South Korea's Science and Technology to Change the World in 2021 – Korea IT Times

In 2021, South Korea's science and technology struggled to prepare a practical response system to the emergence of COVID-19 vaccinations and mutated viruses, and it was a year in which all industries stumbled. However, the rapidly spreading digital transformation has changed our quality of life and provided opportunities for new growth areas. New opportunities have led to prioritizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and redesigned human imaginative power opening the era of metaverse in the virtual world.
[Space Development] Success and task of launching the South Korean space launch vehicle Nuri.
South Korean projectile Nuri was successfully launched on October 21 from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, Jeollanam-do about 500km (310 miles) south of Seoul. At the first homegrown launch, the space reached an altitude of 700 Km, but the three-stage engine was burned shorter than expected. So the final stage, the satellite model, could not be placed in the target orbit, leaving an unfinished task. However, with this challenge, Korea became stepping up the country's ambitions in space that 10th country to launch projectiles independently, and achieved 12 years of fruit with pure domestic technology, paving the way for growth as an advanced space nation.
[Accelerating digital transformation] Science and technology opening up the metaverse era
The era of metaverse created by cutting-edge science and technology is opening. Metaverse is a compound word of 'meta' which means transcendence and virtuality and 'universe' means universe. It refers to a three-dimensional virtual world where social, economic, and cultural activities take place as the real world. In line with the COVID-19 crisis, face-to-face activities in the education sector have been reduced, and non-face-to-face education, games, and entertainment activities using the metaverse have been expanded. As the domestic and overseas metaverse craze grows stronger, related technologies and industries such as artificial intelligence and information communication technology are expected to be continuously fostered and invested.
[Defense Science and Technology] Successful test to launch a South Korean SLBM
South Korea has become the world's seventh submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) holder. On September 15, South Korea's independently developed SLBM succeeded in testing the launch. Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, the Navy's first 3,000-ton submarine, is equipped with a cold launch pad with six SLBM launch tubes. Cold Lunch is a technology that pushes a missile out of the water under high-pressure and high-temperature gas pressure in a submarine launch tube and ignites an engine on the surface of the water. The missile fired from Anheung, Chungcheongnam-do, was accurately hit at the target point of the western sea area of Jeju Island 400km south.
[Pandemic Continuation] Vaccination against COVID-19 and emergence of mutated virus
This year, the pandemic continued due to the rise of the COVID-19 mutant virus. As vaccination continues around the world, Korea has also rapidly achieved 80% vaccination rate since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered on February 26. However, the outbreak of the mutant virus has created variables in the formation of mass immunity through vaccines due to breakthrough infections, and despite the increased vaccination rate, the spread of COVID-19 worldwide is at its peak. The government has implemented a step-by-step daily recovery and vaccine pass system since November, but the recent emergence of Omicron has strengthened the guidelines for distancing and emergency quarantine.
[Technological Hegemony] Advanced strategic technology and scientific and technological hegemony are changing the global value chain
Now we are living in the era of global technological hegemony. The vaccine nationalism that emerged as the COVID-19 pandemic and the competition for technological hegemony intersect clearly revealed this.Due to the butterfly effect of the conflict in technology competition between the US and China, which was represented by semiconductors and network equipment, there has been a recent uproar in the number of urea. Technological hegemony encompasses not only infectious diseases but also most global issues such as carbon neutrality and human rights, and is becoming a driving force for reorganizing the international social order. Accordingly, while major countries are spurring the development and investment of advanced strategic technologies, quantum science technology, which has been designated as a game changer, is drawing attention in the field of future core technologies.
[Climate Crisis] Science and technology and ESG in the era of climate change.
Recently, the climate crisis on the Korean Peninsula has emerged as a reality. Over the past decade, the average annual temperature in South Korea has increased by 0.9℃ compared to 30 years ago, and the average sea temperature in July this year was the highest since the water temperature measurement began in 1982. As a result, science and technology responding to climate change and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) management are emerging as hot topics. As companies that declared ESG expand practical investment and research, active collaboration with the science and technology community and innovation in science and technology are required. Meanwhile, the "Basic Act on Carbon Neutrality" passed the plenary session of the National Assembly this year, which stipulates that Korea should reduce its mid- to long-term national greenhouse gas reduction goals by more than 40% compared to 2018.
