South Korean conglomerate Samsung will invest in the search for alternatives to rare earth materials, as part of its major research drive for new technologies.
Last week, it unveiled the first 27 projects under its Future Technology Cultivation Project, which will be backed with funding of 1.5 trillion (US$1.41 billion) of funding over the next 10 years, according to Joongang Daily. This is part of a wider push by South Korea announced in May to develop new growth engines for a creative economy.
There will be 7 areas of research for new materials This includes a project to develop optoelectronics materials that can substitute the use of rare earth materials, which is essential for making TVs, smartphones and other electronics. The supply of the material is currently dominated by China, and is subject to its export quotas.
Another 8 areas will look into the information and communications sector including next-generation computing cells imitating cranial nerves, neuromorphic processors, and hybrid holographic 3D displays, noted Business Korea.
The other 12 research fields fall under basic science, which Samsung Group said was aimed at benefiting the society and not just the company.
The 27 projects are the first batch among hundreds more which will be funded by Samsung. It is receiving applications for the next batch till December 20, and then start the selection process in January.
Earlier this month, Samsung Electronics pledged to invest more in acquisitions and research and development for new growth areas, signalling its willingness to be more aggressive with its US$50 billion cash pile.