A six-man team comprised of students from KAIST and universities in Denmark won the first prize in the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals (P4G) Innovation Sprint on May 22, which was held at the KAIST College of Business campus in Seoul. The team was composed of Dong-Eun Lee from the Department of Biological Sciences, Juho Park from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jae-Hee Park and Kyung-Hyun Kim from the Program of Green Business & Policy at KAIST College of Business, Nicolai Thorball from Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and Sandra Flyvbjergy from the University of Southern Denmark. The team received a one million KRW cash prize from Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
The Innovation Sprint was co-hosted by KAIST and DTU. It celebrates the long-established diplomatic relations between South Korea and Denmark. Inviting 38 students from across the world, the sprint supports intellectual engagement of the next generation by encouraging them to address sustainability concerns brought forth by three major companies. These were VELUX, a Danish window manufacturing company, Hempler, a Danish paint coating supplier, and SK Holdings from South Korea. Participants were split into teams and spent a total of three days devising plans that addressed the companies’ sustainability concerns.
The proposal of the winning team, CIRCOS, was particularly commended by the panel of judges. DTU Senior Vice President Marianne Thellerson was compelled by the idea’s marketability and possible commercialization. Professor Hee-Kyung Park, one of the mentors of the winning team, further claimed that the idea had successfully met all evaluation criteria: Solution, Acceleration, and Pitch. The Crown Prince, who traveled to Korea for the sprint, and KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin both emphasized the importance of academic collaboration and interdisciplinary convergence in propelling modern approaches to solving global problems. The Crown Prince, in his congratulatory message, mentioned, “Partnerships are only possible to sustain through collaboration and hard work while staying curious, creative, and critical.”
President Shin reflected the same thoughts, reiterating the importance of collaboration in various disciplines. In his speech, he mentioned, “Collaboration across boundaries is most critical for responding to these issues. In that sense, this P4G Innovation Sprint is a shining example for demonstrating the collaborative efforts between teammates from diverse disciplines. When we work together and build convergent ideas, we will be more innovative and go further.”