South Korea plans to increase public spending on artificial intelligence and renewable energy, as core sectors of research and development.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced its 2020 investment guidelines, which aim to make public spending on science more efficient, and increase positive social impact.
In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the ministry added AI and renewable energies to its key areas of R&D, along with driverless cars, fine dust reduction technology, and smart infrastructure.
Such technology is deemed crucial, especially with South Korea soon to become the first country in the world to commercialise 5G for regular consumers.
Given the ongoing fine dust problem on the peninsula, the ministry plans to work with the private sector to expand investment in technology to lower the environmental impact from chemicals, as well as reduce air pollution.
Other areas of investment include technology related to agriculture, aerospace, disaster response and defense.
South Korea is one of the world's biggest spenders in R&D, coming fifth in terms of total annual spending, and ranking first in terms of the amount relative to GDP.
Investment has grown from some 2.8 billion dollars in 1990 to 61 billion in 2016.
The number of researchers topped 460-thousand in 2016, nearly three times the number of about twenty years ago.
While investing in new technology, the ministry also plans to ramp up investment in basic science research, to 2.2 billion U.S., dollars, up from the 1.five billion allotted this year.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.