By Park Ji-won
Lockheed Martin, a U.S. arms corporation, plans to set up a fund to promote aerospace research and development (R&D) activities at Korean universities.
The firm said Thursday it is inviting Korean researchers at universities to a science project competition.
Under the "Republic of Korea Science, Technology and Research" program, the company will receive project proposals in the fields of aeronautics, space, flight sciences, and emerging technologies in renewable energy generation and nanotechnology.
It will be the first "investment" made by Lockheed Martin into university researchers in an Asian country, a Lockheed Martin spokesman said by telephone.
"Entrepreneurship is a prerequisite to launch Korea's creative economy," said Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin.
"Through direct investment and hands-on mentoring, we want to inspire students and nurture university projects that could become the next generation of technological advancement and innovation."
Mo Helen, a spokeswoman who represents Lockheed Martin in Korea, said Johnson highly values the Korean education system and that is why he decided to make the investment in Korean universities.
But the company didn't give details, such as the program contents and the size of its investment.
Once a project is selected, the applicants will be funded and mentored by Lockheed Martin's engineers from October until the project is finished. The deadline for submissions is June 4.
Lockheed Martin has been a partner with Korea for more than 20 years, supplying products of major defense and civil priorities, including the Korean national defense system, air traffic control systems and new space and telecommunications.
The company has been developing partnerships with universities in other countries and industries to develop combinations of invention, innovation, engineering and systems integration that bear on problems of national importance, the firm said.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin runs a global security and aerospace business with some 115,000 employees worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The company's net sales were $45.4 billion in 2013.