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Integrating and Retaining World-Class Scholars: The Key to Innovation in Korea, by Jin Noh

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Having exhausted the “catch-up” model of economic growth, South Korea has recognized the importance of developing home-grown innovation capacities. Lower-cost manufacturing competitors, automation technologies, and the realities of being a small country with limited natural resources are some of the factors driving Korea to transition from an emerging, manufacturing-based economy to one that is more advanced and knowledge-based. To achieve this end, developing and attracting talented human capital is an important ingredient in generating new knowledge and technologies, which in large part take place at world-class universities. The key to creating a world-class research university is to attract the best scholars, regardless of their country of origin. As the primary drivers of the quality of research and graduate programs at any university, faculty scholars must be successfully integrated in their university and research environment. In the case of South Korea, a concerted effort is being made to recruit international scholars, but not to integrate them in Korea. This paper will explore the issues surrounding the difficulties in integration and retention of foreign scholars in Korea and will propose solutions based on a literature review of international best practices.

Jin Noh is currently a Master’s in Public Policy student at the University of California, Berkeley where he is pursuing his studies in clean energy technologies, policies, and markets. Prior to attending Goldman, he was an analyst at SRI International where he focused on various science and technology policy issues, as well as innovation-driven economic development strategies. He also previously worked at World Vision, Korean American Sharing Movement, and InterAction. Jin received his B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.