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Impetuses and constraints in the policy formation process of the International Science and Business Belt in Korea

Seunghyun Lee (Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity, Gangnam-gu, Republic of Korea)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 12 December 2022




Korea’s Institute for Basic Science (IBS), the first research institute dedicated to basic science in Korea, started ten years ago as part of a science policy called the Science Belt. It is noteworthy that Korea, with a short history of basic science, established such a research institute exclusively for basic science within a short period of time and made it one of the representative institutions of basic science in Korea. This paper aims to uncover the impetuses and constraints surrounding the policy of Science Belt, centering on the IBS.


Kingdon’s stream theory is used to clarify the factors that acted as impetuses or constraints for the Science Belt. For the analysis, in-depth interviews with the active policy participants were conducted in addition to the thorough literature review. The interviews enabled an in-depth understanding of the underlying factors for the Science Belt and the actual procedures of the policy decision.


This study found that the most powerful impetus in the Science Belt policymaking process was the President and a small group composed of a few scientists who played a leading role in the political stream. The constraint of the Science Belt was that the participation of scientist experts and governmental officials, the so-called invisible participants of Kingdon, was insignificant. In particular, there was no system in place to select policy alternatives for basic science through discussion between scientists and governmental officials.

Research limitations/implications

The temporal scope of this study was limited to policy formation, that is, until the establishment of IBS. Therefore, future studies shall conduct a research on the implementation of the actual policy, IBS’s achievements and IBS’s impact of Korea’s basic science community.


This study applied both a theoretical framework and in-depth interviews along with the literature overview to understand a policymaking process from various angles.



The author would like to thank all of the interviewees for the sincere discussions on IBS. The authors also acknowledge the useful discussion with Professor Chan-Gu Lee on policy formation theory.


Lee, S. (2022), "Impetuses and constraints in the policy formation process of the International Science and Business Belt in Korea", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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