Photo Essay & Video Contest: Life at Ajou 2021
Photo Essay & Video Contest: Life at Ajou 2021 was held with the participation of foreign students enrolled at Ajou University. Participants submitted photos and videos featuring their favorite places, classes, friends, etc. at Ajou. Hosted by the International Exchange and Cooperation Team on May 15, the awards ceremony was split into two sessions: the awards ceremony itself and presentations on the prize-winning photos and videos. Undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students from France, Germany, Bangladesh, and other nations took part in the contest, showing their interest in and affection towards Ajou. In the photo category, Leonardo from Germany ranked first. He featured cherry blossoms on the campus of Ajou and Gaon Garden, where students frequently meet up. Meanwhile, Babatobi from Nigeria and Leonardo from Germany won first place in the video category. The duo’s video covered the friendships built with Ajou students from around the world. The award-winning photos and videos will be used for international promotions by the Ajou University Office of International Affairs. Ajou University has sisterhood relationships with 320 universities and institutions in 67 countries around the world. A variety of programs are now underway with these universities, including student and faculty exchanges, dual degrees, and joint studies. Some 1,100 foreign students from undergraduate, graduate, and exchange programs are currently enrolled at Ajou. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, around 140 exchange students have been studying at Ajou during the first semester of 2021.
Prof. Kim Sung-hwan Develops Self-powered Electronic Skin Generating Electric Energy
A team of researchers led by Prof. Kim Sung-hwan, from the Departments of Physics and Energy Systems Research, has developed electronic skin capable of generating energy with a touch using silk protein nanofibers. This development is expected to be used as a next-generation bio-electronic material, generating electric energy or acting as sensory organs upon attachment to the human skin or soft robots. Prof. Kim announced successful development of electronic tattoos, which make it possible to draw circuits on silk protein nanofibers with carbon nanofiber ink using electrostatic-harvesting materials. Protein derived from silkworms is a skin-friendly, high-molecular biomaterial. The achievement was published online under the title, “Self-powered and Imperceptible Electronic Tattoos based on Silk Protein Nanofiber and Carbon Nanotubes for Human-machine Interfaces,” in Advanced Energy Materials (Impact Factor 25.245), a prestigious international journal covering energy materials, on May 11. Prof. Narendar Gogurla, Research Assistant Professor, participated as first author and worked together with Prof. Kim. There is a fast-growing body of research worldwide on materials for next-generation electronic healthcare devices for human-machine interfacing. Electrostatic-harvesting materials that leverage electrostaticity as an energy source are gaining more traction than ever. Electrostatic-harvesting materials can be used as a source of energy to move healthcare materials and artificial sensing organs that relay information related to human body movements. However, in order to increase energy efficiency, compatible materials should be used (e.g. hair and plastic show ideal electrostaticity), serving as an obstacle to generating electric energy in direct contact with human skin. In addition, the fact that the materials should be attached to human skin, no matter how uneven, while being composed of elements harmless to the human body, makes it harder to accelerate outcomes for research on electrostatic-harvesting materials. The team focused on silk proteins available from natural sources. Protein derived from silkworms is a skin-friendly, high-molecular biomaterial with superior physical and chemical properties. In the first step, the researchers make silk nanofiber paper, of a thickness equivalent to one-fiftieth of a strand of human hair, using electrospinning. Afterwards, they draw circuits on the silk nanofiber paper using carbon nanofiber ink and brush. Once the ink dries, the drawn circuits come out. Placing the circuits on slightly moist skin creates the electronic tattoo. The electronic tattoo is ultrathin, so it can be put on finely-wrinkled skin surfaces like finger pads while maintaining stability of its electric properties during everyday activities, besides taking showers. Electronic tattoos can easily be wiped off with wet wipes. Materials derived from silk nanofibers are harmless as the silk nanofibers are injected in the middle of the electronic tattoos. Interestingly, electronic tattoos attached to the human skin have the highest efficiency, signifying that other materials, including disposable gloves, should be worn to increase the efficiency of electrostatic energy. The harvested electric energy is sufficient to operate small electronic devices, such as LEDs and stopwatches. The fact that electric signals are generated with a single touch means that the tattoos can be used as artificial sensing organs. The team successfully drew pixel tattoos on the skin, proving that drawn circuits are capable of being converted into electric signals with the touch of a finger. Prof. Kim explained: “Although there has been significant progress in research on harvesting energy from the human body, the problems related to human-machine interfacing have been relatively neglected. Using proteins, of which natural skin is composed, interfaces capable of bridging the material difference between the human body and electronic devices can be developed.” He also added: “Our project is significant in that our invention can help increase the application of biomaterials to a variety of electronic devices. We hope to see our product applied to a wide range of healthcare products and soft robotics in the future.” The research was sponsored by the Rural Development Administration, the National Research Foundation of Korea, the BK21 FOUR, and the Gyeonggi-do Regional Research Center. Description: (Left) A conceptual diagram of a silk, electrostatic electronic tattoo, able to collect electric energy with a single touch on the skin using biocompatible electronic tattoos. (Right) An experiment on artificial sensing organs. Circuits drawn as pixel tattoos on the skin are capable of being converted into electric signals with the touch of a finger.
