International Cooperation



20 September 2017

10 years of EU - Korea research and innovation cooperation

Photo from the meeting
Group picture of the Korean and EU representatives

The EU-Republic of Korea Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation met in Brussels on 20 September under the co-chairmanship of European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, and Vice-Minister, Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea, Lee Jin-gyu.

The meeting marked the 10th anniversary of the Science and Technology cooperation agreement between the EU and the Republic of Korea, and the chairs expressed their contentment with the substantial progress made in a range of common priority areas such as ICT, energy, health, and nanotechnologies.

At the meeting both sides reaffirmed commitments to deepen, scale up and open new opportunities for cooperation in strategic areas of mutual benefit. EU-Republic of Korea cooperation will be strongly encouraged on an extended range of topics such as 5G technologies and systems, nanoelectronics, nanosafety, clean energy innovation, automated driving systems, disaster-resilient societies and polar research.

There was also agreement to continue efforts to support the best possible framework conditions for cooperation such as ensuring co-funding of projects and co-organising awareness-raising and partnering events.

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Policy Dialogue

Korea and the EU play a key role in the areas of Science, Research and Innovation at an international level and cooperation in these domains constitutes a key element of the overall Partnership.

The Agreement on the Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Korea entered into force in April 2007 as a demonstration of strong commitment to formalise and reinforce cooperation. Since then, cooperation has developed with a strong focus on key thematic areas and growing potential appeared such as in regards to mobility of researchers.

Building on their existing relations, the EU and Korea established a more structured policy dialogue, identifying priorities to enhancing cooperation and launching activities based on mutual benefit and balanced reciprocity.

Within the second EU-KOREA Cooperation Roadmap in Science, Technology and Innovation (2011 - 2013), both parties decided to focus on key priority topics such as:

  • Nanosciences, Materials and Production: nano-safety, manufacturing and critical materials,
  • Information and Communication Technologies: Future and Emerging Technologies, Future Internet and robotics to grapheme technologies,
  • Energy (non-nuclear): diversify energy sources, limit dependence on fossil fuels, reduce CO2 emissions and enhance their energy efficiency,
  • Researchers Mobility , and,
  • International Cooperation

A network of EU centres in Korean universities has been established in order to promote a greater understanding of the EU institutions and policies by developing a broad of activities ranging from teaching programmes to research, as well as outreach activities related to the EU and its policies. In South Korea four centres have been set-up providing financial support and encouraging scholars and researchers in the field of EU-related studies by organising and hosting domestic and international conferences and seminars. These also foster relations between researchers working on EU-related issues in South Korea itself.

Review of the S&T agreement between the European Union & the Republic of Korea
The S&T agreement was evaluated after its initial 5-year period and the main recommendations of this report are:

  1. To move from a short-term approach to S&T cooperation, to a more ambitious approach based on a long-term vision and clear jointly developed roadmaps that rely on reciprocal measures and the mutual opening of programmes.
  2. To intensify policy dialogue to include the full spectrum of Korean and European actors necessary for the development of priority domains including in basic science.
  3. To involve industry so as to reap the full benefit of the Free Trade Agreement, for example by increasing joint participation in test-beds and the development of standards for emerging technologies.



Korean entities participated 65 times in FP7 signed grant agreements. 153 Korean researchers have been funded through the Marie Curie Actions and Korean institutions have participated in 14 projects. An FP support action, KONNECT, is helping the coordination of specific activities, such as networking events by thematic area, twinning events, training of National Contact Points, and preparation of strategic reports. In Euratom FP7 and FP7+2, there have been 5 Korean participations in Fission projects, while the number of bilateral Fusion collaborative activities have reached about 35 collaborative activities.

Several initiatives to intensify and strengthen the regional S&T cooperation between Korea and the European Research Area (ERA) were launched during FP7. KORANET (Korean Scientific Cooperation Network with the European Research Area) lead to successful joint pilot programs and key projects, and KORRIDOR and KESTCAP produced key studies (see below).

  • An Initiative to Intensify and Strengthen the Regional S&T-Cooperation between Korea and the ERA (KorA-Net) aims at strengthening the ERA by integrating national and European S&T schemes through International Cooperation in S&T with Korea, with a specific focus on existing "Competency Networks". This project has produced interesting joint studies, i.e. an inventory of S&T cooperation programmes EU-Korea analysing the degree and the pattern of internationalisation in S&T of various KORANET member countries and providing information on Korea's participation in multilateral EU and international collaboration programmes.
  • Stimulating and facilitating the participation of European researchers in Korean R&D programmes (KORRIDOR) aims to widen and strengthen the RTD cooperation between Korea and the EU in the area of common research interests by opening up access opportunities for European research groups in Korean national research and/or innovation programmes, providing information on existing access opportunities and analysing, quantitatively and qualitatively, the participation of European researchers in the Korean RTD programmes.
  • Korea-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Advancement Programme (KESTCAP) provide a platform to strengthen the S&T agreement between Korea and the EU and improve this cooperation by identifying S&T fields of common interests of Korea and the EU, set up a website and information help desks to respond to specific inquiries on existing opportunities and available funding instruments; contribute to the Korea-EU policy dialogue on science, technology, and innovation.



Framework documents

Background documents


European Commission
DG Research and Innovation
Michael Arentoft
Policy Officer - R&I Relations with Korea
Unit RTD C 1 - Policy Coordination, EFTA and Enlargement countries, Russia, Asia and Pacific
Tel. (+32) 229 63886
Michael Arentoft
Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea
Ju Young Kim (S&T)
Yumi Chung (S&T)
16th Floor, S-Tower, 116 Shinmoonro 1-ka, Chongro-ku, Seoul, Korea
Telephone (Direct): (+82) 2 3704 1755
Telephone (Central): (+82) 2 3704 1700
Fax: (+82) 2 3735 1211
Ju Young Kim (S&T)
Yumi Chung (S&T)

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