Public Release: 

KAIST hosts 2016 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities

More than 120 senior representatives from 65 universities around the world will convene this month in Seoul to discuss the social responsibilities of higher education and strategic global partnerships

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 7, 2016--Higher education as a driver of change to address the social and global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century has never been as important as it is today.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) will raise the topic of higher education as a driver of social change, innovation, and entrepreneurship with the heads of global universities at its seventh international forum to be held on April 11-12, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

The 2016 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU) will bring over 120 presidents and vice presidents of 65 research universities and institutes from 36 nations together to discuss the theme of "Social Responsibilities of Higher Education and Strategic Global Partnership."

Presidents Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang of KAIST, Jacques Biot of École Polytechnique in France, and Peretz Lavie of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will address the conference as plenary speakers.

President Kang will speak about KAIST's initiatives to produce creative talents through student-centered education, entrepreneurship curricula, and the integration of humanities into cutting-edge research programs. His presentation, titled "The Fostering of Creative Talents and the Social Responsibility of Research Universities in the New Era," introduces KAIST's educational philosophy which can be represented as π. A broad range of understanding in basic disciplines (the horizontal line) is supported with one prong of in-depth knowledge in a chosen field and the other in entrepreneurial spirit. KAIST graduates have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in research, academia, business, and public service. Nearly 25% of the research and development personnel at Samsung Electronics are KAIST Ph.D. holders. He also describes KAIST's latest endeavor to turn a university-led entrepreneurial activity into a stable business based on research outcomes and campus innovations. The K-School, a one-year master's degree program on entrepreneurship and innovation, has just launched and is expecting to receive its first batch of students this fall. The K-School is envisioned to continue the university's legacy as a major feeder for startups in Korea.

President Lavie will give a talk on "Fostering an Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Ecosystem in Israel," in which he describes how the Technion-Israel Institute has become integral to the foundation of the nation's I&E platform. Since its establishment in 1912, the university has become a key player in the growth of Israel's industry, science, and technology while nurturing the majority of the nation's top-notch researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Technion graduates have created more than 2,000 companies in Israel alone, generating 100,000 jobs and USD 30 billion through mergers and acquisitions.

President Biot will offer his insights into how the future of global research universities will be widely impacted by the emergence of disruptions triggered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In his speech entitled "How to Prepare Our Universities for the New Era of Industry 4.0," he emphasizes that universities should take multi-disciplinary approaches to tackle societal challenges given the complexity of today's problems ranging from climate change to energy crises, pandemic diseases, and poverty. He argues that universities should identify the needs of students in "Generation Z" who, from birth, have been heavily exposed to the Internet and digital technologies and, thus, universities should develop new educational systems (i.e., University 4.0.) to better prepare these students to cope with Industry 4.0.

The IPFGRU consists of presentations and discussions addressing the following sub-topics:

  • Seeking a New Model of Research Universities in a New Era: This session will explore the role of research universities as both innovation drivers and growth engines in an age of robotics, globalization, and digitally-driven markets. In addition, speakers will discuss how to prepare universities for the Industry 4.0 era, and how multidisciplinary approaches and open innovations will play a large part in facilitating translational research and technology transfer.

  • Shared Challenges and Responsibilities from a Global Perspective: Universities will share their strategies, policies, and practices to respond to critical issues facing local and global communities such as youth unemployment, the environment, energy, inequality, and entrepreneurship.

  • Strategic Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Panelists will discuss how to build productive and sustainable partnerships that can generate synergies between education and research.

  • Insights into Higher Education: Trends and Development: Participants will examine how universities can stay relevant in an increasingly competitive higher education sector and can assist students to better adapt to opportunities and challenges posed by the new industry of digital transformation and exponentially-growing technologies.

Sung-Hyon Myaeng, the Associate Vice President of the International Office at KAIST and a Co-chair of the 2016 IPFGRU said:

"The IPFGRU was established in 2008 to promote excellence and innovation in higher education with presidents of leading research universities and key policy-makers in the private and public sectors from across the world. Since then, it has served as one of the largest university gatherings in Asia, allowing participants to cooperate and share their expertise, ideas, and best practices taking place in academia, industry, and government. This year's meeting has recorded the largest number of universities participating, including 28 European schools, 20 Asian institutions, and 8 schools from the Americas, which I believe reflects a sense of urgency that global universities share. One way or another, we must adapt to the rapidly transforming educational and research environment encompassing higher learning."


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