On Oct. 26, presidents of eight universities and the Mayor of Seoul City Lee Myung-bak, signed an agreement at Dongguk University (DU).
"In these days, Industrial-Academic cooperation (IAC) is an important topic at universities. I think it will be a critical factor which determines a university's power, as time goes by. Seoul City will endeavor to enlarge universities' role in Seoul's IAC," said mayor Lee. Actually, the agreement says they will cooperate with each other substantially in order to expand IAC with industrial organizations. These eight universities are located in the middle-south of Seoul; so they are able to offer their research expertise to the middle-south industries. Seoul City promised it will assist administratively as well. Seoul and the universities seek to make win-win effects by working together.
Nowadays, it's true that IAC is rising as a hot issue among domestic universities, as the mayor stated. Why has IAC become so important? And what should we do in order to gain positive results though IAC? The Dongguk Post would try to answer the above questions........................................................................................Ed.
Have you ever heard of the "Synergy effect?" If two or more organizations are more successful when they work together than when they work separately, we used to say "They generated synergy effect." This effect is regarded as the most effective way among heads of companies, schools, local governments, and so forth. Especially, enterprises see synergy as a way to get enormous profits.
Have you ever thought there is synergy between a university and a company? There is a lot of synergy between them, and we call these effects "Industrial-Academic cooperation."
IAC's first purpose is to solve industry's problems by using a school's research facilities and manpower. Further, local competitiveness this strengthen when a university and local industries work together. Thus, the cooperation contributes to develop local economies. International companies such as Nokia, Microsoft and IBM are good examples of IAC.
It interests most domestic universities, as well. According to the University News Network, the council of presidents of Korean universities agreed that IAC is important to strengthen their competitiveness. The education authority recognize its importance, and are promoting several policies in order to encourage IAC. University evaluations consider how actively and effectively a school cooperates with companies.
"A university can obtain substantial benefits through IAC," said Prof. Baek Soo-hyun, head of the Center for Industrial-Academic Cooperation (CIAC) at DU. According to him, cooperation would be a good opportunity not only for companies to accomplish technological advances at a relatively low cost, but also for schools to maximize their intellectual property.
"Moreover, students can get actual information of industry. It may be a good chance for them to get information about a job they prefer. It is a sort of win-win effect," prof. Baek explained why IAC is becoming more important.
Although many Korean universities are interested in IAC, there are only few that actively enlarging cooperation with industry. This type of cooperation has already been popularized in several developed countries, such as the U.S. and Germany. In the case of Korea, most universities don't exactly understand the IAC concept, or they don't know what to do.
"One of the difficulties is the unfeasible plan of education authority. The authority's policies are well-matched to local national universities. But they force same policies on private schools." Officers in the IAC section at every private university are complaining. For a direct example, the Ministry of Education is requiring every university to establish an IAC section in their School Authority. It is an effective way to cooperate with local national universities, but it gives a heavy burden to private schools. Compared with other nations, Korean universities are poor at IAC, because of a lack of understanding.
Fortunately, DU's CIAC was established in 1998, about two years earlier than the other schools. DU has been leading the IAC consortium, a kind of IAC efficiency union, of Seoul district for the past 5 years. They are steadily increasing total working expenses, and the number of cooperation cases and participating companies. In 1999, moreover, DU was selected as first for Triangles of Technology Assistance for Small and Medium Enterprises (TRITAS). So, DU got lots of advantages.
"Undergraduates are trained for practical talents, and some of them were employed at the positions they desired. The school received the sizable monetary support for the past five years. Considering the potential profits of the synergy effects, gains were larger than we expect through TRITAS," said professor Baek. DU's CIAC is also supporting students' starting new enterprises. So far, 27 companies are located in Dongguk Hall.
The School Authority (SA) are, however, not aware of the importance of IAC, even though CIAC lead domestic universities. Only 6 or 7 staff members are working at DU's CIAC. Compared with other university who support IAC positively, it is relatively few. And there is little SA monetary support going to CIAC, which has to attract outside capital.
DU divides IAC into two parts: IAC and outside research -- privately promoted by professors. So CIAC is taking charge of IAC affairs, and Research Affairs Office in Main Hall is in charge of outside research. But there isn't any reason for separate control. Instead, it appears that the SA is indifferent to IAC. Most universities control them together.
What are other universities doing now for IAC? What do they think about it? To hear detailed contents of Yonsei University (YU), the Post met Kwak Chang-soon (IAC Foundation in YU).
"YU has worked in variety of ways for IAC. Up to last year, we had been connected with 255 companies. Yonsei's newly-appointed president promises to make an effort to maximize their intellectual properties' worth. It seems that he is interested in cooperation," said Mr. Kwak.
