Posted June. 25, 2005 06:06,
Seoul National University professor Hwang Woo-suk has been chosen as the nations first leading scientist.
The Ministry of Science and Technology held a Leading Scientist Committee meeting on June 24 at the Palace Hotel in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul and selected Professor Hwang as the first scientist to be honored under the Governments Best Scientist Support Initiative implemented for the first time this year.
Of the panel of 10, nine judges attended and unanimously picked Hwang out of five candidates, and Deputy Prime Minister Oh Myung approved the panels decision.
The ministry explained that the professor deserved credit for his stem cell research involving the extraction of stem cells without causing rejection in patients suffering from incurable diseases. This research opened a new chapter in biotechnology in the 21st Century.
Other reasons behind the decision include his paving of the way for the mass production of stem cells and the ray of hope his work has given to patients suffering from incurable diseases around the world.
Because the professor currently receives two billion won in research grants from the governments fund for science and technology development, he will get an additional one billion won this year and three billion won every year from 2006 to 2009.
Professor Hwang, visiting Japan, expressed his feelings, saying, Now I can focus my energy into research with stable financial aid for the next five years, adding, I will clear the way for the production of therapeutic stem cells through creating a joint research team at home and abroad, said Hwang.
The Ministry of Science and Technologys initiative will support scientists from home and abroad who have achieved world-class research results. It will choose one or two scientists every year and provide some three billion won in grants per person for a maximum of five years to at most 10 of the best scientists in the world.