R&D Budget Cuts, Situation of GIST

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The government’s R&D (R&D) budget has been cut significantly this year, and GIST was also affected. Through GISTIAN’s voice, we learned about the reality of budget cuts such as laboratories and outbound programs.

 

The impact of the budget cut was also having the greatest impact on the laboratory. “Even if the budget is reduced, labor costs are reduced because it is essential to purchase equipment for research,”student Lee Isaac Han(Department of Integrated Technology, PhD course) said.
Recently, the government announced that it would increase the budget, but a Mr. Han said, “Since the budget has not been restored this year, there is no significant change in the laboratory, and we are currently experiencing the aftermath of the budget cut.” The lab reportedly had difficulty securing the budget due to the delay in recruiting projects announced at the beginning of the year, although it won research projects to secure resources. In addition, the competition to be selected for the project has become fiercer, and other laboratories have informed that it is similar to Han’s laboratory.

The number of students dispatched to overseas universities in the summer semester decreased by about 40% from 118 in 2023 to 70 in 2024. Park Soo-yeon, in the International and Public Affairs Team, cited R&D budget cuts and rising prices and exchange rates as the reasons for the reduction of the number of dispatched people. In addition, this year’s reduction in the number of dispatched people seems to have been felt even more as the number of dispatched people increased due to additional dispatches for students whose dispatch was canceled due to COVID-19 until 2023.
The number of dispatched workers is expected to be gradually restored from 2025. Regarding the plan to select overseas dispatch programs for the next summer semester, Park replied, “We will select students who will be dispatched for all applicants, but we will consider dispatching support to 4th graders who will no longer have the opportunity to dispatch programs for the next summer semester.” She also said that the government is considering ways to have GIST and individuals send all applicants by paying the necessary amount to prepare for the future budget situation. “We hope that we can secure the budget before it is reduced like last year to provide many opportunities to students,” she said.

 

Meanwhile, the Cultural and Events Committee a self-governing body that plans and organizes annual summer events and GIST student festivals, was also suffering from a reduced budget.

According to Son Jun-oh (Material Science and Engineering, 22), the 14th Chairman of the Cultual and Events Committee, the budget for student events has decreased by about 80% from 86.5 million won in 2023 to 18.7 million won this year. Based on the budget for each event, the “Blue Moon, Mask Dance Festival” this summer will buy 3.79 million won, and the festival (the event name not determined) will use about 15 million won. Considering that about 84 million won was spent at last year’s festival, it is easy to feel that the budget cut is having a significant impact on GIST.

Chairman Sohn said, “Although the budget has been cut significantly, the GIST Cultural Events Committee will do its best to plan and operate so that students can relieve their stress for a while and enjoy cultural events together in line with the student festival,” adding, “Using the crisis as an opportunity, we will focus our festival budget on various contents that students can enjoy and plan a more enjoyable festival than last year.”

 

Budget cuts approaching like a bolt out of the blue are affecting GIST members in many ways. In addition, voices criticizing unfair budget cuts could be heard. Student Han Isaac and Chairman Sohn voiced the same opinion, saying that the unilateral budget cut by taking the cartel as an issue is difficult to understand, which could hinder the development of the educational environment and create a vicious cycle in the science and engineering field. In particular, Chairman Sohn suggested, “There should be sufficient communication between the government and academia and appropriate measures taken as soon as possible.” Furthermore, it is hoped that GIST will come up with effective countermeasures to mitigate the impact of budget cuts felt by school members.

 

Reporter Eunji Han
hej040509@gm.gist.ac.kr

translated by Sangwoo Kim