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Life After COVID-19: Big Questions on Medical and Bio-Engineering
KAIST GSI forum explores big questions in the medical and bio-engineering revolution caused by the COVID-19 in fight against infectious diseases and life quality On September 9, the Global Strategy Institute at KAIST will delve into innovative future strategies for the medical and bio-engineering sectors that have been disrupted by COVID-19. The forum will live stream via YouTube, KTV, and Naver TV from 9:00 am Korean time. The online forum features a speaker lineup of world-renowned scholars who will discuss an array of bio-engineering technologies that will improve our quality of life and even extend our life span. This is the GSI’s third online forum since the first one in April that covered the socio-economic implications of the global pandemic and the second one in June focusing on the education sector. In hosting the third round of the GSI Forum series, KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin stressed the power of science and technology saying, “In this world full of uncertainties, one thing for sure is that only the advancement of science and technology will deliver us from this crisis.” Korean Prime Minister Sye-Kyun Chung will also deliver a speech explaining the government’s response to COVID-19 and vaccine development strategies. The President of the National Academy of Medicine in the US will share ideal policies to back up the bio-engineering and medical sectors and Futurist Thomas Frey from the Davinci Institute will present his distinct perspectives on our future lives after COVID-19. His thought-provoking insights on advancements in the bioengineering sector will examine whether humanity can put an end to infectious diseases and find new ways to lengthen our lives. Two distinguished professors in the field of genetic engineering technology will share their latest breakthroughs. Professor George McDonald Church from Harvard Medical School who developed genome sequencing will deliver a keynote speech on how the advancement of gene editing and genome technology will overcome diseases and contribute to extending human life spans. Professor Kwang-Soo Kim, a KAIST alumnus from Harvard Medical School who recently reported new discoveries for Parkinson’s disease treatment by reprogramming a patient’s own skin cells to replace cells in the brain, will introduce the latest clinical cell treatment technologies based on personalized therapeutics. Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Illumina Susan Tousi, a leading genome sequencing solution provider, will describe genome analysis technology and explore the potential for disease prevention. KAIST medical scientist Jeong Ho Lee, who was the first to identify the causes of intractable epilepsies and has identified the genes responsible for several developmental brain disorders. Professor Jin-Hyung Lee from Stanford University and Dr. David B. Resnik from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science will also join the speaker lineup to discuss genetics-based personalized solutions to extend human life spans. The forum will also invite about 50 young scientists and medical researchers from around the world to participate in an online panel session. They will engage in a Q&A session and a discussion with the speakers. (END)
Education, a Silver Lining in the Dark COVID-19 Cloud
If there is a silver lining behind the COVID-19 pandemic clouds engulfing the world in darkness, it would be ‘education’. The disruption caused by the pandemic has reminded us of the skills that students need in this unpredictable world and raised public awareness of guaranteeing continuous, fair, and quality learning opportunities. Educational innovation can become a positive and powerful catalyst to transform the world for a better future in the post-COVID era. According to the speakers at the virtual forum co-hosted by the Global Strategy Institute (GSI) and Korea Policy Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (KPC4IR) at KAIST on June 24, the recent transition to remote education amplifies the existing socio-economic disparities between the haves and the have-nots, and narrowing the digital divide is the most urgent challenge that should be addressed in this ever-evolving technology-dominating era. They also called for students to be resilient despite the numerous uncertainties ahead of them and prepare new skill sets to better adjust to new environments. KAIST launched the GSI as its think tank in February of this year. The GSI aims to identify global issues proactively and help make breakthroughs well aligned with solid science and technology-based policies. The second forum of the KAIST GSI, following its inaugural forum in April, was held under the theme “Envisioning the Future of Education for a Non-Contact Society in the Post-Coronavirus Era”. In his opening remarks, KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin stressed that “distance teaching and learning will eventually become integral components of our future education system”. He then called for close collaboration between the public and private sectors to better shape the future of digital education. President Shin said that global cooperation is also needed to continue offering inclusive, quality education that can equally benefit every student around the world. “We should never let a crisis go to waste, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” he added. CEO of Minerva Schools Ben Nelson described the current coronavirus crisis as “an earthquake happening deep down on the ocean floor – we don’t feel it, but it can cause a devastating tsunami.” He continued, “Online learning can totally change the current education system forever.” Saying that blended education, which combines online and offline classes, will be the new norm in the post-coronavirus era, Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda anticipates that institutions will have to offer more and more online courses and credentials, and should at the same time prepare to drive down the cost of education as students expect to pay much less in tuition and fees for online learning options. “With the economy slumping and unemployment soaring, job-relevant education will also be a must,” Maggioncalda said. National University