South Korean Government Appoints Five New Program Directors

Aug 12, 2019

South Korean Government appointed new program directors (PD) who are private experts that manage industry and energy R&D lifecycle. It appointed five PDs for secondary battery, root technology, design, smart manufacturing, and carbon and nano.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) had carried out a hiring process for new PDs since June and it selected five PDs for root technology, design, smart manufacturing, carbon and nano, and secondary battery after going through screening and evaluation. It is currently going through selection process for robot and fiber fields and corresponding PDs will be announced sometime next month.
PD is a private expert that effectively and systematically manages R&D lifecycle of MOTIE such as project planning, inspection on performance of tasks, and performance management. MOTIE introduced PD system, which is comprised of PDs from KEIT (Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology) and KETEP (Korea Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning), in 2009.
MOTIE partially adjusted areas that are in charge by PDs after considering rising new industries and changes in political environment.
First, it is going to have a PD designated for secondary battery field in order to strengthen support for secondary battery industry that is a promising industry. In the past, all PDs had shared responsibilities of this position. By appointing a designated PD for secondary battery field, there will be momentum in planning for next R&D projects. Senior Researcher Song Joon-ho of KETI (Korea Electronics Technology Institute) was appointed as the first PD for secondary battery field. He received a Doctor’s degree in Applied Chemistry from Seoul National University, had worked for a secondary battery active cathodic material manufacturer, and had done research on batteries while working for KETI before he became a PD.

South Korean Government Appoints Five New Program Directors

Director Ko Jae-jin of KETI was appointed as the PD for smart manufacturing field that will plan and push for R&D on smart manufacturing. He is an expert in embedded software (SW) that is necessary for connection between devices. To accelerate conversion process into digital manufacturing industry, MOTIE changed the name for this position from ‘industrial convergence PD’ to ‘smart manufacturing PD’ to plan large projects according to ‘Smart Manufacturing R&D Roadmap’ that is being established.
Current position for nano-convergence PD will now oversee carbon and nano fields as well in order to deal with plans for new projects related to policies on R&D of carbon. Department Head Choi Young-cheol of Korea Institute of Carbon Convergence Technology, who was appointed as the PD for carbon and nano fields, is seen as a perfect candidate who is well-versed in carbon and nano fields by working for Samsung SDI, Hanwha Nanotech, and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.
Aside from these positions, Lee Tae-lim, who used to work as a researcher for Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, and Senior Researcher Lee Byung-hyeon of KEIT were appointed as the PDs for design and root technology fields respectively.
By appointing a PD for secondary battery field, there are total of 31 industrial technology R&D PDs. While there are expectations that it will be now possible to plan new projects according to changes in policies stemming from adjustment of fields, some also point out that these newly appointed PDs contradict the initial purpose of R&D lifecycle system, which is to choose private experts with hands-on experiences, and lack hands-on experiences because most of their working experiences involve public agencies.
“While PDs who used to work for private companies have many years of experiences since they are generally appointed after their retirement, strength of PDs who used to work for public agencies is that they are relatively young.” said a representative for MOTIE. A representative for a R&D agency explained that PDs who used to work for public agencies will not lack hands-on experience since they work with representatives from various industries.
Staff Reporter Jung, Hyeonjung | iam@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Byun, Sanggeun | sgbyun@etnews.com

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