|Konkuk University President Min Sang-gi talks about the school's goal to nurture biotechnology experts during an interview with The Korea Times at his office on the university's campus in eastern Seoul, Dec. 15.
/ Courtesy of Konkuk University
By Chung Hyun-chae
Universities should lead industries by producing talent and creating new ideas that drive growth on the cutting edge, Konkuk University President Min Sang-gi said.
For this, Konkuk University has set a goal to become a pioneer in biotechnology while boosting academic-industrial cooperation.
Actually it was a goal promoted since the foundation of the school in 1946 by Yoo Seok-chang, a medical doctor whose pen name was Sanghuh. Since then, the university has strategically focused on biotechnology according to the founder's strong belief in the importance of agriculture which was the main pillar of the economy at that time.
"Now we are focusing on maximizing our biotechnology capabilities by combining them with information and communication technology (ICT)," Min said.
Konkuk Institute of Science and Technology (KIT)
As part of such efforts, the university launched the Konkuk Institute of Science and Technology (KIT), a college specializing in biotechnology and engineering, this year, after winning one of the Ministry of Education's financial support programs named PRIME project.
The university will receive about 48 billion won in state aid for the project for three years through 2018.
KIT will accept 333 freshmen next year.
The institute has eight departments ― stem cell and regenerative biotechnology; systems biotechnology; integrative bioscience and biotechnology; energy; smart vehicle engineering; smart ICT convergence; cosmetics engineering; and biomedical science and engineering.
"We created those departments to meet the needs of future industries," Min said.
According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, new growth engines include intelligent robots, electronic cars and wearable devices.
"Unlike in the past industrial era where there were many things that universities could do to develop local industries, universities now have difficulties keeping up with the trends in rapidly changing industries and have failed to meet their demands," Min said. "I hope KIT will lead the nation while contributing to the economic development by cultivating experts in each field."
KIT students will have to do internships or participate in business activities during their last semester.