Gov’t to spend $2.08 bn on R&D in 2013

The South Korean government will spend nearly 2.2 trillion won ($2.08 billion) on research and development (R&D) activities this year, with a nearly half of its entire budget earmarked for basic science, the government said Monday. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) will spend a total of 2.19 trillion won on R&D this year, up 6.4 percent from 2012. Of these, 993.1 billion won will be spent on the development of basic science with another 469.1 billion won earmarked for the development of new, indigenous technologies.

The government will also spend some 266.2 billion won on its nuclear power research program, 202.3 billion won on research of nuclear fusion and accelerator, 167.3 billion won on space development and 93.5 billion won on global introduction of its science and technologies. The money earmarked for the development of basic science increased 1.9 percent from a year ago.

For full article see Maeil Business.



Science-art schools to be built in 2 cities

Incheon and Sejong City will see new types of high schools for gifted students to allow them to receive cross-disciplinary education in science and the arts, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said. The new “Science and Arts School for the Gifted” will be established in the two cities in the next three to four years, according to the ministry. The ministry said it will allow the new schools to educate talented students who both have scientific creativity and artistic sensibilities.

The school will be the first to converge the two fields of study. It will run a separate curriculum from other specialized schools. The curriculum will be called STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The goal of the school is to provide science and technology education as well as arts and liberal arts studies. It will include intensive education in the history of science civilization, engineering and communication. The rest of the curriculum will be similar to other science schools.

For fill article, see Korea Times.

Scientists develop fast recharging material for lithium-ion batteries

A group of South Korean scientists has developed a new material for a secondary or rechargeable battery that can be fully recharged in just a matter of minutes, the science ministry said Monday. The development of such a battery could significantly raise the popularity of electric vehicles whose lithium-ion batteries currently take hours to recharge, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Conventional batteries use only powdered nanoparticle materials to form a dense, multi-layered structure that can store and give off energy. The new battery, on the other hand, uses the same type of nanoparticle materials that are first resolved in a solution that contains graphite, which later is carbonized to form a dense network of conductors all throughout the electrodes of the battery, the ministry said.

As a result, all energy-holding particles of the new battery start recharging simultaneously while the same particles in conventional batteries begin recharging in order from the outermost particles to the innermost.

For full article see Yonhap News.

South Korea set to launch multipurpose satellite

South Korea will launch a multipurpose satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera that can provide detailed meteorological observations of the earth from a Japanese space center next week, the government said Tuesday.

The Arirang 3 satellite is scheduled to lift off at 1:39 a.m. on May 18 from the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center located south of Kyushu Island, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

The satellite has an electro-optical camera with a resolution of around 70 centimeters that can give Seoul the ability to take precise pictures of weather front developments and the planet’s surface. The satellite is expected to stay operational for four years and can also be used to enhance national security, cope with natural disasters, better manage resources and monitor the environment.

The 980-kilogram satellite will be placed in a low orbit 685 kilometers from earth’s surface by Japan’s H-IIA rocket.

For full article see Yonhap News.

Nuclear Power: Report by EUCCK

Korea relies on nuclear energy for about 30 percent of its electricity needs, supplied by 23 active nuclear reactors. The government aims to increase that share to 40 percent by 2040.

Nuclear technology in Korea has been an integral part of the country’s socio-economic development over the past decades, and its evolution from an importer to a potential exporter of nuclear plants and nuclear technologies provides spin-offs to technological innovation as well as to the environmental benefits in terms of avoiding GHG and other pollution in the context of achieving sustainable development.

Nuclear activities in Korea were initiated in 1957 when Korea became a member of the IAEA. In 1959, the Office of Atomic Energy was established as a government organization in conformity with the global trend toward developing peaceful uses of atomic energy. The Atomic Energy Law was promulgated in the preceding year. The first nuclear reactor to achieve criticality in Korea was a small research unit in 1962.

Korea has carried out a very ambitious nuclear power program since the 1970’s in parallel with the nation’s industrialization policy, and has maintained a strong commitment to nuclear power development as an integral part of the national energy policy aimed at reducing external vulnerability and insuring against global fossil fuel shortage.

