second-largest company in the overall computer memory chip market, also said yesterday it has developed a 128GB MLC chip, the highest capacity so far. The company plans to start producing the chip next year.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korea’s high-tech miracle comes of age

2013_11_LTE-patentsIn 1981, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, then a little-known 4-year-old publicly funded think tank, won a 24 billion won ($22.6 million) government project to develop a telephone transmitting and receiving system called time-division exchange (TDX). Most state initiatives at the time – except those to augment the defense against North Korea – were less than 1 billion won, so the institute researchers in charge of the pricey project had to sign a resolution.

“We will do our best to develop TDX, and if we fail, we will brace for any punishment,” read the document, still kept at the Daejeon-based institute. Partly inspired by ambition to succeed, but possibly driven by fear under the military regime of President Chun Doo Hwan, the efforts bore fruit, making Korea the 10th country to develop the system.

“Few believed a nation that lacked experience with large R&D projects could succeed in developing a technology possessed by only a handful of advanced countries,” says Chong Kil-ho, director of ETRI, speaking of the system that allowed calls to be made simultaneously. “We got a lot of confidence from it.”

Building on that confidence, the institute went on to develop several other state-of-the-art technologies, including code division multiple access, which later became a standard of global wireless telecommunication. The institute was the first in the world to develop it and received 350 billion won in royalties from Qualcomm over several years.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.