“Impressions of my visit to the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea on June 2, 2014”
We visited KAIST University in Deajeon, about 270 km from Seoul on June 2, 2014. This university was founded in 1971 and has excellent research and education programmes. KAIST ranks 56 in The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES). The core values of KAIST are advertised as ‘Challenge and Creativity’ which clearly resonates with the strategy vision of the UT for 2020 that is under development.
Our company consisted of Prof. Vanessa Evers (HMI and Robotics, UT), Mr. Peter Wijlhuizen (Innovation Attaché of the Netherlands Embassy in South Korea and UT alumnus Mechanical Engineering), and Ms. Hanna Lange (International relations, UT).
Envisioned Design Centre at UT
The aim of the visit was to explore whether KAIST could be an interesting international partner for the envisioned Design Centre at UT. Both the Design Centre at the UT and the ID school at KAIST share the philosophy of a creative cross-disciplinary ecosystem where faculty and students from all disciplines work together on creative solutions to socially relevant challenges. They are inspired by novel scientific insights in close collaboration with industry and governmental stakeholders.
Therefore, we spend most of the day at the College of Information Technology, to which the ID school belongs. Prof. Vanessa Evers has collaborated with researchers from KAIST in the areas of design and robotics for quite some time already. During this visit, we were particularly interested to discuss the philosophy of the ID school with Prof. Kyung-won Chung, Head of the ID Department, and prof. Youn-kyung Lim, Prof. Vanessa Evers’ counterpart. The ID school of KAIST has a strong tradition in research; cooperation with KAIST’s experts in this field will be an opportunity for both UT students and staff. We are looking forward to start an exciting programme of student exchange between students of UT and the KAIST ID school. I am sure that UT students will have a great international experience at the campus of this institute.
In the morning, we were welcomed by prof. Sung-Mo Kang, the president of KAIST. In addition to the cooperation in the fields of Design and Robotics Prof. Kang was also very interested in the research in UT’s MIRA institute and our educational programme on Technical Medicine. KAIST is also interested in establishing a technology-based medical programme, but is facing similar issues as the UT had when setting up our Technical Medicine degree courses.
Our host at KAIST was impressed by the multidisciplinary approach in all UT education and research. Also, the president showed a lot of interest in the entrepreneurial spirit and successes at UT. It seems like UT is on the right track and our philosophy enjoys a lot of sympathies from Asian top universities. I was personally triggered by the fact that KAIST has introduced an education model 3.0 with project work and flipped class rooms. It seems that KAIST is front runner in Asia in this respect.
On top of that, 75% of all education is taught in English which enables UT and KAIST to exchange students in many fields.
In the afternoon, it was interesting to visit the Robotics lab of Prof. Kwon (research partner of Vanessa Evers) and get to know their latest findings in robot technology.
To summarize, KAIST would be an excellent partner to collaborate with in the context of the new Design Centre at the UT and very likely also in other research and education areas, such as Technical Medicine. I would like to encourage UT students and staff to explore the international possibilities at this exciting institute.
Later this week, I will visit the University of Science and Technology in China (USTC), the Singapore University of Science and Design, and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Soon, I will reflect on my visit to those other world class institutions.