A Treasure Trove of Ocean Information, A Training Ground for Future Ocean Experts (UST-KIOST Campus)
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- Registration Date : 2015-12-29
News of maritime accidents keep coming one after another, and the demand for a wide variety of ocean information is on the rise across different areas within the South Korean society. Against this background, this reporter visited the UST-KIOST Campus, whose main mission is to provide various information on oceans and train ocean information experts, and asked about multi-faceted ways to train ocean experts and the future vision of UST-KIOST, the cradle for South Korean ocean experts.
Founded as the Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology by a special statute
KIOST started out in 1973 as a KIST affiliate dedicated to building science and technology infrastructures for the environment and the use of the mankind’s common assets, and providing support & establishing technical partnership with universities, research institutes, and business enterprises. The Institute relocated to the current campus in 1986, and separated itself from KIST in June 1990 to become the Korea Ocean Research Laboratory. The Laboratory was promoted to an institute in 2001, and continued operation until its reorganization into the Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) in 2012. KIOST is officially classified as an institute of science and technology unlike the other government-funded laboratories, because the Institute was founded under the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology Act, a special act enacted in July 2012 specifically for the purpose of promoting the former Korea Ocean Research Laboratory into the current organization. To be more specific, the promotion was implemented under Article 1 of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology Act, and Article 4 of the Articles of Foundation of the Institute. The Institute maintains many of the features of its predecessor, except that it has been assigned additional missions.
Contribution to Ocean Safety and National Security through a Wide Selection of Specialized Majors
KIOST offers education on 4 specialized majors. The Integrated Ocean Sciences major provides students with foundational information on physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, biology, atmosphere science, remote sensing and other engineering areas required to become experts who investigate a wide range of oceanographic phenomena, and apply them to ocean development. The Integrated Ocean Sciences is the most academically active campus in KIOST, where students and researchers are actively engaged in physical oceanography, oceanic climatology, chemical oceanography, and satellite oceanography research projects, ocean observation activities using ocean observation satellites for red tides, internal waves, unsinkable vessels, and phytoplanktons, and development of vessel monitoring technologies for catch/demand monitoring, national defense, ocean safety, and ocean security purposes. The Marine Biology major provides students with basic knowledge on principles of the marine ecology, functions of various marine organisms, and genetic traits of marine organisms, and focuses on training marine biology research and development experts, use of a wide range of ocean investigation equipment including those mounted in marine survey vessels, and researches on classification of marine organisms and marine ecology structures. The Marine Biotechnology major trains experts in marine bio resource development by furthering the students’ capabilities through research projects which apply genome analysis technologies to elucidate the adaptation of marine organisms to oceanic environments and discover unique functions of marine organisms. The Marine Biotechnology major is recognized both in and outside of South Korea for its high competitiveness, with active research activities aimed at extracting metabolites and physiologically active materials from organisms living in deep seas and areas with extreme conditions to produce hydrogen gas and marine medicine. The Marine Environmental Science major trains future experts in the field of marine environmental chemistry through education and researches on contaminant distribution, behavioral characteristics, interactions between different media, and marine biology experts through education and researches on reactions of organisms with various ecological characteristics to toxins. Major research efforts include researches on plastic wastes in oceans, and marine pathogens.
Training Experts with its Diversified Research Infrastructure
KIOST, the best ocean science/technology think-tank in South Korea, consists of more than 250 Ph.D.’s from a wide range of disciplines including oceanography, physics, biology, geology, chemistry, engineering, and ocean policy studies, 88 teaching staffs, and other experts from various backgrounds. KIOST owns 4 ocean survey ships (a large-sized ocean survey vessel currently under construction), operates ocean observation satellites and multiple facilities including the new institute building currently under construction in Busan, three regional branches, three regional stations, and four overseas centers. The Institute also has various ocean survey and analysis equipment, well-developed research infrastructures, and diverse research facilities. Along with a plethora of R&D projects motivated by the increased significance of ocean preservation and development, KIOST has set up the Academic Programs Section, a department dedicated to training ocean science/technology experts. KIOST also operates an additional graduate school other than UST to ensure more efficient operation of its graduate schools, thereby training ocean science experts which South Korea needs. In addition, KIOST has entered into MOU’s with more than 20 nearby universities through its ‘Academia-Research Institute Partnership Project,’ so that graduate students can join joint research labs in KIOST while maintaining their membership in their respective schools. Furthermore, KIOST provides education services for government agencies in need of expert information on the oceans, the Korea Cost Guard, and the South Korean Navy. The Institute also trains geology teachers at various high schools, who form the foundation of education of future ocean experts, so as to secure the channels and foundation to attract talented students to graduate courses at KIOST .