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India, South Korea sign five MoUs in S&T; prominence given to biotech collaborations

In the area of biotechnology, New Delhi and Seoul have agreed to extend cooperation in health and medicine, agro-fishery products, developing environmental and energy sectors through bio-technology, big data biotechnology; bio-research resources; synthetic biology, genome editing and microbiomes, etc.

By Team ABLE

In a significant collaborative move, India and South Korea have signed five MoUs in the field of Science & Technology. Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan and his South Korean counterpart, Mr. You Young Min signed three MoUs for (i) Programme of Cooperation 2018-21; (ii) Establishment of Future Strategy Group; (iii) Cooperation in Biotechnology & Bioeconomy.

The MoU on Establishment of Future Strategy Group was signed by Indian Science & Technology and Commerce Ministers, while on the Korean side, it was signed by Science and ICT and Trade Ministers.

Two other MoUs were signed between Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and South Korean National Research Council for Science & Technology and IIT Mumbai and Korea Institute of Science & Technology, to further accelerate future-oriented cooperation in their respective sectors. The MoUs were signed at the conclusion of the 4th India-Korea Science & Technology Ministers Steering Committee Meeting.

In his opening remarks, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “India can lead the newly industrializing countries in developing and adopting affordable technologies and processes, and demonstrate a growth path and low energy consumption pattern that would be more sustainable than that of the industrial countries.”
On his part, Mr You Young Min appreciated India’s self-reliance in science and technology, especially in the R&D sector and said that both the countries could bring synergy between Korea’s strong manufacturing base and India’s pre-eminence in basic sciences and software sector.

The two Ministers reviewed bilateral S&T cooperation between the two countries since the last meeting of the Steering Committee at Seoul in November 2015. Both Ministers agreed to establish Indo-Korean Center for Research and Innovation (IKCRI) in India, which will act as the hub for systematic operation and management of all cooperative programs in research and innovation between the two countries including innovation & entrepreneurship and technology transfer.

The Ministers also agreed to establish a Future Strategic Group, which will build a collaborative platform that can utilize the potential of both the countries towards fostering innovation and create impact which is of social and economic good. To begin with, both sides will be co-funding collaborative enterprise-led joint R&D projects covering (i) Digital Transformation (ii) Future Manufacturing (iii) Future Utilities and (iv) Health Care.

It was also agreed to jointly establish two additional India-Korea Joint Network Centres in areas among ‘Cyber Physical System- Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things focused on agriculture, energy, water and transportation and ‘Semiconductor Electronics’. These centres will leverage existing infrastructure and funding available from the partners on both sides in focused applied research areas, which have potential towards technology development.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Government of India and the Government of the Republic of Korea in the field of Biotechnology, Bio-economy, Science and Technology at Hotel Royal Plaza in the presence of Dr Harsh Vardhan Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India and Mr. You Young-Min, Hon’ble Minister Science & ICT, Government of Republic of Korea. One of the major objectives of this MoU is to expand and develop bilateral/multilateral relations and cooperation in the field of Science and Technology and in the area of Biotechnology.

Honorable Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan acknowledged the network areas like agriculture, water, biofuel, bioeconomy and basic research during India-South Korea S&T Ministerial Steering Committee meeting. Honorable Union Minister further added that India has taken proactive steps in advancing bilateral cooperative relationship with South Korea.

In the area of biotechnology, New Delhi and Seoul have agreed to extend cooperation in health and medicine, agro-fishery products developed with the adoption of biotechnology; environment-related challenges and developing environmental and energy sectors through bio-technology, big data biotechnology; bio-research resources; synthetic biology, genome editing and microbiomes, etc.
Honorable Union Minister in his address during the Ministerial Steering Committee meeting mentioned that India can lead the newly developed economy in the world. The present GoI has taken proactive steps to promote innovations, which are translative too.

South Korea’s Biotech Innovation Ecosystem is technically advanced and commercially well-established. It can potentially offer globally competitive products, technological platform, facilitation of innovative culture in Biotechnological field, relevant expertise and access to mature market opportunities in the area of Health, Pharma, Med-Tech devices, Industrial biotechnology, Food, Nutrition, Waste management, Cosmetics, Energy and allied areas.

There are Provincial Innovation Hubs that promote Bio incubation, Start-ups, SMEs, and operate with similar mandate. Some of the noticeable provincial examples include Gyeonggi, Busan, Seoul, Chungcheongbuk, Daegu etc. Like States in India, these provinces also compete with each other to reflect the impact of innovation, start-ups and SMEs in improvement in GDP, and growth of industrial sector.
Ministry of S&T, Government of India will consider engaging South Korea in research and development in the area of Biotechnology through collaboration between BIRAC and KHIDI and/or Provincial level similar agencies with the objective of providing a boost to our Biotech Innovation Ecosystem through:
Global competitiveness of Incubators, Innovator Start-ups and the ecosystem
Exchange of innovators into respective Bio-incubators & Bio-clusters.
Access to international experts, mentors and investment opportunities
Exchange of best practices in facilitating Innovators, Incubation centres, Research Parks

Allied areas of mutual interest.

Both countries renewed the Program of Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology for 2018-21 to augment the cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation.

Mr You Young Min is part of the official delegation accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who arrived in New Delhi on July 8th on a three-day visit.