Ajou’s QS World University Rankings Rise for Three Consecutive Years
세계순위 World Rankings 국내순위 Domestic Rankings Ajou University has risen in the QS World University Rankings for three consecutive years. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), based in the UK and the world’s largest international higher education network, announced the rankings for 1,300 of 6,415 universities around the world this year. In the QS World University Rankings, which were announced on May 9, Ajou University ranked in the 531-540 range. Ajou University ranked in the 651~700 range in 2018, the 601-650 range in 2019, and the 551-560 range in 2020. Its 2021 placement in the 531-540 range mark a jump of 20 ranks. It was ranked 13th among domestic universities. It was a remarkable achievement for Ajou University, especially as 16 of the 20 participating domestic universities were ranked lower in 2021 than they were last year. A rise in the scores for academic reputation, graduates, and education is driving the constant increase in rankings. Ajou University has been making meaningful efforts to acquire talented faculty and improve research quality and impact. To better evaluate quality of research, the Thesis Excellence Award has been launched while research funding for new and junior faculty have increased. A maximum of KRW 100 million in research funding will be granted to the sciences and engineering and KRW 50 million to the humanities and social sciences. Furthermore, research funds specifically for post doctorate researchers will be allocated and well-known scholars are to be invited through the hosting of international academic conferences. In addition, Ajou University has created a “Paran Semester,” which enables students to carry out challenging academic projects that they design themselves throughout the entire semester, including extracurricular activities, organized field trips, and start-up accelerator programs. In this way and others, Ajou has been working to help students develop problem-solving skills, which are a prerequisite for most jobs in the future. QS announces the world university rankings every year. Universities are evaluated by six key ranking indicators in the four categories of research, environment, globalization, and reputation. The highest weighting (40%) is allotted to each institution’s Academic Reputation score, which is derived from the opinions of over 130,000 experts in the higher education space. The Employer Reputation metric (10%) is based on over 75,000 responses from employers who participate in the QS Employer Survey. Included in the evaluations are Faculty/Student Ratio (20%), International Faculty Ratio/International Student Ratio (5% each), and Citations per Faculty across a five-year period (20%). In this year’s QS World University Rankings, MIT ranked first, followed by the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and Stanford University. As for domestic universities, Seoul National University (36th), KAIST (41st), Korea University (74th), Yonsei University (79th), and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) (81st) were included in the top 100 universities in the world. Meanwhile, Ajou University has been receiving greater recognition from authoritative institutions of academic ranking of global universities. Ajou University also ranked 130th, jumping 49 ranks from last year, in the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2021, which were announced on May 2. This April, in the Impact Rankings 2021 by THE, Ajou University ranked in the 201-300 range, rising more than 100 ranks from 2020, for the industry and innovative infrastructure sector (SDG9). <Percentile Evolution in QS World University Rankings of Ajou University: Ajou University is rising constantly upward even while the number of global universities participating in QS World University Rankings increases.> <Results of THE Asia University Rankings 2021: The table above indicates changes in Ajou University’s global and domestic rankings. The table below indicates percentile evolution of Ajou University in THE Asia University Rankings.> #See the results of the QS World University Rankings 2022
Ground-breaking Ceremony for Hyegang Hall, a New Laboratory Building
A ground-breaking ceremony for Hyegang Hall, a new laboratory building, was held on May 8. The Hall, a seven-story building with two basement floors, is set to be completed by August 2022. The ceremony was held with the attendance of officials from the Daewoo Educational Foundation and Ajou University, including Mr. Choo Ho-seok, Chairman of the Daewoo Educational Foundation, Mr. Kim Sun-yong, Permanent Director of the Daewoo Educational Foundation, Dr. Park Hyung-ju, President of Ajou University, and other prominent officials at Ajou. It was also attended by Prof. Na Sang-sin, Mr. Cho Jae-hyun, University Labor Union Leader, Mr. Kim Hyun-bin, President of the Student Council, Mr. Ahn Chang-joon President of the General Alumni Association, and related officials from the construction and architectural firm. Mr. Kim Yong-deok, Head of Yeongtong-gu Office, participated to represent the city of Suwon as well. Hyegang Hall, with a total area of 13,223 square meters (4,000 pyeong), will be built behind Dasan Hall and the Collage of Pharmacy Building. The first and second floors will be used for academic-industrial cooperation, while the third to the seventh floors will be designed for research. “Hyegang” was the pen name of Choi Han-ki, a silhak (practical science) scholar and a natural science thinker during the Joseon Dynasty. Based on his deep understanding of Western natural sciences in convergence with the traditional theory of energy in Korea, he was able to pave the way for new philosophical thinking. He was also the author of “Singicheonheom,” one of the classics that demonstrate the way in which Western medicine was introduced to Korea during the later years of the Joseon Dynasty. Last November, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Ilsin Hall, an 11-story dormitory with one basement floor. With a total area of 14,680 square meters (4,441 pyeong) to accommodate up to 804 people, it is scheduled to be finished by February next year.
Ajou GSIS Holds “Share Your Country Report” Event
The Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) at Ajou University held an event entitled, “Share Your Country Report.” During the event, students taking the KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree gave presentations. Held on May 2 at Yulgok Hall, Prof. Kim Byoung-kwan, Dean of Ajou GSIS, Prof. Kim Su-duk from the Energy Systems Division, and Prof. Jung Jae-sung, Associate Professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as 20 foreign students from 17 countries attended. The participating students are in the KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree, which is part of KOICA’s leadership program for young and mid-level leaders of civil society in Korea’s partner countries. Using the academic knowledge gained during the scholarship program, the participants presented and shared the current status of energy and some pending issues in their nations. Graduate-level education, particularly in the areas of energy self-sufficiency, reinvention of the energy industry, renewable energy growth, climate change, energy education, etc., has been provided by Ajou GSIS. Ajou GSIS consists of five departments: International Business, International Trade, NGO Studies, International Development and Cooperation, and Energy Studies. The KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree was established towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing quality education, facilitating economic growth, preventing climate crisis, and forging partnerships.