Ajou University in Top 200s in THE Impact Rankings 2021
Ajou University was ranked in the 200s in the World University Rankings 2021 by Times Higher Education (THE). It is sixth among domestic universities that took part in the assessment. THE announced Impact Rankings 2021 for 1115 universities in 94 countries worldwide. Marking its third year this year, the assessment focuses on how well universities are fulfilling their social responsibilities. More specifically, it assesses efforts universities are making to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, the UN identified 17 SDGs as a blueprint for humanity in five areas—people, earth, prosperity, peace and partnership—to achieve the ideas of sustainable development. Ajou University ranked in the 201 – 300 range in THE Impact Rankings 2021. This is a significant improvement over last year’s ranking, which put it in the 401-600 range. It is worth noting that it ranked 95th for the industry and innovative infrastructure sector (SDG9), managing to enter the global Top 100. The School’s close engagement with industry in the field of education and research has contributed to creation of a broad ecosystem for cooperation between industry and academia, which was the reason behind the recognition. The School also ranked in the 101-200 range in No Poverty (SDG1), Good Health and Well-being (SDG3), Quality Education (SDG4), Reducing Inequality (SDG10), and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11). Notably, it ranked 2nd among domestic universities in the Good Health and Well-being (SDG3) sector. Ajou University’s multi-faceted education and social contribution programs for local communities utilizing the expertise of its members and efforts such as its Blue Ladder Program, a global training program for university students lacking opportunities to gain international experience due to social and economic difficulties, have led to its high performance in this field. In 2019, Ajou University established “Ajou Vision 4.0”, its mid- and long-term plan which enshrines the vision “Change the World with Connecting Minds.” As part of its action plan, the Ajou Sustainable Development Center was founded in 2020, to shape projects towards sustainable development and conduct research and campaigns to spread this culture within the campus. In THE Impact Rankings 2021, many universities in the UK and Australia that have been committed to achieving human well-being and protection of the global environment were among the highest-ranking schools. The University of Manchester (UK) ranked first place, followed by the University of Sydney, RMIT University, and La Trobe University (Australia). Among domestic universities, Yonsei University (30th) and Kyungpook National University (54th) managed to rank among the Top 100.
MOU with Gyeonggi-do on Utilization of Public Data to Lead Research in Autonomous Driving
Ajou University concluded an agreement with the Gyeonggi Provincial Office to cooperate in the field of autonomous driving. The agreement was made between Ajou University, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Kyung Hee University, Sungkyunkwan University, and the Advanced Institute of Convenience Technology (AICT). A signing ceremony was held at the Gyeonggi-do Office on April 30, 2021 and attended by Gyeonggi-do Governor Lee Jae-myung, Ajou University President Park Hyung-ju, POSTECH President Kim Moo-hwan, Kyung Hee University President Hahn Kyun-tae, Sungkyunkwan University President Shin Dong-ryeol, and AICT President Joo Young-chang. Director of Ajou University’s Autonomous Driving Mobility Center Song Bong-seob, who is also Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ajou University, was also present. The Gyeonggi Provincial Office will provide big data produced in its Autonomous Driving Center to universities that are parties to the agreement. More specifically, it will provide autonomous driving testbeds, big data, and facilities for research in autonomous driving, including PCs and software, and build a Gyeonggi-University Big Data System to share research outcomes. Universities will run courses utilizing autonomous driving big data, and in collaboration with Gyeonggi Provincial Office, host a contest in autonomous driving big data and AI. They are also planning to set up special courses in big data and courses utilizing autonomous driving big data for executives and employees of Pangyo 2nd Techno Valley. At the ceremony, Ajou University President Park commented, “This agreement is particularly significant as the autonomous driving public data to be provided by the Gyeonggi-do Provincial Office includes not only vehicle-related data but also control data.” He continued, “We hope the trilateral cooperation between the Gyeonggi-do Provincial Office, universities, and AICT and the relocation of Gyeonggido Office to Gwanggyo will serve as an opportunity to realize the next generation of Zero Shuttle: Zero Shuttle 2.0.” He also added, “Ajou University is conducting research to connect transport, ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), and autonomous driving by providing support to large-scale research groups and promoting collaboration among researchers,” and “The school will contribute significantly to joint research in the field of safety in autonomous driving.” The Gyeonggido Provincial Office founded the Gyeonggi Autonomous Driving Center with AICT in 2019 to construct an ecosystem for autonomous driving. The Center continues to support demonstrations by autonomous-related companies and research institutes. It incubates new autonomous driving businesses through its Business Center and runs an autonomous driving shuttle known as “Zero Shuttle.”
