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“Universities should be given the Opportunities to Give Birth and Nurture”

“Universities should be given the Opportunities to Give Birth and Nurture”

Posted January. 30, 2005 22:56,   


Professor Park said, “The fund will be used to help professors and students of science and engineering commercialize what they develop. I hope that the fund can be of help to those who are committed to research with specific plans.”

After discussions, the College of Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU) decided to name a fund “SNU Precision - Park Hee-jae Research Fund” after professor Park and his company. It also plans to set up a screening committee that will take charge of using the fund to assist campus laboratories to get patents for their products and to support other activities.

Professor Park said, “It appears that a variety of educational-industrial projects are under way. The fact is that most studies do not go beyond being published. They do not reach the market. This is because the financial assistance from the government or big businesses is confined to research and study.”

The grim situation led him to start his own business. SNU Precision was established by Professor Park and graduate students at the SNU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering College in February 1998. The company produces the ultra precision measurement system for TFT-LCD production, and currently its market share ranks number 1 worldwide.

Park used a metaphor, explaining, “If one has a baby, she should be able to raise the child. But the situation just forces mothers to give birth to babies, depriving them of the deserved opportunity of child rearing. For researchers, specific plans for manufacturing tend to serve as a driving force. So I wanted to give that driving force to my colleagues and SNU students.”

Dean Han Min-goo at the SNU College of Engineering agreed. “Universities need to not just concentrate on the commercial angle when it comes to the development of products and their profitability, but also realize the importance of eagerly nurturing applied and practical science for securing a high level of national competitiveness,” he said.

Dean Han added, “The reality is that newly developed technologies or great products, which are introduced in scientific journals after painstaking research, tend to be snatched up by other countries or companies. They get patents or put the items to use.”

On the management of his company in the future, Professor Park said, “Now that the company is listed on the KOSDAQ, every decision will be made after discussions with shareholders. We intend to regularly invest 10 percent of sales in research and development.”

In addition, he said, “The donation of shares was arranged not to affect the company’s stock value because the idea has been conceived at the start of our business.”

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com