YU has three buildings -- "Industry-University Research Center," "Advanced Science Research Center" and "Yonsei Research Center" -- which were built only for research and not for lecturing. Each building is bigger than Information & Culture Center at DU, and it houses R&D companies such as Samsung, LG and KECOP.
Most IAC matters take charge CIAC in Research Affair of YU. The office helps their professors' apply for intellectual property right patents. They also forward demands of companies to their experts in the field.
YU specializes in medical science and medical science engineering. They have separated administrative offices for both realms. So, YU is first in these two IAC fields in Korea.
Let's take another example. Hanyang University's (HU) Ansan Campus is famous for IAC. For example, the sub-campus was recognized as an a IAC model case by the government. Then, they will be annually supported with 3.5 million dollars for the next five years. Korea Institute of Industrial Technology's Ansan branch, the Korea Electro technology Research Institute, Korea Testing Laboratory, LG Innotek Company, LG Micron laboratory, and Gyenggi Technopark. are placed in the Ansan campus. Especially, Gyenggi Technopark is to include 80 companies in 3,900m2 area. How did they become a university which specializes in large-scale research? Kim Woo-seung, an IAC Foundation director at HU, explained.
"When we first established the Ansan campus, we didn't know how we could compete with other universities, overcoming the handicap which is far from Seoul. After many discussions, we concluded that we should specialize in IAC. This was possible because the campus located at core of Gyeonggi Province and near the industrial complex of Banwol and Sihwa. This offers companies in the complex access in order to solve their technological problems. On the other hand, HU's students get a chance to join practical research, which can lead to a job." Kim added their critical key was a change of thought.
In these days, many universities are reorganizing their curriculums to specialize in certain spheres. Especially, there is growing recognition about the need to specialized in IAC. Kyunghee University (KHU)'s interest in oriental medical science is a good example. KHU got into scientific research in partnership with Coreana Cosmetics. They invented a wrinkle-care cosmetic in 2003 through the partnership. On the other hand, though DU's Dept. of Oriental Medical Science has long history and produced many oriental physicians, it got a low-IAC-ranking in JoongAng Ilbo's University Evaluation in 2004. It demonstrates that DU takes no interest in specialization.
In the field of semiconductor science, DU received excellent results. Graduates who studied semiconductor at DU should took in research with companies and submitted their SCI treaties. As a result, employment among the college and graduate-school graduates is high every year. They also attract a lot of company research. However, the SA doesn't know the departments worth. Prof. Kim Deuk-young said, "We are always suffering from a shortage of laboratory space. We have only 4 laboratories, and they are located in at Dongguk Hall, Faculty Hall, Myeongjin Hall and Main Hall. The SA promised administrative support earlier this year, but nothing has happened."
IAC has entered on its first phase. The result hinges on each university's effort. They will bring about a reform of their image through cooperation. Moreover, it will help the SA financially and increase employment of job applicants. They also acquire executive knowledge as result a of cooperative research. HU's Ansan Campus recognized the importance of cooperation earlier than other universities and knew they had to attract outside capital. However, DU doesn't understand how important that cooperation is. Even if the SA has recognized the importance of cooperation, they haven't adopted a positive attitude.
In the United States, they have a center for supervising intellectual property rights acquired from cooperation. However, this is doesn't exist in Korea. "Korea clearly shows a lack of the understanding the importance of intellectual property rights. This is positively antediluvian! After a few years, we will evaluate the university on the number of patents issued. These changes will allow us to significantly improve our intellectual capacity per student, a key measure to evaluate the efficiency and potential values of a university." Mr. Baek expressed that cooperation will be change.
DU's CIAC made every effort to join in cooperation. In order to keep pace, the SA needs to support specialization. This is not a problem that can be solved in a short time. Through cooperative efforts, we will see the fruits of our labor.
The Dongguk Post retired the following senior staff members: The 35th Editor-in-Chief and News & Social Desk Editor, Shin Dong-kyu (Junior, Dept. of International Trade), The 36th Editor-in-Chief and International & Cutural Desk Editor, Yoon Ji-won (Junior, Dept. of Communication Studies).
Meanwhile, Kim Sung-ho (Sophomore, Dept. of Electronic Engineering) was designated Editor-in-Chief. Kim Hyun-ah (Sophomore, Dept. of Information System) has become News Desk Editor, Park Nu-ri (Sophomore, Dept. of Chinese Lang. & Lit.) has become Social Desk Editor, Son Jin-lee (Sophomore, Dept. of Communication Studies), and Kim Hyung-jong (Sophomore, Dept. of English Interpretation & Translation) has become International Desk Editor.
Kim Sung-ho, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
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