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New Undergraduate Department of AI Convergence for Future AI Specialists

Ajou University continues to diversify its learning programs to help educate and train leaders for the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Having added the departments of AI and AI education to the General and Education Graduate Schools, the University has also opened the Department of AI Convergence for undergraduates, and will start recruiting compound majors and minors in the fall semester. The new Department of AI Convergence will offer an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to respond to the growing demand from industry for AI and big data specialists. Students who join the new department for their compound major or minor requirements will learn the basics of AI and data and develop problem-solving skills using software and AI. The new education will equip them with the skills they need to find satisfying careers in IT and software, and a host of other fields where AI is playing an increasingly important role, such as medicine, finance, social services, education, robotics, and disaster management. Every semester, starting this fall, the new department will accept 50 students already enrolled in the University. Applications will be received from August 5 to 12. With governments, companies, and schools worldwide engaged in a fierce race to develop competent AI workforces and technologies, Ajou has been among the earliest in Korea to seize on AI as an important subject of education, adding new AI-centered programs to the Education and General Graduate Schools. The Department of AI at the General Graduate School provides integrated postgraduate degree programs on core topics of AI, including deep learning and machine learning, and will also begin accepting students in the fall semester. The AI Education major at the Graduate School of Education with support from the Ministry of Education’s AI Convergence Education Capability Enhancement Program for Teachers. Working teachers who participate in this program will obtain master’s degrees and go on to teach all AI-utilizing subjects at actual schools. This department, too, will begin recruiting and accepting students in the fall semester. The AI education program will consist of two tracks: AI education and AI convergence education. The former will provide in-depth courses on AI theory, mathematics- and software-based AI education, and other such subjects teachers need to teach their students. The latter will focus on specialized AI-based pedagogics.

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Ajou Enters Agreements on Strengthening System of Partnership for Tech Startups

Ajou University has recently entered a series of agreements designed to enhance the partnership system for fostering campus-based tech startups. On July 24, Ajou signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Korea Bio Investment Partners [KHTC1](KOBAI). Parties to the memorandum included the University’s Start-up Support Foundation and the Industrial-Academic Cooperation Center as well as N4U Tech Holdings Incorporated. Attending the signing ceremony were Oh Yeong-tae, head of both the Industrial-Academic Cooperation Center and the Start-up Support Foundation; Lee Gi-chil, CEO of KOBAI; and Kim Su-dong, executive director of N4U. Through the memorandum, the parties agreed to work together in supporting tech startups through initial and follow-up investment, entrepreneurial training, sustainable growth strategies, and global expansion; developing programs for fostering entrepreneurship and job creation in advanced industries, including biotechnology and artificial intelligence; promoting exchange between members through a committee to be established; and sharing existing infrastructure, such as the University’s makerspace, for policy projects. KOBAI is a new investment company specializing in early investment and customized entrepreneurial support for tech startups in Korea and abroad, and focuses on advanced industries, particularly biotechnology and artificial intelligence. Mr. Oh remarked: “This is a significant moment as Ajou University is the first government-registered technology accelerator to partner with KOBAI, particularly with the goal of facilitating innovation in biotechnology and healthcare, two of Ajou’s core areas of focus today.” He went on, “We at the University will continue to recruit new investors and expand our network of investment in order to establish a specialized and highly advanced system of collaboration between the Start-up Support Foundation, the Industrial-Academic Cooperation Center, and N4U, toward maximizing partnership synergy.” Another MOU was signed between Ajou’s LINC+ Group, Start-up Support Foundation, and N4U, on the one hand, and the Korea Drug Research Association (KDRA), on the other, on July 29, for the joint management of a biotechnology and healthcare project. The MOU emphasized collaboration over fostering startups in biotechnology and healthcare and recruiting investors for them; supporting business-tailored projects and technology transfers; working together on providing industrial-academic collaboration-based education and training (on-the-job and entrepreneurial alike) to develop a highly skilled workforce; increasing cooperation in the form of joint research and marketization; and promoting exchange between members through a committee. The signing ceremony was followed by Prospective Biotech Startup Investment Forum [KHTC2]2020, which highlighted opportunities for partnership between Korean investors and prospective biotech startups. Ajou’s LINC+ Group, Start-up Support Foundation, and N4U Tech Holdings, which together have undertaken the COVID-19 Rapid Call Project, also took on the task of recruiting prospective startups deserving of investment. Eight Ajou-affiliated enterprises, including Cell & Bio Inc., introduced their technologies at the forum and networked with investors. The COVID-19 Rapid Call Project encompasses all initiatives by Ajou towards enhancing collaboration between businesses and local communities to mount effective responses to the current pandemic.

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