|Title||2020 New Year’s Message from the President|
2020 New Year’s Message from the President
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Happy new year, IBS family.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the Rat. Being the first of all zodiac animals, rats symbolize clever and quick thinkers both in the West and the East. In our Korean history, they have been seen as spiritual beings that can foresee the safety of ship’s routes and surplus of harvest. Celebrating the start of the new year of the Rat, I wish you a year of full success, love and wealth by wisely resolving any challenge just like the rats do.
Dear IBS family,
2019 was a challenging year for us. IBS was subject to criticism after a series of audits and inspections. Our morale suffered. Our trust to each other began to break. A senior Korean scientist even said, “IBS is besieged.” The recent situation surrounding IBS reminded me of a four-character Chinese idiom "gongmyeongjijo" (共命之鳥), which was picked by a group of Korean professors as the expression that best describes the national state of the year 2019. It means two-headed bird, with each head believing it could survive without the other, despite the two sharing a common destiny. I believe it has many implications for IBS current situation. IBS is now under severe pressure for innovation from inside and outside, regarding institutional identity, governance, research support system, performance evaluation, tenure system, etc.
As I began to serve as the third IBS President, I could see my predecessor, President Kim’s ceaseless efforts to come up with solutions and plans for innovation with an acute awareness. While I was addressing issues of the past and working out innovation plans for the future, this new year began. Based on the critical assessment that I made as one of the scientists who were involved in the planning committee of IBS foundation and the past two month’s analysis as the IBS President, I set the IBS 2020 plan as below.
First, IBS will reinforce its philosophy that is to provide a long-term support for research independence of competent researchers. Excellence, autonomy, creativity, and openness – these four principles underpin IBS. They will be with the IBS destiny and will never be compromised by any operational change. “Competent scientists pursue research of their choice with guaranteed autonomy and independence.” This IBS philosophy must continue to be upheld regardless of changes of time. To this end, I will obtain both internal and external consent to keep this philosophy going, and reorganize relevant infrastructures and support systems.
Second, IBS will become a national basic science institute whose presence is recognized by the Korean science community. IBS HQ is planning to group Research Centers in key fields into umbrella institutes. For example, Campus Centers at the same host institution will be restructured under an umbrella institute, becoming a branch institute of IBS as a whole. Being a distinctive operational system in the country, the IBS Institute will allow us to lead the national basic science, in coexistence with NRF projects within the national R&D framework.
Third, IBS will make efforts to improve the welfare of young scientists and to provide them a stable research environment. The low limit of their pay band has been already raised. Such change will be put into practice along with a soon-to-be incorporated, new work level system for researchers. In the new system, young scientists are allowed to focus on research of their choice during the operational period of their Research Center. We will also increase their chances to lead projects as PIs. IBS will support young scientists to grow into IBS directors. Additionally, we will strengthen our support for sustainable research by streamlining the mid- and long-term career path system for researchers.
Fourth, IBS will establish an administrative support system that prioritizes the benefit of researchers. While pursuing an efficient support system with a newly established vice presidency and an integrated admin team, ensuring the wellbeing of researchers and stable research environment will be at the center of our efforts. We hope these new changes help to create IBS’ unique system and culture where autonomy of research and expertise in administrative support complement each other.
Fifth, IBS will faithfully conduct its duties of 2020. Among many missions are the construction of the rare isotope accelerator and 8th-year reviews of Research Centers. Getting into its full construction stage, the construction project will see the building of its main parts complete by this year. We will make sure the 8th-year reviews take place in a transparent and objective manner and will give Research Centers efficient feedbacks.
I believe, more than anything else, concerted efforts from all of us as an IBS family, which is stemmed from our trust to each other, are critical for IBS to reinvent itself and take a leap forward for the future. When you send me your full support and backing, I will make an all-out effort to make myself as busy as I can in meeting with people and gaining their support for IBS. I hope this will create better opportunities and a favorable environment for IBS.
In the year of the Rat ahead, I look forward that we deal with several issues as wise as rats symbolize. Wishing you and your family a year of success and accomplishment. Thank you.
IBS President, NOH Do Young