of Singapore President Tan Eng Chye further pointed out that future education systems should prepare students to be creative lifelong learners. President Tan encouraged students to be able to integrate knowledge and technical skills from multiple disciplines for complex problem solving, and be adaptable and resilient with bigger appetites for risks and a higher tolerance for failures. He also mentioned digital competency, empathy, and social responsibility as virtues that students in the post-coronavirus era should possess. Rebecca Winthrop, Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, raised concerns over the ever-growing digital disparities caused by the recent shift to online teaching and learning, claiming that insufficient infrastructures for low-income families in developing nations are already causing added educational disparities and provoking the inequity issue around the world. “New approaches to leapfrog inequality and provide quality education equally through faster and more effective means should be studied,” she said. In response to this, Vice President of Microsoft Anthony Salcito introduced the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework, which provides practical advice to develop strategies for digital education transformation with a holistic, long-term view implemented in discrete phases that the global community can begin today. The Framework reportedly shows how emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, support new approaches to building efficient and effective physical and digital infrastructure, modernizing teaching and learning, empowering research, and managing student success. The GSI will host two more forums in September and November. (END)
KAIST Forum Envisions Education in the Post-Covid Era
Global leaders including the CEOs of Minerva and Coursera to join the KAIST online forum to discuss how to facilitate inclusive educational environment amidst the ever-growing digital disparities An international forum hosted by the KAIST Global Strategy Institute will examine how the disruptions caused by the global pandemic will impact the future of education. Global leaders will reflect on ways to better facilitate inclusive educational environments and mitigate the digital divide, especially in an era where non-contact environments are so critical. The online forum to be held on June 24 from 09:00 am KST will livestream on YouTube and KTV. This is the second forum hosted by the GSI following its inaugural forum in April. Minerva School’s CEO Ben Nelson and Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda will be among the 15 speakers who will share their insights on the new transformations in the education sector. The digital transformation of higher education will be the key topic every speaker will highlight to predict the future education in the post-Covid era. According to UNESCO and UNICEF, 1.6 billion students from 192 countries, which account for 91 percent of the student population in the world, have experienced educational disruptions in the past four months. Approximately 29 percent of the youth worldwide, around 346 million individuals, are not online. KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin’s opening remarks will stress that technological breakthroughs should be used to benefit us all and the private and public sectors should collaborate to facilitate an inclusive educational environment. Ben Nelson believes that global universities are at the point of inflection for making tough choices to reform higher education. He will introduce what will affect the decision-making procedure for investing in the digital transformation and the best recipe for building a successful remote learning environment. Dr. Paul Kim, CTO and Assistant Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education, will analyze the ramifications brought about by Covid-19 among both advanced countries and developing countries, and propose an optimal educational model for developing countries. Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at Times Higher Education, will present the key survey results the Times Higher Education made with approximately 200 university presidents on how higher education will adapt in the years to come. As for innovation in higher education, Vice President at Microsoft Anthony Salcito and Professor Tae Eog Lee from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at KAIST will discuss the education innovation solutions they are currently working on and how their projects will continue to develop. National University of Singapore President Tan Eng Chye will also opine on how education could be more accessible. He will share what is exacerbating educational inequity and how to ensure an inclusive learning environment. The second session will cover how to cope with the digital inequity. Director General at the Ministry of Science and ICT Sang Wook Kang will explain the unavoidable online transition that is required to address the educational disruptions. He will also share his ideas on how this crisis can be leveraged to advance the educational environment. Meanwhile, Rebecca Winthrop, senior fellow and co-director for universal education at Brooking Institution, and Sooinn Lee, CEO and Creative Lead of Enuma, will present on how to reduce the educational disparity during the un-contact era. Director Joung-Ho Kim at the GSI, who is the organizer of the forum, said that KAIST has been the forerunner in the educational innovation. He hopes that this online forum will provide meaningful momentum to reshape the future of education by addressing the challenges and disruptions this pandemic has caused. URL Link to Live-Streaming Service: https://www.youtube.com/c/KAISTofficial
Long Economic Depressions and Disparities Loom in the Wake of the COVID-19
