August 03, 2009 11:38
A new proposal that could place Korea among the top five countries in stem cell research has been presented. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is aiming to boost Korea's ranking in the field by 2015 through securing world-class technology and expanding infrastructure. Currently, based on a number of academic journals and patents, the United States is ranked at the top followed by Japan, the U.K., Germany and France.
To achieve this goal the government plans to increase its yearly investment of US$33 million in stem cell research to $98 million by 2015. It is striving to establish at least five world-class research teams in the stem cell field. Starting next year, 20 teams will be supported by $400,000-800,000 per year for two years, and after an evaluation the 10 most successful teams will receive up to $1.6 million per year for the next three years. Currently Korea's total investment in the biotech sector amounts to some $980 million.
However the country's investment in stem cell research makes up a mere 3.4 percent of its total investment in biotechnology. That is only 1/30 of America's yearly investment in its stem cell research, which explains why Korea's competitiveness in technology has been stalled between 12th and 14th place in world rankings for the last few years.
An official at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology forecasts the global stem cell market which stood at $6.9 billion in 2005 will jump to $32 billion in 2012 seeing a 25 percent yearly growth.
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