Ajou University to Participate in Project to Support Growth of Leading Research Personnel to Lead Innovative Growth
Ajou University was designated for participation in the Ministry of Science and ICT’s Korea Initiative for Fostering University of Research & Innovation (KIURI) Project. The KIURI Project was initiated in 2020 to make researchers with PhDs in science and engineering independent and promote their entry into industry. The three-year project will run from May 2021 to October 2024 with a grant of KRW 1.5 billion per year. Post-doc researchers taking part in the project will receive research grants of around KRW 100 million per year, including labor costs, for up to three years. Accordingly, the school established the AI-Super Convergence KIURI Translational Research Group to Combat Disease (led by Kim Byung-gon, Professor of Brain Science and Neurology) to produce the human resources needed in basic biomedical science, translational research between clinical medicine fields, development of AI-based new drugs, and new bio materials to manage bodily functions. It will also build a cooperative network with 21 bio firms located in Southern Gyeonggi Province, including Huons, OliPass, Plarit, and Frombio, to develop technology needed by corporations and provide advice and dispatch researchers to offer practical support to companies seeking to increase their development capacities. The school will recruit 12 post-doc researchers in different majors from colleges of medicine, engineering, pharmacy, and natural sciences by the end of August 2021. It will develop programs for the newly recruited researchers and match them with faculty mentors and participating businesses in related fields to engage in industry-academia convergence research. Four university research groups have been assigned to the KIURI Project, including Seoul National University (bio-health), Sungkyunkwan University (energy and environment), Yonsei University (future car materials and parts), and Pohang University of Science and Technology (diagnostics and therapeutics), and 68 post-doc researchers have been carrying out research since 2020. This year, Ajou University and Inha University were designated, with each adding 12 new researchers. A total of 92 post-doc researchers will develop into leading personnel in industrial innovation. Ajou University Research group focused on new post-doc research personnel Partners: Middle market businesses/ SMEs and bio ventures located in southern Gyeonggi Province Regulations on support system and promotions: Guarantees stable position for new researchers AI-super convergence KIURI Translational Research Group to Combat Disease Create startup ecosystem Build industry-academia cooperation platform : Ajou Translational Research Center (ATRC) School of Medicine Address lack of human resources Support strengthening of independent research capacity : Support capacity for industrial innovation in creative cutting-edge research College of Pharmacy Develop competitiveness in bio technology Build infrastructure to enhance academic excellence : Support information and technology for academic research and education College of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences Acquire competitiveness in Industry 4.0 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bio- and Pharma-hubs in southern Gyeonggi Province
Participate in Project to Develop Human Resources in Regulatory Science and Experts in Bio-health Regulatory Science
Ajou University was chosen to participate in the R&D Project to Nurture Human Resources in Regulatory Science, sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), and will receive a subsidy of KRW 2.5 billion in total over the next five years. Regulatory science involves the development of new tools, criteria, and approaches to evaluate safety, validity, quality, and performance, among others, of food, drugs, medical devices and other regulated products. Recent growth in the bio-health industry has triggered a notable increase in demand for human resources in this field. The R&D Project to Nurture Human Resources in Regulatory Science is a new government-funded initiative in 2021 by the MFDS and aims at developing researchers and field experts to lead new industries in regulatory science through trilateral cooperation among industry, academia, and research institutes. The selection of universities to carry out the project occurred through a contest in which the MFDS designated projects in the three fields of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and food. Ajou University was chosen for ‘Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Product Safety’ (managed by the College of Pharmacy; Chief of Research Lee Suk-hyang, Dean of the College of Pharmacy). As a result, the College of Pharmacy will begin a graduate program in Bio-health and Regulatory Science and invite 20 new students beginning the second semester of the 2021 academic year. The curriculum for Bio-health and Regulatory Science majors will focus on on-site, practical education, which will include Advanced Theory on Regulatory Science, International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) Guidelines, Clinical Pharmacology, Evidence-based Regulatory Decision-making, Big Data (RWD/RWE) Analysis and internships at bio-pharma companies. Graduates will be able to move on to numerous entities, including pharmaceutical research institutes and bio-health safety evaluation companies, or work as regulatory science legal experts in relation to certification of contract research organizations (CROs) or healthcare data analysts. Throughout this project, Ajou University plans to cultivate more than 120 core persons to lead the global regulatory science industry. To achieve this goal, the major will begin in the second semester this year and the Department of Bio-health Regulatory Science in 2022.
Ajou President Park Hyung-ju Appointed Chair of Ministry of Education’s National Curriculum Reform Research Committee
President of Ajou University Park Hyung-ju has been appointed chair of the Ministry of Education’s National Curriculum Reform Research Committee. An appointment ceremony was held at the Government Complex Sejong Convention Center in Sejong City on April 20, 2021 and a letter of appointment presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hae to President Park and other commissioners. The National Curriculum Reform Research Committee was set up to revise the curriculum for elementary, middle and high schools to respond to a changing education environment, including rapid social changes from acceleration of AI and Industry 4.0 and a decline in the number of students, and prepare for a transition to education more geared towards the future. The Committee is comprised of experts from different fields, including teachers and members of academia and related institutions, and representatives of civil society and will engage in research and development of curricula, discuss issues and operational matters regarding the curricula, and devise a revised curriculum. The Committee will gather opinions from forums, online discussions, hearings, and deliberative meetings as it builds the revised curricula, and acquiring social consent on the revisions, making a public announcement during the fall of 2022.