Issue Date: June 6, 2011
R&D Globalization: Belgium’s Solvay Teams Up With South Korean University
Continuing an investment trend, Solvay will spend close to $20 million to set up an R&D center on the campus of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. The company will also spend $5.5 million on joint research with Ewha, the world’s largest university for women only.
The new center will study electronics, lithium-ion batteries, and photovoltaic cells, markets that Solvay supplies with polymers and chemicals. The Belgian company expects to cooperate closely with Ewha centers for nano-technology, biotechnology, and renewable energy.
Although Solvay calls the pact the first between a non-Korean company and a Korean university, an increasing number of international chemical makers are setting up electronic materials R&D centers in South Korea. Later this year, Dow Chemical will complete construction of an R&D facility for display and semiconductor materials that will be large enough for 200 scientists, a spokesman tells C&EN.
This month, Japan’s JSR is inaugurating a $7.5 million R&D center for liquid-crystal display materials in South Korea. “We have to move R&D where the market is,” comments Nobu Koshiba, the company’s president.
South Korea’s microchip exports will likely reach $52.5 billion in 2011, according to the country’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The ministry is spending $1.4 billion on a national project to develop technologies in emerging fields such as transparent flexible displays and super-fine-print electronics manufacturing. As part of the plan, South Korea wants to attract $15 billion worth of investments from international companies.
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