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Dr. Soo-Jeoung Sohn, Research Fellow
Date 2018.06.28 Hit 314
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Dr. Soo-Jeoung Sohn
Research Fellow
Division of Institutional Inno

Dr.Soo-Jeoung Sohn, a Research Fellow at STEPI majored in Economics, and has been conducting researches at the STEPI Institutional Innovation Research Division. She is now working as a researcher at the National Science and Technology Advisory Council. She has mainly studied the concept of Intellectual Property Right, linking R & D with IP, strengthening the growth of intellectual property, commercialization of intellectual property, and intellectual property financing. Recently, She is researching on technology commercialization and R & I that goes beyond intelligent property. She always pursues to live present as present. The following is an interview with her about the life as a researcher and her research activities.

 

 

 

 

 

How did you come to work at STEPI?
I became interested in Innovation in my thesis preparation process. As the graduation season approached, I naturally searched for research trends in Korea, and found out that STEPI is researching various topics related to innovation. So I became aware of the role of STEPI, and I thought that it would be interesting to be a researcher who creates government policies with topics of interest here. So when the opportunity came, I challenged it and became a member.

 

You studied mainly intellectual property. What was the reason? 
When choosing a doctoral thesis topic, my supervisor told me to take a look at weekly magazines such as the Economist and Business Week and some words might be in sight, and that I should start exploring research topics from that word. So the word that got me interested was 'License'. It was a somewhat unfamiliar subject for me, but it was about how to acquire rights and use pharmaceutical patents, copyrights, and design rights. It was particularly interesting that companies' licensing activities are going fast in areas such as pharmaceutical. So I completed the design of the game theory model using the keywords 'Patent', 'Innovation', and 'Imitation' as my thesis. Since then, I have seen commercialization of R & D and intellectual property that create intellectual property with the conviction that intellectual property is an important factor of economic growth. I hope that innovation can encompass all of these. When I joined here in 2005, I was asked what type of research topic I would like to take, and I presented 'Intellectual Property', which was the subject of my dissertation as the research topic, and I have continued researches related to it since then.

 

What was the most memorable thing for you while working as a researcher at STEPI?
It seems to be the most difficult question. I remember a lot of things I experienced while working on each project. They are all good memories that I discussed with colleagues, got advice from senior researchers, finished the tasks and reviewed the printed report. Maybe I will have to make more memories in the future.

 

What was the most rewarding experience while doing research activities?
Currently, Korea and Russia are negotiating on the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement and the Intellectual Property Rights Annex. It is a process of creating an agreement plan for science and technology cooperation and management of intellectual property between the two countries. We have already participated in the discussion four times over 8 years. In this process, there Russia tends to lead the negotiation for the benefit of their own, so I play a role to examine carefully not to conclude it in such a way. Of course, I hope we can get a visible achievement, but I am proud of myself that I am trying to lead this toward the right direction in the position of Korea.

 

What do you think is a good research result?
I don’t think the form of result is important. As a researcher who is a member of a research institute, I think we should start from keeping the basics that the organization requires us. We are given short-term tasks or other diverse research works to carry out every moment, and the most important thing is to conduct such tasks well. If researchers are faithful to the basics they should obviously do, then good research results will naturally follow. Don’t you think?

 

How do you spend your day as a researcher?
This question makes me think about my day. Nowadays, I personally look forward to lunch time to go to Kyobo Bookstore in order to read various newly published books.

As a researcher, I start my day by writing down what I have to do during the day. I don’t set a specific time like a schedule table, but I try to balance my given research topic with the research theme that I designed myself. The most general work is searching and reading data related to the research topics. In particular, I try to verify my research questions or methodologies through communication with experts and listen to opinions about the field.

 

How do you conduct research project activities that usually cooperate on a team basis?
Now it seems impossible for individual researchers to independently conduct researches. Most of the research is done by cooperation. For the cooperative research to be successful, it is necessary to share the critical mind together, and there must be a lot of discussions from the research question design and the whole structure design stage. In my case, I think that the field is important, so I go to the field on a team basis and promote the interview process a lot. Then I set up a table of contents through discussions and then, each member writes for their own fields. If I am the research supervisor, I collect the articles and finish a final report.

 

What kind of research activity do you want to do in the future?
My research process has expanded from intellectual property to commercialization for the economic contribution of intellectual property. Now, I would like to develop R & I (Research & Innovation) structure. I think we have thought and used the word ‘innovation’ so easily. I am in a position to highlight the link between scientific and technological research achievements and economic growth, and 'Innovation' is an important keyword here. To innovate or innovation means that technology must be absorbed into a product or service and lead to economic gains such as profits and jobs. I think the reform of heavy industries that we are facing now and leaping in new industries can be possible through innovation. Especially, I think that the change of the digital transition period can be an important factor for the re-take-off of the key industry, which has led our growth but is now stagnated due to the influence of the internal and external environments. These are positive variables. To this end, we will focus on knowledge clusters and R & I in these fields.

 

What does it mean to live as a researcher?
I think it's lucky to get a degree and live as a researcher. Compared to many other jobs, the environment and treatment are good, and I can work and get paid on the extension of study I want to do on my own. Of course, I should try harder so that this luck does not simply end as luck. If we want to be a continuous stream of water rather than stagnant water, we have to continue to study various issues and study so that we will not be left behind.

 

What was the difficult thing for you?
As a researcher belonging to a research institute, the consultation process with the policy client requires a lot of effort, though it may be less hard compared to other professions. Sometimes there are disagreements about the approach of the research, and sometimes it is difficult not to make a functional policy proposal. But the hardest thing is to find answers to my own questions about my role and needs in my organization.

 

What are your hobbies or interests other than the research activities?
My enjoyment in everyday life is walking. I don’t have enough time on weekdays, but on weekends, I always walk along the Han River. I walk for about two hours and it is a healing time for me in many aspects.
I also like traveling. I don’t hesitate to go on a trip anytime. I went to Rockies in Canada a few weeks ago. I am also interested in interior design and lighting besides my study, I hope someday I can do these too. 

 

What advice would you give to junior researchers?
I wish they work together. There is a limit when working alone. Individual growth can lead to organizational growth, but an individual without an organization is a mere freelance researcher. In the end, they should think about what role to play in order to grow the strength of the organization, and what are required to grow together. I also hope that they personally enjoy happiness. Of course, a healthy body and psychological happiness must be prioritized in order to do research activities. I hope they are responsible for these.
Of course, the organization needs to support the individuals’ effort and role to shine.

 

Lastly, what is your motto or slogan if you have one?
Let's keep our common sense and always stay awake. I think the basics are always the hardest. If the fundamentals are done well, the concentration of the power will be enormous. I always think about the basics that I can and try to fulfill the basics. I mean to stay awake is not to study only with papers on a desk. Like the saying that there is an answer in the field, do not miss issues that we have to check in real world about what kind of situation is present, what kind of solution is available, and so on.