[Termination of Missile Guidelines] ‘Korea-US Missile Guidelines’ ended after 42 years, opening the way for space development
The “Korea-US Missile Guidelines,” which limited the maximum range of South Korean missiles to 800 km, ended after 42 years at the Korea-US summit in May. As a result, Korea will be able to launch missiles or space projectiles at sea or in mid-air. This means that space projectiles, which are the core of space development, will be able to be launched from waters near the equator, and attention is being paid to whether Korea's " prime of space development" will open in earnest with the end of the missile guidelines.
[K-Disaster] Scientific and technological R&D achievements against COVID-19
It was a year of R&D achievements in the science and technology community against COVID-19. Major achievements include: 
▲ KAIST’s development of a mobile negative pressure ward for critically ill patients responding to infectious diseases ▲ Operation of the Corona 19 mathematical modeling TF by the Korean Mathematical Society and National Institute of Mathematical Sciences that predicts the spread according to scenarios using mathematical models ▲ Prediction of trends based on science and evidence Supporting KIST's establishment of a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention policy considering social and social aspects and establishing a cooperative system with quarantine authorities ▲SK Bioscience's cruising in the development of the first domestic COVID-19 vaccine. This year was a year in which all fields of science and technology struggled to prepare a practical response system for COVID-19.
[3D Genome Map] Building the world's largest 3D cancer genome map 
Professor Jeong In-kyung, KAIST of the Department of Life Sciences  and Dr. Lee Byung-wook's team at the National Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, have built the world's largest 3D genome maps  database with more than 400 species. At the same time, analysis tools were developed to connect large-scale structural mutations and 3D genome maps, and through this, changes in 3D genome structures and target genes could be identified according to large-scale cancer genome structural mutations. The results of this study are expected to provide important information for understanding the pathogenesis of cancer and developing anticancer drugs.
[Electric Vehicle Platform] Electric Vehicle Next Generation Platform E-GMP
Hyundai Motor Group developed and unveiled 'E-GMP', a platform exclusively for electric vehicles. E-GMP is a new technology-intensive platform that is the backbone of Hyundai Motor Group's next-generation electric vehicle lineup launched this year. E-GMP is evaluated to have laid the foundation for a high-performance electric vehicle model by raising the competitiveness of electric vehicles by applying high-performance motor, batteries, charging systems, modularization and standardization, and strengthening of stability for electric vehicles.
[The principle of cancer cells] Identification of the principle that cancer cells avoid attack by immune cells
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the U.S. have revealed the principle that cancer cells only activate controlled T cells to avoid attacks from immune cells. Korean scientist Lim Sun-ah participated as the first author of the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the United States. The researchers found that the ‘SREBPs’ protein activates only regulatory T cells, preventing them from attacking tumor cells without causing problems with autoimmunity. The research team said that preventing the activity of SREBPs in tumor cells is expected to increase the effectiveness of immuno-cancer drugs, and it shows the possibility that immuno-cancer drugs can be used even in patients with little or no effect. 
Identification of mitochondrial mechanisms involved in Parkinson's disease and dementia brain disease
It has revealed the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial quality management involved in the occurrence of various diseases such as Parkinson's disease and dementia. Mitochondrial abnormalities are very important to understand molecular mechanisms as they are involved in the occurrence of various diseases, but there has been no clear study yet. A research team led by Sunwoong, a professor of anatomy at Korea University's College of Medicine, revealed that a protein called Drp1 has the ability to selectively remove abnormal mitochondria. The mechanism of mitochondria presented through this study is evaluated as an achievement that opens a new horizon in the field of brain science.
Source: Korean Federation of Science & Technology Societies(KOFST)