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Let’s become an expert who can read the context – Research Fellow Jang-hun Jung
Date 2018.09.21 Hit 198
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Jang-hun Jung
Research Fellow

△ Research Fellow Jang-hun Jung, who majored in Science of Public Administration, is researching at the Office of National R&D Research of STEPI. Currently being dispatched to the Ministry of Science and ICT, he is working on the preliminary feasibility test of businesses. In his researches so far, he has approached the field of science and technology from institutional perspective focusing on technology regulation, budget, public purchase and etc. We met Jung, who wants to become an expert who maintains comprehensive information beyond the mere accumulation of knowledge, and listened to his life and researches as a STEPIAN.


As a STEPI member dispatched to the Ministry of Science and ICT, what are you working on at the ministry?
I have taken over tasks related to preliminary feasibility test. I engage in managing research businesses subject to preliminary feasibility test, improving related system, assessment consulting, training etc. Until recently I took care of preliminary feasibility tests only for the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, and these days I work for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the Ministry of Environment. Now that the tasks related to preliminary feasibility test has been transferred to the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), I became basically in charge of the tasks like a government official.


How do you spend a day as a researcher? (in STEPI & in MSIT)
Working as a researcher at STEPI is completely different from the way I work here. At STEPI, of course I spent my day writing a report on my research task. But here, I am living a totally bureaucratic life, carrying out the ordinary duties of an official worker like managing multiple government projects, reporting issues, preparing and distributing press releases. The biggest difference would be that I could manage things in the long term when I was working as a researcher, but now I have to deal with new things a few times a day.


What led you to work at STEPI?
In fact, there wasn’t any specific event that led me to STEPI. I used to work as a post-doc and just naturally I applied for STEPI. And technically my academic background wasn’t directly linked with science and technology since I studied public administration and organization sociology to obtain my doctoral degree. But I had a chance to take part in several government tasks during the doctoral program, where I found the work in research institutes interesting, and while working as a post-doc, I realized it was right for me. So I decided to continue to work at STEPI. The theories I learned in classroom looked all different in the field. I think that fascinated me.


What is the most memorable research in your research experience in STEPI?
I have thought about it for a while. And my conclusion is the days and work at the ministry. I think it is and will be most memorable. Because it allowed me to look at the researches that my colleague scientists and engineers are doing from a different angle. For example, I conducted a research project about system improvement in the latter half of last year and now I am taking part in the implementation of the project. So, this job helps me understand what processes the outcome of government tasks executed by researchers goes through at government departments. In short, it granted me the perspective of government official. With the transfer of the tasks related to the preliminary feasibility test of government research projects to the MSIT, I believe this job will be a significant turning point for myself.


What researches did you conduct so far?
When I first joined STEPI in the middle of my post-doc after the Ph. D. program, my academic advisor encouraged me to lead as much administrative researches as possible. As I have an institutionalist academic tendency, I was mainly interested in institutions and systems. Accordingly, I focused on regulations and budget which were easily accessible as two key areas of institution. More recently, I collaborated with other researchers in STEPI to study on public purchase system.  After all, I tried to conduct researches where I can put my own unique perspective rather than average researches that others can do in order to survive in the  the field of science and technology as a public administration scholar. And the relevant topics were mostly technology regulation and budget so far.


Is there any field that you are interested in or you want to conduct a collaborative research on? If there is, which field and why?
As mentioned above, as an institutionalist, I've always placed special significance on the formation or the meaning of institution and system. But we all know that thinking about institution is never enough to address or explain all other issues. That's why I often get curious about the mind and practices of other researchers. It's a kind of industrial phycology. The weakness of institutional approach, which is that it cannot understand individuals, makes me curious about other researchers' phycological approach. In Science of Administration, we also have a research area which focuses on individuals' mind, motive and purpose and how these are revealed in the outcome of research. In the future, I would like to conduct a collaborative research with psychology and others to supplement the weakness of institutionalism.


What are your future research directions and plans?
While taking care of preliminary feasibility test at the central ministry, I feel on the field that we need further improvement. One day when I go back to my previous job as a researcher, I will probably continue my studies based on the thoughts and feelings I had here. I would also like to search for ways to make more efficient preliminary feasibility test system considering the market demand.


What does it mean to live as a researcher?
The biggest advantage in the life of researchers is that we can manage things in the long term. Once a certain research target is set, the researcher can set a plan for the research and produce the outcome at least within the project period. However, I felt somewhat lonely. While you can freely conduct your own research activities, you should deal with everything on your own. To take a simple example, I realized the difference working here at the ministry. Government officials are just a part of a huge pyramid. On the other hand, researchers stand at the vertex or are the vertex itself of the pyramid. Of course there are pros and cons. Personally, I believe researchers are free but lonely beings.


What advice would you like to give to your junior researchers?
I once again realized something while working here at the MSIT. There are so many researchers out there struggling to produce great research outcome. But I wonder if they understand how their activities are actually utilized. My personal belief is that researchers should not only look into their field and produce high quality report, but also know the overall situation of the relevant field. In order to make a useful research, we should be aware of the roles of the relevant government officials at least. We should be able to catch the overall layout and changes of the field. To do so, we should maintain close relationship with related government departments. If you take a closer look at the overall context and changing environment of your own study subject at least, it will be of a great help to your research.


Lastly, what is your motto or slogan if you have one?
As an expert, I want to be a Guru. Guru is a religious metaphor which means a person who understands not just professional knowledge but also more comprehensive information. For example, a guru in the field of A must have reached the acme where he or she can provide solutions for all the related issues. No matter how difficult it is, this guru is capable of explaining the knowledge to anyone. To do so, the guru should know the historical background and current environmental trend of the field. It sound quite difficult, but I think it is a reasonable target to become a real expert.