UK engineering is very highly valued in South Korea, according to a recent survey of the Fellows of the UK and Korean National Academies of Engineering.

While the UK battles with its biggest fall in the uptake of engineering qualifications at all levels, a large majority of senior Korean engineers (87%) still see the UK’s levels of science and technology capacity as higher than those of their own country.

Korean President Park Geun-hye— who trained as an engineer— visits the UK this week on a mission seeking to build co-operation between the two countries at the intersection of industry, high technology and the creative industries.

The Academies’ survey revealed interesting variations in perceptions of UK engineering strengths, with the majority of Korean respondents seeing the UK’s research and industrial base as particularly excellent in materials, energy and resource engineering, and in chemical and bio-engineering, but very few viewing the UK as world class in civil and environmental engineering.

The UK component of the survey, in return, revealed confidence in Korean engineering; the majority of UK engineers who responded (51%) saw both countries as similar, with 37% seeing Korea slightly or much better than the UK.

“These results confirm the high regard in which UK engineering is held in Korea,”- said Professor John McCanny, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Director of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queens University Belfast. “Yet too many universities and companies overlook Korean collaboration opportunities when looking towards Asia.”

UK engineers also see the government as supportive, and responsible for creating a fertile environment for innovation, while Korean engineers were in general more sceptical about government initiatives, highlighting the risk of increased bureaucracy and red tape.

The results of the survey will inform a programme of innovation policy collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK and the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK).

Notes for editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

    We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For more information please contact

Shane McHugh at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0614; email: Shane McHugh