Research of Improvement of Legislations for Development of Government-Funded Research institutes
Ⅰ. Background and Purposes
▶ Background of research
○ The roles of government-funded research institutes are actively discussed amid changes in their knowledge ecosystem, including those related to socio-economic issues emerging in complex patterns, increased social demand for rationality and fairness of policy determining processes, and increasing demand for people's participation in policy determination.
○ Various new demands have emerged for roles and missions of government-funded research institutes in the entire policy community or ecosystem inclusive of not only the central government but also the National Assembly, local autonomous governments, non-government organizations, media outlets, etc. against the backdrop of the era of great transformation. Considering such demands, it is necessary to reposition government-funded research institutes as the platform of the ecosystem of policy-related knowledge and to research plans to improve legislative systems to launch a management system compatible with the era of great transformation.
▶ Objectives of the research
○ This research is designed to derive measures for institutional improvement to enable government-funded research institutes to better perform their roles and missions newly assigned to them by diagnosing the institutional environment surrounding them under the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Fostering of Government-funded Research Institutes.
Ⅱ. Key Contents
▶ Statutory Status and Position of Government-Funded Institutes
○ The Act on the Establishment, Operation, and Development of Government-Funded Research Institutes Article 2 defines a "government-invested research institute" as an institute invested/ funded by the Government, whose primary purpose is research and study. Therefore, it is interpreted that government-funded research institutes are responsible for performance of missions stipulated under the Act and their articles of incorporation. "Funding" as financial support and "autonomy for research and management" are granted to them to the extent they carry out their missions and responsibilities.
○ Government-funded research institutes are founded and operated based on the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Development of Government-Funded Research institutes. On the other hand, they fall under public institutes, strictly speaking, institutes aimed at research and development among "other public institutes" under the Act on Management of Public Institutions (hereinafter "Public Institutions Management Act").
○ Since government-funded research institutes are designated as public service-related organizations, a growing number of statutes applicable to their officers or employees are applied to the officers or employees of government-funded research institutes.
▶ Changes in missions of government-funded research institutes before and after the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Development of Government-Funded Research Institutes
○ The current Act on the Establishment, Operation and Development of Government-Funded Research Institutes lacks any common stipulation as to the specific objectives or missions should be carried out by government-funded research institutes under the system of research council or society. The introduction of the research community system is limited as their objectives and purposes have not yet been instituted because their establishment purposes and missions are only provided under their articles of incorporation.
○ The various guidelines under the Public Institutes Management Act apply or implement legislations related to government employees as the criteria applicable to the level of their work. However, the employees of public institutions are not subject to the statutes applicable to government employees but rather subject to the Labor Standards Act and other labor-related statutes, placing them on an ambiguous statutory boundary.
▶ Changes in institutional environment of government-funded research institutes and issues related to the research ecosystem
○ (Disparities between duties of public service institutions and missions of government-funded research institutes) It is necessary to re-examine whether the standards that government-funded research institutes and organizations as public service institutions/ organizations are required to observe are possibly divergent from the missions assigned to them or have elements that impede their performance of assigned missions.
○ (The gap between the basic legal order to be followed as employees or the ethicality as employees of service institutions) The regulatory system that has to be chosen voluntarily by government-funded research institutes as their duties required of public organizations often conflict with employment rules that ultimately regulate the interests of their hired workers. It has to be pointed out that it is worried the performance of their missions is impeded as diverse legal disputes are raised in different modes because of this dual legal system.
▶ Direction of proposed amendment of the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Fostering of Government-funded Research Institutes
○ (Amendment of purpose provisions)The proposed amendment shall further clarify that the government establishes, supports, or develops government-funded research institutes to enable them to research and analyze the government's key policy tasks and contribute to national development by enhancing the government's policy-making competencies.
○ (Amendment of definition provisions)The government-funded research institutes should be redefined as "institutes which are funded by the government to research and analyze the nation's future strategies and the government's key policy tasks."
○ (Amendment to provisions concerning autonomy and independence in research and management)The proposed amendment shall clearly stipulate that government-funded research institutes shall secure independence and autonomy in their creation of research contents. They shall also secure autonomy in management as they are granted independent legal entity status although they are different from private-sector research institutes since they are required to carry out research of government policies as their main mission.
○ (Proposed amendment to provisions concerning duties of research community)The proposed amendment shall define and impose duties on the research community to contribute to the development of research institutes, and address the issues in that the characteristics of the research community are not considered under other statutes, including the Public Institution Management Act.
○ (Addition of purposes of management councils)The proposed amendment shall add a provision that the management councils are designed to respond to advices concerning the research community's determination of key policies that may affect the planning of the research tasks concerning future national strategies and the research institutions to enable government-funded research institutes to be organized into entities which mandatorily reflect their president's opinions on the research community.
○ (Direction of amendment proposed to launch a research system for future national strategies)It is proposed to provide a provision for promoting a system where the research community may research future national strategies geared to interdisciplinary integration and convergence by surpassing the limits of their legal entity status and missions among research institutions by organizing the Future National Strategy Research Committee or Research Project Group under the research community.
Ⅲ. Expected effects
▶ The proposed amendment will contribute to the clear indication of the reason for existence of government-funded research institutes by assigning the research on future national strategies as their common mission.
○ The justification of the establishment, development, and support of government-funded research institutes will be clearly stated by introducing the system where they are required to conduct research on future national strategies in addition to the government policies as their common mission.
○ It will also contribute to the launch of a foundation where government-funded research institutes may perform their original mission of research and support to government policies by presenting a governance structure and systematic improvement plans for securing autonomy and independence for their management and research.