Presented the education model for graduate schools of science and engineering via establishing the Korea Advanced Institute of Science
Developed and implemented the fostering policies for outstanding research institutes such as SRC, ERC, etc.
Contributed to the development of nuclear fusion reactor, Korean style nuclear facility design, atomic energy danger control, etc.
Dr. Kun Mo Chung (1939~ )
Former Minister of Science and Technology
- Academic background
B.S., Dept. of Physics, Seoul National University
Master of Public Administration, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
Ph.D. in Science (Applied Physics), Graduate School, Michigan State University
- Professional career
Vice President, Korea Advanced Institute of Science
Chairman, Korea Science and Engineering Foundation
Chairman, IAEA General Assembly
Minister of Science and Technology (12th, 15th)
First and Second President, Korea Institute for Advanced Engineering
President, National Academy of Science and Technology
Order of Industrial Service Merit, Silver Tower
Order of Service Merit, Blue Stripes
World Atomic Energy Academy Award
Jang Young Sil Science Culture Award
Dr. Kun Mo Chung is a pioneer in science and technology policy who prepared the basis of the national level science and technology education and research governance stategy for Korea, playing a leading role in the establishment of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science, the Korea Science Foundation, the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Academy of Science and Technology.
He was born in December 1939 as a second son of an educator. He entered Gyeonggi High School on the top place in 1954 and showed his prominence by finishing the high school course in a year. Next year, he entered Seoul National University on the second place. Though he majored in physics at college, he entered Graduate School of Public Administration and studied public administration and public policies. He had a broad range of intellectual interests, covering both natural sciences and social sciences.
Whether is was his study of natural science, social science, or policy. He main purpose was to help Korea to escape from its terrible poverty.
In 1960, he went to the USA to study at Michigan State University, where he majored in physics, while taking a deep interest in the overall ecosystem for science and technology in America. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1963, he worked as Assistant Professor at University of South Florida and a Research Professor of Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, MIT and continued his research as Associate Professor, Dept. of Electric Physics, New York College of Engineering. During his research at MIT, he also took a science and technology policy course operated by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Public Administration (currently, the Kennedy School). His thesis at the Harvard graduate school was “Policy tools to prevent brain drain out of underdeveloped countries.” The ideas articulated in this thesis served as the foundations for the establishment of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science, later.
Although he established a successful career in the USA, he was invited by the Minister of Science and Technology, Kim Gi Hyeong, to consider returning and decided to do so in 1970. Back then, Korea was suffering from so-called brain drain – lots of talented people were leaving the country due to Korea’s poor research environment at universities and research institutes. To solve the problem, he proposed to establish a new science and engineering graduate school, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science. Korea Advanced Institute of Science was a special purpose educational institution to foster high quality talent directly under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and independent of the existing advance research system under the Ministry of Education. He led the debate, the planning and the design for the Korea Advanced Institute of Science, and was appointed as the founding vice president of the institute in 1971.
As a result, he emerged as a major person in the science and technology policy area while also leading the establishment of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science. In addition, he served as Chairman of the Korea Science Foundation from 1988 to 1990 and assumed the position of Minister of Science and Technology twice during the 1990s. Throughout his career, he developed and implemented a policy theory that focused on fostering quality research centers such as SRC and ERC so as to encourage domestic basic research and collaborative research. The SRC and ERC projects are seen as having greatly contributed to systematic transformation of the inflexible research-oriented university in Korea and that enhancing Korean universities’ international competitive edge. He also led the effort to establish the National Academy of Science and Technology, and the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, during the 1990s and he endeavored to promote the social status of citizens engaged in science and technology.
Even while commiting himself fully to science and technology policy, he continued his interest in nuclear fusion and atomic energy technology as a physicist. While he served as president of KEPCO, he led a project to design Korean style nuclear power generation facility standards that led to the development of KSNP-OPR-APR, later. As a result, 12 OPR1000 Atomic Energy Power Plants became the main stream of Korea’s atomic energy power generation projects. In 1989, he served as Chairman of the General Assembly of the IAEA and he led the effort to establish a safety governence for atomic energy power generation facilities. In the 1990s, he focused on the establishment of Korean nuclear fusion research facility, KSTAR. Later, in 2009, as Advisor to KEPCO, he prepared a plan for the contruction of an Atomic Power Plant Project in United Arab Emirates, and led the process of establishing the KEPCO International Atomic Energy Graduate School University.
In recognition of these achievements, he received the Merit Award for Establishment of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science in 1975, Order of Industrial Service Merit, Silver Tower Award in 1986, Order of Service Merit, Blue Stripes Award in 1991, International Merit Award of Canada Atomic Energy Association in 1998, and World Atomic Energy Academy Award in 1998. As a researcher and policy-maker, he worked in the Korean science and technology policy field for decades, committing himself to science and society as well as to research and politics. He was a pioneer whose tremendous impact touched all aspects of Korean society, including education, research, and Korean science and technology.