The Ministry of Future Creation and Science, the tentative name for a new ministry formed by integrating two former ministries ― one for science and technology and the other for information and communication ― is expected to be one of the key pillars of the Park Geun-hye administration.
From early on in her campaign, Park emphasized that one of her core election pledges would be to sharpen the nation’s science and technology edge.
The new ministry is consequently expected to be the vehicle for Park to realize these ideas, her aides said following the transition committee’s announcement on Tuesday.
“The newly created ministry on future creation and science is expected to serve the role of being a control tower for all issues related to science and technology,” said Shim Jae-chul, a representative of the ruling Saenuri Party.
He said it seemed that the president-elect and her incoming government were seeking ways to overcome the current rough patch in the economy by focusing on areas Korea has excelled in, such as information and communications technology ― most commonly known as ICT.
Names like Samsung and LG continue to yield much international recognition in the global IT sector. However, experts have long pointed out that the nation’s competitiveness in science and related areas has yet to catch up, mainly due to a lack of effective policies.
To address these shortcomings, the Park government has pledged to renew the focus on ICT by naming a vice minister who will exclusively take care of such issues.
“The bureau in charge of ICT may stand alone as an independent department run by a separate vice minister, or it may be that a vice minister of another ministry will concurrently deal with related issues,” said Yoo Min-bong, chief of planning and coordination on state affairs.
Under President Lee Myung-bak, three government agencies ― Korea Communication Commission, Ministry of Public Administration and Security and Ministry of Knowledge Economy ― have handled ICT issues.
Political watchers, meanwhile, expect the new government to name two vice ministers under the newly created ministry on future and science, with one responsible for future strategies and the other, information and communication.
The two vice ministers are also expected to yield unprecedented authority over deputies, mostly due to the importance of the issues they will handle, the observers said.
In terms of budget, the new ministry is likely to be allotted a budget of over 20 trillion won for the nation’s research and development projects.
By Kim Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org