For full report see EUCCK Infomag.

Scientists develop stem cells that may help treat dementia

A joint research team from Korea and Germany said Friday they have created stem cells that have the potential to help treat people suffering from dementia and spinal cord trauma. Scientists from Konkuk University and the Max Planck Institute said they have successfully used somatic cells from mice to create so-called induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) that can be cultivated for over a year under laboratory conditions.

The iNSCs have also been injected into the brains of mice and differentiated into various nerve cells without growing into malignant tumors.

“The discovery marks the first time ordinary somatic cells have been artificially engineered to become adult stem cells,” said Han Dong-wook, a professor of stem cell biology at Konkuk, who led the research.

For full article see Korea Times.

Scientists find all-round cancer suppressing enzyme

Korean scientists said Sunday they have discovered an enzyme capable of suppressing growth of both solid tumors and blood cancers, opening up the possibility of treating the potentially fatal disease.

A research team led by An Sung-kwan, a microbial engineering professor at Seoul’s Konkuk University, said the Mulan E3 ligase effectively deals with the Akt protein, kinase which plays a key role in the growth and spread cancer in the body.

“The Mulan enzyme has been found to act as a powerful dissolver of Akt by utilizing the mitochondria in cells,” the team said. Mitochondria are “cellular power plants” that control cell differentiation, cell death, and cell growth.

For full article see Korea Times.

Scientists develop enhance container for hydrogen fuel

South Korean scientists have developed an enhanced material to contain hydrogen fuel that could significantly reduce the size of containers while holding more fuel, the government said Thursday.The new material could help speed up the development of hydrogen-fuel cars while improving the efficiency and overall competitiveness of such vehicles, as it will help reduce the size of fuel tanks, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The ministry partly funded the research by a team from Insilicotech, a local materials development company.

Existing hydrogen containers use microporous materials, which have small pores that hold hydrogen and are about 0.321 nanometer in diameter. The team successfully expanded the size of pores in the material to 0.8 nanometer by injecting pyridine molecules that work as pillars between layers of the porous material.

For full article see Yonhap News.

Along with e-learning and cloud computing, comes the advancement of smart learning

Dr. Kwak Duk-hoon, CEO of EBS and Chairman of Smart Learning Forum

Smart learning has become even more widespread as the number of smart phone subscribers has reached 20 million in October, 2011. This increase gives us a glimpse into what the future holds for this amazing technology. In our aging society, life expectancy can reach as old as 100 years and the demand for education is changing constantly according to age. Education becomes digitalized as information and communication technology evolves requiring further enhancement of the education system based on the demands of consumers from children to adults who want to receive lifelong education.

The combination of education and cloud computing has created the wind of change to the education system. Today, we live in a world of digital information, which makes us enjoy smart education unhindered by spatial or time restrictions. Smart education or smart learning is construed as the new education system emerging from the development of information and technology. We have come to the age of smart Learning after e-Learning (electronic Learning), m-Learning (mobile Learning), and u-Learning (ubiquitous Learning) developed in the onset of the21st century.

Dr. Kwak Duk-hoon, CEO of Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) in Korea and Chairman of Korean Smart Learning Forum, is the pioneer of smart learning and lifelong education. He is the fearless leader who led EBS to become the world’s best education media group and helped the country to learn more about the significance and vision of smart learning.

For full article and interview see Korea IT Times.

‘KARI, NASA discuss moon satellite launch’

Korea could launch a satellite to orbit the moon in collaboration with the U.S.’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A Korean daily reported Thursday that the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and NASA are discussing a collaborative lunar exploration project. According to the report, KARI and NASA held two rounds of talks with government officials in attendance last year, and plan to sign an agreement in March or April.

The report quoted NASA’s Belgacem Jaroux as saying that the two organizations plan to begin the project as soon as possible. According to the report, the project will involve two or three miniature satellites and require about $50 million. “It is true that talks are on the way, but whether or not the project will go ahead can only be decided once a budget has been assigned,” a KARI official said.

For full article see Korea Herald.