S. Korea picks sites for $4.7bn science belt

May 16, 2011
A general view of Daejeon City taken in March 2001. South Korea on Monday announced sites for its $4.76 billion "science belt" designed to help Asia's fourth-largest economy take the lead in cutting-edge technologies. Daedeok district in the city of Daejeon will be the main base for the development, said Education, Science and Technology Minister Lee Ju-Ho.

South Korea on Monday announced sites for its $4.76 billion "science belt" designed to help Asia's fourth-largest economy take the lead in cutting-edge technologies.

Daedeok district in the city of Daejeon, 120 kilometres (72 miles) south of Seoul, will be the main base for the development, said Education, Science and Technology Minister Lee Ju-Ho.

The government plans to inject 5.2 trillion won ($4.76 billion) into the project to build scientific infrastructure by 2017.

Daedeok will have key research facilities such as the National Basic Science Institute and a , used for research into the composition of matter.

The institute is expected to control 50 "site laboratories" manned by up to 3,000 scientists who will carry out research in various fields. Half will be in Daejeon and nearby areas, with the rest split among other cities.

Daedeok will become a global hub for basic scientific research, minister Lee said, and help South Korea become a world technology leader.

Technology universities in other provinces will take part in cooperative science projects led by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and (KAIST) in Daejeon, he said.

The science belt was a key campaign pledge of President Lee Myung-Bak in 2007.

Daedeok was favoured by many scientists but other regional governments had competed to host the science institute.

"I hope the science belt will contribute to the promotion of and become the future of our nation," Lee told aides, according to his office.

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