Brain Pool Program South Korea

This program is designed to invite overseas outstanding scientists for the enhancement of research competence through joint research in R&D fields in Korea, and build a global cooperative research network more efficiently. Interested applicants are requested to file an application in accordance with the relevant procedures.

The MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT) and NRF (National Research Foundation of Korea) welcome applications from host researchers in South Korea who wish to invite outstanding scientists to join the Brain Pool Program (BP Program).

Fields of Research:

All fields in science and technology

Provide strategic preferential support in areas where the country’s private sector lacks R&D capabilities and where the government’s role as a technology provider is critical in 8 innovation growth engine technology fields

* Smart city, self-driving car, drone, construction automation, zero energy building, virtual land space, smart logistics, and intelligent railway

Eligibility of Brain Pool Candidates: Outstanding overseas scientists who have been awarded a doctoral degree for more than five years.

Program period: (Type 1) 6-12 months*, (Type 2) 3 years (2+1)

(Type 1) 3-12 months for industrial bodies

In the case of ongoing BP project, it can be reapplied within 3 months of its closing date of the project year (for Type 1- Reapplication).

For Type 2, it will be decided whether to be continued or not the last year (3rd) based on the research achievement evaluation for the first 2 years.

Details of Support: Personnel costs and expenses incurred for inviting the Brain Pool Fellow.

Personnel costs: KRW 3~17 million per month

(Based on the evaluation criteria reflecting research achievements and level of current salary for invited scientist)

For research institutes affiliated to industries , only 70% of personnel costs will be supported.

Invitation Expenses: up to KRW 17.6 million (airfare, child education subsidies, moving expenses (for those who participate in a 12-month project or more), insurance premiums, etc.)

Quota and Eligibility

Host Institution: Government-funded research institutes, national/public research institutes, universities, research institutes affiliated with universities, research institutes affiliated with small enterprises of middle standing, and nonprofit research institutes.

Host Researcher (Brain Pool Applicant): Full-time employees of the respective host institutions who have the rank of at least assistant professor, senior researcher, or chair of a research institute (corporate research institute).

Invited Scientist (Brain Pool Candidate):

  1. Foreign and Korean scientists* who have more than five years of experiences in R&D abroad after obtaining a Ph.D.
  2. Brain pool candidate with Korean nationality must reside abroad when applying for the program (except for reapplying).
  3. In the case of small or middle standing enterprises being the host organization, Brain Pool candidates who have five-years or more of on-site R&D experience in the overseas industry may apply regardless of his/her possession of a doctoral degree
  4. Possibility of re-applying to the Brain Pool Program for a maximum of up to 3 times including the first term (For type 1)
  5. Post KRF fellows who have completed the KRF (Korea Research Fellowship) program successfully and have received a higher rank for the final evaluation, are eligible as a Brain pool candidate.
  6. Host researcher cannot apply for Type 1 and Type 2 simultaneously with the same Brain Pool candidates.
  7. Preferences
  8. Minimum selection quota (30%) for ethnic Koreans or Korean nationals residing overseas.
  9. Preferences for Type 1 (new selected project) in the case where the hosted Brain Pool candidate is full time (Permanent employee) by the institutions which are selected as a Global R&D Center

How to apply and what documents to submit.

  1. Host research institutes discover Brain Pool Fellows and apply through the Integrated Research Support System of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)
  2. Information of Host Researcher (mandatory) must be updated three to four days in advanceas when and how the updates are reflected to the KRI system differs according to the applicant’s affiliate.
  3. Application should be uploaded on the ERND system by the host researcher (BP applicant)’s ERND account not by the BP candidate’s. The application shall be prepared within the deadline and made certain the BP application and necessary documentation required is uploaded in time)
  4. For more information, please visit the website of National Research Foundation of Korea* or refer to the Brain Pool Guidelines (Appendix 4).
Program InquiryH&D Development Team in Science & Technology, National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF), ☎ 042-869-6374, 6381(For English) / E-mail:
Online InquiryResearch Advisory Center (Call Center), National Research Foundation of Korea

☎ 1544-6118

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