Four major institutes of science and technology in South Korea have taken a step forward in tackling the challenges looming big in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
On May 24, KAIST, GIST, DGIST, and UNIST held an inaugural ceremony for the launch of the Joint Administrative Office of Institutes of Science and Technology. The new administrative office will serve as a center for promoting innovative efforts towards shared aspirations and building an effective work channel between the four institutes in an effort to keep up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This major move aims to create a new goal for the institutes to transform into “global value-creative world-leading universities”. KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin first pitched the concept of a “global value-creative world-leading university” during his speech at the KAIST Vision 2031 press conference in 2018. The Vision 2031 plan aims for KAIST to become a highly ranked university, and for Korea to advance in its global standing by 2031. Now, the four institutes have unanimously adopted the plan and will carry out projects together via the new joint administrative office.
Among other objectives, the new office announced its intent to consolidate the capabilities of institutes scattered across the peninsula to realize a synergistic effect. It envisions both individual growth of each institute as well as growth of the collective group. Chief Joint Administrative Officer Bowon Kim insisted, “We will work closely with the four institutes and the Ministry of Science and ICT to keep all four institutes as front runners in advancing technology.” Along with the launch event, a discussion session about the reformation of alternative military service was held on May 31. Attendees at the session offered different approaches on the necessity of the option of completing a PhD degree as an alternative to military service with respect to its contribution to national science and technology advancement and industrial innovation. The talk comes after a huge turmoil over a prematurely announced plan for the abolishment of the policy by the Ministry of National Defense.
After a long silence from school officials on the controversial matter, this discussion session was the first public move in support of the policy, which secures huge intellectual resources for KAIST and its partner institutions that are vital in their goal to become “global value-creative world-leading universities”.