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Consistent policy vital for sustainable scientific development: Daejeon mayor

The Daejeon Metropolitan City said Thursday the central government should roll out a consistent and sustainable science development policy to foster the country's competitiveness in technologies.

"Daejeon is a home to various research labs. But there has been no groundbreaking progress due to sluggish progress in the science business belt project," Daejeon Mayor Kwon Sun-taik told Yonhap News Agency.

The city, which emerged as the hub of the country's science research, especially after hosting the world exposition in 1993, was tapped as the key region for the science business belt in 2009.

The International Science and Business Belt project calls for a 5.7 trillion-won (US$4.4 billion) investment by 2021, and plans to create massive research complexes of world-class institutes and facilities, such as the Institute for Basic Science.

But the process also faced hurdles over previous months surrounding the budget issues, with the project resuming its development only recently.

"Daejeon can rise as the true science hub only after the establishment of the Institute for Basic Science and the accelerator," Kwon said, adding the government should promptly make full-fledged efforts.

The rare isotope accelerator that can be utilized for various areas, including medical and atomic power generation, will also be built in Daejeon.

The mayor, meanwhile, hoped that the latest meeting of science ministers around the globe in Daejeon will beef up the city's efforts to rise as the hub of research and development.

"Basic science has been isolated from the country's industrial policies. But the event has suggested there is a connection between basic science and the creative economy," Kwon said. "It showed that basic science can contribute to the local economy."

During the event, representatives of the OECD and ASEAN members shared ideas on the role of science in overcoming common global issues, with South Korea promoting the creative economy policy as a solution to achieve the vision.

The creative economy calls for generating new growth opportunities through merging different industries, especially through science technology.

The city added it will provide foreign investors with business support, including tax cuts, and continue opening various events to promote Daejeon overseas.

It will also continue fostering the Daejeon-led World Technopolis Association, which brings together different cities with a similar nature around the globe to promote science development.

"It marked the first time for the OECD science ministerial meeting to be held outside Paris. And more significantly, it was not held in the capital but in Daejeon. We will continue efforts to lead the global science policies," Kwon added. (Yonhap)

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