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Improve national scientific competitiveness

In REIs competition is an essential principle. Ability to compete at the international level is ascertained through competition among national institutions. The notion that not only institutions, but also national science systems, compete has been reinforced as global markets for workforce, goods and services have become increasingly integrated and therefore permeable. The fact that higher education institutions (HEIs) and public research institutions (PRIs) affect national (and regional) economies favourably (OECD, 1996), is less prominent in REIs, since they tend to focus on the place of the national science system within a global context.

In the available programme descriptions, a country’s scientific competitiveness is rarely demonstrated by specific measures of competitiveness. Korea is an exception in that it ties measurably specific objectives to its REIs. The BK 21 initiative aims at putting Korea among the world’s top ten in the Science Citation Index as well as the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (for knowledge transfer from universities to industry).7 Moreover, with the help of the WCU initiative, Korea aims to have three of its universities among the world’s top 30 by 2015.8

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