Training USTians with pride by promotinga creative educational environment

Secure world-leading educational competitiveness

Discovering creative talent and to become real USTians
Establishment of UST21 education system

Become a university with industry-academia-research integration

Strengthening the cooperation between UST-GFRIs-corporations
Strengthen the cooperation between GFRIs
Support business start-ups with GFRI-based technologies

Establish global status as a national research university

Improving brand value
Improving cooperation network

Establish creative knowledge management system

Providing creative educational environment by applying cutting-edge technology
Improving management effectiveness

The UST a Hub among Research Institutes Grow into a world-class national research institute-university

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  • Registration Date : 2013-05-31
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The UST a Hub among Research Institutes Grow into a world-class national research institute-university
. Would you like to introduce the KIST Europe to our readers?
KIST Europe is located in Saarbrucken in Saarland, which is a federal state in southwestern Germany. As South Korea’s sole government-invested research institute with a corporation in Europe, KIST Europe was established in 1996 according to an agreement between the South Korean and German governments. It currently conducts research in areas, including biomedicine and mechatronics, and plans to focus on the growth of the energy field. KIST Europe promotes research cooperation, policy cooperation, and education cooperation projects between universities and research institutes in South Korea and organs in Europe and supports the expansion of South Korean industry-university-research institute organs to Europe. Its goal is to play the role of a base of cooperation for active exchange between researchers in South Korea and Europe. Currently, research is conducted jointly by people from approximately ten countries, including 25 Germans and 19 South Koreans.
What might be differences between Germany and South Korea in research institute culture?
KIST Europe is located within Saarland University. Nearby is a research institute of the Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research, and its current director is the third one in over 40 years. In other words, the first and second directors each served a term of 18 years. On the contrary, KIST Europe is in its 16th year and has already seen the inauguration of the 6th director. The director has changed on an average term of 3 years. That is, it is operated in the same way as other government-invested research organs in South Korea. Setting aside the simple fact that the director’s term of office is long in this country, judging from the way the German government treats scientists, it is necessary to note that researchers are supported based on long-term and consistent policies.

In Germany, well established are a social climate and a system where a researcher’s abilities and competence are evaluated, and he or she can find a job based on the list of his or her publications, including papers and patents, as well as peer reviews. While there is a tendency in South Korea to judge a researcher based on academic cliquism, or the university that he or she graduated from, in Germany, a researcher is evaluated based on his or her accomplishments and abilities, which in turn, are connected to employment.

A researcher from KIST who is currently at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has said that German researchers always seem to be idling their time away. But, according to this researcher, they end up accomplishing even more after a certain time. Administrative aspects other than fields that researchers must participate in professionally are resolved by the system. In other words, in comparison with South Korea, Germany has constructed an environment where researchers can play their professional roles and immerse themselves in research.

In Europe, those sorts of things are very well established systemically and, with the accumulation of know-how over a long period, only efficient and good elements have been preserved. But because of that, it tends to be stable, and because the continent itself was modernized a long time ago, it is somewhat lacking in dynamism. It is less dynamic than South Korea. So, if the passionate students of South Korea come to Europe and serve as a new motivating power, it will be possible for the two parties to create mutually positive synergy.
What might be opportunities for South Korean students to be engaged in KIST Europe or Europe itself?
There are 27 South Korean students at Saarland University and about 2,700 throughout Germany. But around half of them major in music or the arts. Few are those in science and engineering. What is important is that, when you look at international conferences held in Europe, while the United States has a stronger voice, Europe has more votes. Because Europe enjoys that much more of an influence, participation in conferences held in Europe from early on is good for growing as global figures. The most important thing in international cooperation is an open mind. For students to grow as international figures, that kind of an attitude will be important.

Geographically, KIST Europe is located in the heart of Europe, which is advantageous for experiencing the cultural environments of diverse countries. It will be able to play the role of a medium for transmitting advanced information when a researcher wants to conduct research or to accumulate experience in Europe, including Germany.
You have played an important role in the establishment of the UST as well. In your view, is the UST living up to its original mission?
There are four research associations in Germany, and it is important to look at the way they forge relationships with universities. In Germany, the history of the university is extremely long, and experiment facilities and equipments cannot but be an important part of university education. So, to supplement such aspects, research institutes were established, and such distribution and sharing of roles between universities and research institutes seem to be efficient.

There is the advantage that one party plays the role of training and supplying researchers, and the other party supplements its own personnel by receiving those researchers. Here, the relationship between universities and research institutes is quite efficient. However, that is not the case in South Korea, and that is why the UST was established.

The UST differs in nature from the German system such as the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the Fraunhofer Society. Because the UST plays the role of a hub that collects the capacity of all government-invested research institutes, with education at the center, it is even more important than and has even more things to do than the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society. With the UST at the center, each government-invested research institute must play its role as an efficient link. Up to now, they have done well. I have heard that the UST has established a new mid- to long-term development strategy (Vision 2025) to be implemented by 2025, upon the 10th anniversary of its foundation and is making efforts in various ways. I expect it will play its role admirably. Likewise, KIST Europe will take part in the training of outstanding R & D personnel through diverse and practical cooperation.