"Global Cooperation for Managing Data Key to Mitigating the Impacts Around the World" <Full recorded video of the GSI-IF2020> The COVID-19 pandemic will lead to long economic depressions around the entire world. Experts predicted that the prevalent inequities among the countries, regions, and individuals will aggravate the economic crisis. However, crises always come with new opportunities and international cooperation and solidarity will help creating a new normal in the post-coronavirus era. In a very basic but urgent step, global cooperation for managing data is the key to respond to COVID-19 since medicine and healthcare are intertwined with data science, said experts during an online international forum hosted by the Global Strategy Institute at KAIST on April 22. KAIST launched its think-tank, the Global Strategy Institute (GSI), in February. The GSI aims to identify global issues proactively and help make breakthroughs well aligned with solid science-based policies. The inaugural forum of the GSI focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact socio-economic, scientific, and political landscapes, under the theme “Global Cooperation in the Coronavirus Era.” In his opening remarks, KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin stressed that future global governance will be dominated by the power of science and technology. “If we can implement efficient policies together with troubleshooting technology for responding to future crises, we will emerge stronger than before,” he said. President Shin said ‘the Korean model’, which is being recognized as a shining example for dealing with the pandemic, is the result of collaborations combining the creativity of the private sector, the public sector’s strong infrastructure, and the full support of the citizens. He added, “Without the technological prowess coming from the competent R&D power of Korea, we could not achieve these impressive results.” “Creative collaboration among the private and public sectors, along with research universities from around the world, will help shore up global resilience against the epidemic. We should work together to build a world of growing prosperity,” President Shin said. Prime Minister Sye-Kyun Chung, who is in charge of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters in Korea, stressed global solidarity in his welcoming remarks, saying that “We need to share information and rely on the strength of our connections, rather than retreating into nationalistic isolation.” Peter Lee, Vice President of the Microsoft Healthcare, pointed out in his welcoming remarks three critical sectors for global cooperation: medicine and healthcare, public health and prevention, and life and the economy. He emphasized the rule of thumb for managing data, saying that data in these fields should be open, standardized, and shared among countries to combat this global pandemic. During a keynote session, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Jerome Kim described the challenges that go along with developing a vaccine. Dr. Kim said that only 7% of vaccine candidates go through the clinical trial stages, and it will take five to 10 years to completely prove a new vaccine’s safety after completing three stages of clinical tests. “It’s very challenging to develop the vaccine for COVID-19 within 12 to 15 months,” said Dr. Kim. He added that 78 out of 115 candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials around the world. There are five groups, including Moderna, Inovio, Jenner Institute, CanSino, and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, who are doing clinical trials in phases 1 and 2. “Given the fact that COVID-19 is a totally new type of virus, various stakeholders’ participation, such as the National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups, the WHO, and UNICEF, is needed to work together to benefit the entire world,” he pointed out. Professor Edward Yoonjae Choi from the Graduate School of AI at KAIST shared how AI and data sciences are being utilized to interpret the major trends of the epidemic. His group mainly focuses on deep learning to model electronic health records (EHR) for disease predictions. Professor Choi said AI and machine learning would be crucial solutions and collaborative research projects will surely accelerate how quickly we can overcome the pandemic. In addition, Dr. Kijung Shin’s group is interpreting the SIR (Susceptible, Infected, and Recovered) model in Korea to predict the number of infections and when people were infected. However, researchers noticed that they could not see the typical modeling in Korea for predicting the number of infections since the model disregarded the new variable of humans’ efforts to stop the spread the virus. According to research by Professor Steven Whang’s group on social distancing and face mask distribution among vulnerable age groups, people in their 20s, 60s, and 70s followed the social distancing guidelines the most strictly. The research team analyzed the data provided by SK Telecom in the Gangnam district of Seoul. The data provided on people in their 70s, a group that accounted for half of all fatalities, showed that masks were generally well distributed nationwide. Dr. Alexandros Papaspyrids, Tertiary Education Industry Director of the Asia region of Microsoft, said that despite all the disadvantages and problems related to remote education, we shouldn’t expect to return to the days before the COVID-19 any time soon. “We should accept the new normal and explore new opportunities in the new educational environment,” he said. Hongtaek Yong, Deputy Minister at the Office of R&D Policy at the Ministry of Science and ICT presented the Korean government’s disease prevention and response policy and how they tried to mitigate the economic and social impact. He stressed the government’s fast testing, tracing, and openness for successfully flattening the curve, adding that the government used an ICT-based approach in all aspects of their response. From early this year when the first patient was reported, the government aggressively encouraged the biotech industry to develop diagnostic kits and novel therapeutic medications. As a result, five companies were able to produce genetic diagnostic reagents through the emergency approval. More notably, four of them are conducting massive R&D projects sponsored by the government and this is the result of the government’s continuous investment in R&D. Korea is the leader in R&D investment among the OECD countries. According to Yong, the government’s big data project that was launched in 2017 continuously traces the trends of epidemics in Korea. The epidemiological studies based on the paths taken by suspected patients using credit card transaction made the difference in predicting the spread of the coronavirus and implementing countermeasures. The data has been provided to the Korea’s Center for Disease Control (CDC). “In addition to the epidemics, we have so many other pending issues arising from digital and social equities, un-contact services, and job security. We are very open to collaborate and cooperate with other countries to deal with this global crisis,” Yong said. During the subsequent panel discussions, David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said, “The global economy in the coronavirus era will not have a rapid V-shaped recovery, but rather will fall into a long depression for at least two years.” He pointed out that if countries practice protectionism like they did during the Great Depression, the recession will be even worse. Hence, he urged the international community, especially developed nations, to avoid protectionism, consider the economic difficulties of developing countries, and provide them with financial support. Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution Rebecca Winthrop raised concerns over the recent shift to online teaching and learning, claiming that insufficient infrastructures in low-income families in developing nations are already causing added educational disparities and provoking the inequity issue around the world. “The ways to provide quality education equally through faster and more effective means should be studied,” she said. Professor Joungho Kim, the director of the KAIST GSI and the forum’s organizer, concluded the event by saying that this forum will be a valuable resource for everyone who is providing assistance to those in need, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. (END)
Dr.Sung-Chul Shin Inaugurated as the 16th President of KAIST
(President Shin delivers his inaugural address at the inauguration ceremony on March 15.) Professor Sung-Chul Shin was officially inaugurated as its 16th president of KAIST on March 15 in a ceremony at the KAIST Auditorium. The celebration began with a procession by dignitaries including the KAIST Board of Trustees Chairman Jang-Moo Lee, the National Academy of Sciences of Korea President Sook-Il Kwun, Daejeon City Mayor Sun-Taik Kwon, National Assemblyman Sangmin Lee, KAIST Alumni Association President Jungsik Koh. Academic leaders, foreign envoys, faculty, students, and staff members of KAIST joined the ceremony. In his inaugural speech, President Shin presented a new vision for KAIST to become a global value creator in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He said that KAIST has played a pivotal role in the nation’s industrialization and information revolution over the past half century and, with the advent of the new industry paradigm, KAIST should be now responsible for being a new value creator, not only serving the nation but pursuing global betterment. “KAIST should be a global hub of new knowledge and technology creation,” he emphasized. Envisioning a “Global Value-Creative World-Leading University,” President Shin aims for KAIST to be an institution which can create global value as an innovative global leading research university. To realize this vision, he pledged to continue innovation in five areas of education, research & development, technology commercialization, globalization of the campus, and future strategy for the university and the nation. In the educational innovation, he emphasized multidisciplinary studies, team work, and leadership training for students. To this end, KAIST will expand the non-departmental courses toward entire 4-year course while concurrently operating the existing system of declaring a major in students’ second year. KAIST will offer mandatory courses in humanities, social sciences, and arts and most classes will be run by team-based learning and group research activities. “KAIST Global Leadership Center” will support students to develop the qualities required for collaboration and the global leaderships. With respect to the research innovation, President Shin said KAIST will establish “Convergence Research Matrix” system to foster strategic research groups for interdisciplinary and convergence collaboration across a wide range of divisions and departments. “Based on the CRMS, we will identify 10 flagship future-oriented convergence research areas for KAIST to truly claim its reputation as a world-leading research university,” he said. He added he will also introduce the “Collaborative Research Lab” system to better retain the academic successes without interruption, and to improve the continuity of research. “We will strive to organize teams of professors in diverse age groups to work together in mutually complementary fields,” he added. In terms of technological commercialization, he hopes that KAIST to be a role model. He said he will make every effort to establish a resilient R&DB environment with ideas, technologies, and entrepreneurship. KAIST will rev up a new university-industry cooperation, fully sponsoring the creation of “Technology in-Kind Investment Companies.” KAIST will continue to take initiative for globalization. He said KAIST will create an ‘English-Only Zone’ at the campus, saying that his ultimate goal is to create Korean-English bilingual campus. He also asked the foreign community to make their effort to learn Korean and Korean culture while staying at KAIST, in an effort to embrace diversity at the campus. He plans to increase the ratio of foreign faculty from nine percent to 15 percent, while doubling the current foreign student enrollment ratio of five percent. As for the future strategy for the university and the nation, he will soon finalize the long-term strategic plan of “Vision 2031” that will lay out a roadmap for KAIST future direction toward its 60th anniversary. KAIST will also play a fundamental role in shaping national policies and strategies for science and technology by operating think-tank groups that consist of KAIST beyond disciplines. These think-tanks will design detailed development plans for KAIST as well as for national strategies for the advancement of science and technology. He said that such institutional innovation will not be completed without the support, dedication, and passion of all KAIST members, adding that he will strive to serve them with 3Cs (Change, Communication, and Care). For the full text of President Shin’s inaugural address, please click.
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