In April 2021, Korean government announced “National Strategic Plan for Quantum Science and Technology”, (picture 1) which aims to be one of the leading countries in quantum science and technology by 2030. Based on the “Plan”, rapid increase of research funding has begun. Until 2018, the amount of investment was small, though there has been continuous funding on quantum science and technology. However, the budget has skyrocketed to more than 6 times in just 4 years, especially doubled after the announcement of the strategic plan.
The strategic plan is aiming to foster the basic research and development of applications by 2030 so as to encourage industries to come into the quantum business area. It includes four pillars of core strategy. The first is to focus on the high risk fundamental research which will be the basis for innovation. Workforce development is the second pillar which can never be overemphasized. Quantum science and technology is the field that needs multidisciplinary talents. Its root is in the physics and mathematics, but it needs a lot more other fields with experienced professionals such as electronics, computer science, software, etc. International collaboration should be a central role in developing the workforce as well. The plan’s third pillar is to build up the necessary infrastructure such as fabrication facility and testbeds for components, modules, systems, and applications. Last one, but not the least, is the applications towards the market. Industry involvement is crucial to the success of the quantum investment. In order for the industries to decide the investment, they need to find the adequate business models fit to their ability and market forecast.
The strategic plan will be followed by the investment plan and the lawmaking activity that will support the strategy. Both activities will take place during 2023. The yearly investment (picture2) so far already has reached 94 billion won (KRW), equivalent to 75 million dollars (USD) per year. The government intends to pull it up to 1 billion US dollars over next 5 to 7 years. Number of R&D programs (picture 3) are increasing year by year, with 12 strategic programs running as of 2023.
In 2022, Korean Government announced new policy for the strategic technology development. Twelve National Strategic Technologies (picture 4) were selected as the critical ones to acquire from the viewpoint of supply chain, trade, new industry, diplomacy, and national security. Quantum Science and Technology is one of the four essential base technologies together with Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Robot and Manufacturing, and Next Generation Communications technologies.