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Title STEPI held the 432nd Science and Technology Policy Forum
Date 2020-04-29 Hit 778  

[STEPI held the 432nd Science and Technology Policy Forum]

“How should national science&technology policy change in order to respond to infectious disease?” (online streaming on April 29th, 2020)


Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI, President: Hwang-Hee CHO) held the 432nd Science and Technology Policy Forum from 2:00 p.m. under the theme of “how should national science&technology policy change in order to respond to infectious disease.” There was no physical presence of audience at this live-streamed forum; many participants called for a change of national science and technology policy in order to respond to infectious disease.


Dr. Myong-Hwa LEE from STEPI delivered the first presentation, and the topic was “new direction for science and technology policy and lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak.” In this presentation, Dr. LEE noted that science and technology policy needs to focus on security of life, policy governance based on data and expertise, advanced global cooperation in research, and comprehensive innovation research. Moreover, Dr. LEE highlighted that “the R&D budget for infectious disease in 2018 was merely 1.4%” to explain the significance of security of life. Dr. LEE emphasized that “instead of simply improving efficiency, we need stable support in the medium- to long-term just like how we support national defense R&D.”


Dr. Woo-Sik SON from the research team for transmission dynamics of infectious diseases of the National Institute for Mathematical Sciences (NIMS) made a presentation about “simulation of how new infectious disease spreads.” Dr. SON highlighted the importance of creating simulation in understanding and responding to infectious disease.


Dr. SON noted that “there is no vaccine or treatment against new infectious disease, which means that non-pharmacological intervention is the only solution” and that “it is indispensable to create simulation of how infectious disease spreads and analyze the impact of prevention policy.” According to Dr. SON, “we need to design a simulation that enables us to analyze the impact of prevention policy.”


Yong-Rae CHO, who is the head of Future Strategy Team at STEPI, called for the medium- to long-term response measure by making a presentation with the theme of “science and technology strategy for security of life.”


Dr. CHO noted that “we need a measure to respond to infectious disease that might cause national shock in the longer term” and that “short-term crisis management is insufficient.”


Moreover, Dr. CHO explained how we need a new perspective to see data related to infectious disease; according to Dr. CHO, “we need to combine data from multiple sectors instead of just looking into science or medical data.”


Many others shared opinion in the following discussion, which was chaired by Vice President Chi-Ung SONG of STEPI. The discussion was joined by other participants including Dr. Man-Ki SONG, who serves as the Acting Deputy Director General of Science at the International Vaccine Institute, Professor Beom-Jun KIM from Sungkyunkwan University, Sugentech CEO Mi-Jin SON, and Vice President Seung-Kyu LEE of Korea Bio. The discussants highlighted that it is crucial to have support from government and policy measure.


Sugentech CEO Mi-Jin SON explained that “we need a policy that can quickly lead to impact by spending a large amount of research funds in the beginning in order to respond to infectious disease” and added that “no one can predict how the COVID-19 outbreak will unfold, which means we must be prepared to face the worst case scenario since we cannot even know what might happen in the autumn.”


Vice President Seung-Kyu LEE of Korea Bio said that “it is of course important to build infrastructure against infectious disease, but it is most important for government to advance regulatory system” and added that “we need a policy to create and renew diagnostic equipment and bio industry.”


President Hwang-Hee CHO explained that “there is need to establish new science and technology policy by discussing about innovative research to focus on solving problem” and added, “we hope that the opinions we heard at this forum will contribute to building forward-looking policy for science and technology.”