[Vol.19] Dreaming of Korean Technology Globalization through Research Convergence (UST-KICT Campus, Construction Environment Engineering Major)
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- Registration Date : 2016-09-29
Construction technology is a public asset for forming the grounds for social activity and building infrastructure that involve economic activities such as roads, ports, and railways. The SOC or Social Overhead Capital projects have led the economic development of the country and made profound contribution in improving the quality of life. As the mecca of SOC research in Korea, KICT is conducting large-scale empirical research on social infrastructure. Through this section of the UST Tour for our fall issue, we would like to introduce UST-KICT campus and the Construction Environment Engineering major.
KICT, a training center for multidisciplinary talents who will lead the country’s SOC projects
KICT is a government-run construction technology research institute founded in 1983 to develop original technology for construction and land management, as well as to spread its outcome for laying the foundation for the social and economic development of the country. As it performs various research projects with regard to national SOC plans, it possesses large-scale empirical research facilities across the country such as the Fire Safety Research Center, the River Test Center, and the SOC Empirical Research Center. In particular, KICT is home to more than a hundred researchers in the field of construction and environment. In addition, the center also runs various test facilities used for developing advanced technology such as a precision analysis laboratory for test specimen analysis, an urban flood forecasting room, an intelligent road transport operation system, and a pavage material laboratory.
KICT is striving to support government policies in order to build convenient, safe, and high-quality infrastructure. Also, it conducts corresponding research and development projects. Since 2004, it has newly established 3 new majors that can be immediately utilized in the industries and research fields. Kwang-soo Kim, the Campus Representative Professor of KICT said, “This campus has gathered not only the majors that are directly related with SOC, such as civil engineering, construction, and environment, but also various other majors such a chemicals, polymers, mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering.” He emphasized that KICT’s mission is to nurture talents specialized in multiple disciplines. He also added, “The future SOC business requires the development of high value-added technology of a higher level than the current labor cost-cutting technology to propel the country ahead of the advanced countries. To meet this need, we have to train talents who can converge multiple disinclines.”
Construction Environment Engineering,
a bridge between actual social problems and the academia
Construction Environment Engineering major consists of two areas―environmental engineering and water resources. Environmental engineering is further subdivided into water treatment and pipelines, waste treatment and recycling, treatment and restoration of contaminated soil, and environmental materials development. Water resource major is also further subdivided into water resource policy and planning, flood prevention and drought disaster mitigation, ecological river restoration and watershed management, and disaster management using radar and satellite.
Hyun-je Oh, Professor in Charge of the Construction Environment Engineering major said the department aims to go beyond the realm of academia and resolving social problems using water, environment, and water resource management technology. He said, “It acts as a bridge connecting the academia to real-world problems such as draught, flood, green tide, and ground subsidence caused by climate change.” The environment management technology of Korea, in particular water and sewage management and waste water disposal technology, were all invented by KICT. As such, the Construction Environment Engineering major is leading the creation of new ideas required for the development of new policies and technologies as well as their implementation.
Promoting Korean technology by conducting converged research with strong basics
Along with KICT, which focuses on converged research, the Construction Environment Engineering major strives to invent creative technologies through the convergence of multiple disciplines, and to this end, is recruiting talents with a wide range of expertise. Professor Oh stressed that for the successful convergence of various disciplines, the basics should come first and act as the foundation. He said, “We opened our doors to many majors including civil engineering, environmental, chemical, polymer, inorganic materials, chemistry, biology, and geology environment. As we are well aware of the importance of basic curriculums, the major provides students opportunities to complete the common basic courses before they transit into in-depth learning.” As such, KICT’s construction environment technologies born through converged research that were strongly rooted in the basics are now spreading onto the globe. “We aim to foster global-leading experts in the field of construction environment engineering. The ultimate goal of the major is the globalization of Korean technology through various trials such as technology transfer to underdeveloped countries.”
KICT campus and the faculty members of the Construction Environment Engineering major are of the highest quality. They pour their energy not only on their own projects but also in nurturing new talents because they believe that the students’ potential to gain achievement can surpass the level of the current research. “When the leaves of an empress tree fall, people say three different things. The first does not even know what an empress three is; the second is indifferent to the tree; and the third knows that it signifies that winter is just around the corner and thus prepares for it. I hope the students of the major would be of the third type, devoting themselves more to learning and studying to gear up for the future ahead.”