ZEUS: Research infrastructure innovation platform for science and technology researchers

High-tech Research Infrastructures (RIs) require large budgets, high operating costs and extensive human resources, making them available only to a small number of prominent researchers. Up-and-coming junior researchers or technical staffs from SMEs, who account for the majority of technology development, are therefore not able to utilise expensive RIs. The South Korean government planned and established the national RIs governance system to solve this issue and fairly allocate opportunities for utilising RIs.

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Problem: The benefits of national R&D projects are provided only to a few groups
South Korea has invested more than 4% of its GDP in national R&D every year to lay the groundwork for sustainable growth. In particular, it has invested more than 860 million dollars a year in research infrastructure, such as research facilities and equipment for the past 20 years.
However, high-tech research infrastructure requires a large budget, constant operating costs and human resources. Therefore, there is a clear limit for individuals or developing countries to manage leading research infrastructure.
Despite the recent effort of many countries dispatching their high-calibre talent to advanced countries for national science and technology development, there is a problem that on-going research can be discontinued due to a lack of research infrastructure, even after returning to the homeland.
Research infrastructure is available only to a concentrated number of prominent researchers. Therefore, the up-and-coming junior researchers or technical staffs from SMEs, who account for the majority of the country's technology development, cannot utilise them.
To solve these problems, the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT planned and established the national research infrastructure governance system, ZEUS (Zone of research Equipments Utilization Service), to fairly allocate opportunities for utilising research infrastructure for technological innovation and to increase efficiency in science and technology investment.

ZEUS: promoting a virtuous circle of system research infrastructure
Expensive research infrastructure is essential for advanced science technology research and development. However, due to the limitations of national finances, not all researchers can equally utilise the infrastructure.
ZEUS aims to provide all researchers with equal opportunities to utilize research infrastructure. To make this possible, ZEUS collects and analyses all research infrastructure information in South Korea so as to understand the status of the deployment and operation of facilities.
This increases the efficiency of research infrastructure, preventing unnecessary research infrastructure from being built, relocating underutilised infrastructure, and reserving equipment online.
The government's credibility increases by transparent disclosure of information on the operation and financial investments in research infrastructure.
Economically, the government can curb unnecessary investment in science and technology, enabling strategic investment in new R&D areas.

From a movement of the scientific society to a national policy
Since 2013, Korea has started providing ZEUS, a portal service for national research infrastructure. In 2011, ZEUS implemented the Information Strategy Planning (ISP) and Information Technology Architecture (ITA) to plan an information systems with the research infrastructure that used to be managed at the individual ministry level. Starting from the equipment reservation service in 2013, ZEUS has expanded its scope to review services in 2014, transfer idle equipment in 2015, and also manage large facilities in 2016. Now, ZEUS plays a leading role providing the comprehensive information service that supports the whole lifecycle of the national research infrastructure. Infrastructure worth more than 25,000 dollars is being built with a separate review process and the use of infrastructure is examined every year to evaluate whether it is not in use and whether to transfer it to other researchers who need.

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Year: 2003
Level of government: National/Federal government


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