[Excellent R&D] BK21 PLUS, Supporting and Fostering Talented Students
Park Wan-jun (Department of Engineering)
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United Arab Emirates (UAE) is well known for being an oil-producing country and a typical example of a wealthy country whose prosperity is due to its natural resources. On the other hand, South Korea does not have any natural resources to export; thereby, it focuses on technological advancement to remain competitive in global society. In order to enable such development, the government has been putting a significant emphasis on fostering talented individuals. This has led South Korea to possess a high quality of education. Considering the situation and trend of Korea, Brain Korea (BK) business has emerged to educate and train more competent individuals. The current head of BK PLUS, Professor Park Wan-jun (Department of Engineering), introduces the necessity of such educational programs.
What is BK21 PLUS?
In general, the overall BK business's purpose is to foster the highest level of talented creative students in Master’s or Doctoral programs that supports new creativity-based knowledge and innovative technology. This business first started under the name BK Program at Seoul National University as a pilot project. With successful outcomes, BK project upgraded to BK21 PLUS, which aims to bring up outstanding individuals in the 21st century. Through the assistance of the Korean government, selected universities’ graduate students receive a considerable amount of financial support for advanced and further research. In fact, the Department of Electronic Engineering of Hanyang University has been participating in this business since September 1st of 2013 and will end on August 31st of 2020. During the seven years of this project, each selected university should meet quality outcomes standards in order to receive financial assistance. Hanyang University has successfully produced fulfilling outcomes and has been able to receive 2.3 billion from the government annually.
BK21 PLUS business has its importance in improving the quality of graduate schools’ education and research that strengthens the basis of research-centered universities. In addition, it not only fosters talented master's and doctorate students to become proficient at field experiences through industrial cooperation, but also further supports those who are in specialized areas that can become legitimate experts. Lastly, it provides the graduate students’ research scholarships and actualizes the personnel expenses of rising research manpower. This means that by reflecting the inflation rate, the amount of financial support correspondingly increases so that graduate students do not have to worry about living expenses; this provides them with an environment in which they can fully concentrate on research and education.
Hanyang University’s performance in BK21 PLUS
BK21 PLUS is currently focusing on a semiconductor display system, convergence of broadcasting communication systems, and mobile phone systems. The participating universities ought to produce a certain item regarding these technologies and those universities are: Hanyang University, Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University, Kyunghee University, Sungkyunkwan University, Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Kaist. Park notes, “Our university ranks first in terms of research capability. In fact, in the 2015 mid-term evaluation, Hanyang University was reported as being the top class amongst the participants.” However, Park criticizes, “Although we have the highest level of research capability, we ranked low in educational capability and the extent of system improvement. Therefore, I believe our school should put more effort into this program.”
National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea is planning to launch the succeeding business BK21 FOUR after the end of BK21 PLUS. Park believes, “It is absolutely appropriate for the government to make investments in education. Since there are a lot of privileges and advantages in this project, many graduate schools are seeking to become part of it. Hanyang University should keep up with the research results and definitely remain in this business in the future as well.”
Kim Min-jae firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Park Guen-hyung
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