The National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) has awarded JongCheol Pyo (School of Urban and Environmental Engineering), a graduate student in the combined master-doctoral program at UNIST, with a 2016 Global PhD Fellowship (GPF).
Jointly sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Education and the Korean National Research Foundation (NRF), the fellowship is the biggest and most competitive nationwide education program for graduate students in South Korea.
The selection committee selected his research proposal, highlighting his work about preventing water system from severe algal bloom. As one of the awardees, JongCheol will receive two years of fellowship support, including tuition, research expenses, and a stipend for living expenses until completion of his PhD.
JongCheol's research on "Hyperspectral Image Sensing and Water Quality Modeling for Harmhul Algal Bloom" (Advisor: Prof. Kyung Hwa Cho, UNIST) is expected to gain momentum for development, as he has been awarded this year's GPF scholarship to further support his work. He is currently working on the development of technology aims to better detect, monitor, and predict harmful algal blooms on rivers, using high-resolution hyperspectral image data that are captured from a light aircraft.
"In comparision with existing technologies, this new method can analyze the overall dispersion rate of harmful algal bloom in an entire river," JongCheol says. He expects that this technology will not only maximize the efficiency of existing algae removal technologies, but also can potentially be used as the basis for government's future water quality management policies.
JongCheol has already been given the credit for his dedication to research on harmful algal bloom prediction by winning the Grand prize at 2014 Academy Water Prize. Currently he is engaged at the National Institute of Environmental Research to estimate the distribution of algae around the whole region of the Geum River.
JongCheol says, "It really is an honor to be one of the awardees, as GPF is the biggest and most competitive fellowship for graduate students in Korea." He adds, "I will devote my full-time, energy, and attention to research".
Launched in 2011, the Global Ph.D. Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science. Each year, around 200 students are selected from more than 1,000 applicants.
The program is designed to support talented students with two-year intensive support through an annual grant of 40 million KRW, thereby allowing them to focus on their study and research without financial concerns. In this year, the NRF selected 218 students from 1,561 nationwide applicants, and UNIST produced 17 awardees in total.