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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)
2010 International Presidential Forum was held successfully.
On October 11th, the 2010 International Presidential Forum on “The Role of the Research University in an S&T Dominated Era: Expectation & Delivery” was held successfully at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul. The third International Presidential Forum to be held, participants of the 2010 Presidential Forum engaged in an in-depth discussion about the direction that research universities should take in the 21st Century. On its opening, President Nam Pyo Suh delivered a congratulatory message saying, “This forum is a meaningful gathering where research universities will suggest role models and find ways research universities can contribute to the progress of mankind in this century.” Following, Lee Ki Jun, CEO of the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies said, “The common goal of the world’s research universities is to solve the problems mankind is facing together. I believe that the discussion we will hold today at the forum will point to the future direction of research universities.” “To produce next generation engineers meeting global standards, exchange and dual degree programs between universities must be strengthened,” said Lars Pallesen, President of the Technical University of Denmark. “Research universities must support the exchange between students beyond cultural and national borders to adapt to the global market.” Ichiro Okura, Vice President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, presented on the “Asian Science and Technology Pioneering Institutes of Research and Education, ASPIRE.” ASPIRE is a community created by the coalition between science and technology universities in the Far East. Its purpose is to contribute to sustainable global growth by educating high-quality human resources and lead Asia’s technology innovation based on science and technology development. “For research universities to solve today’s global issues, universities must create new ideas by performing fundamental studies and developing innovative technology. The financial resources of universities must be focused with choices based on results,” remarked President Suh. Zaini Ujang, Vice-President of the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia stated that “the Malaysian government is planning on converting from a ‘labor-intensive economy’ to an ‘innovative leading economy’ with the goal of joining the advanced countries by 2020. In today’s science and technology era where innovative technology is necessary, research universities have an important role of developing the knowledge environmental system to lead the world economy.” Vice-President Ujang then explained what strategies Malaysian research universities devised in the innovative leading economy era to create research universities that bring creativity and innovation. Tod A. Laursen, President of KUSTAR, said that “KUSTAR has a leading role in bringing science and technology and manpower necessary in converting the oil-centered economy of UAE to a knowledge-based economy. KUSTAR will continuously strengthen international cooperation to become not only the best engineering university in the Arab region but in the world.” At this year’s forum, thirty international presidents and vice presidents from 24 universities in 15 countries including Georgia Tech, Technical University of Denmark, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, University of Queensland, Tokyo University, Nanyang Technological University, University Teknologi Malaysia and Hong Kong Institute of Science and Technology along with forty national figures such as the presidents of Hanyang University and Handong Global University, governmental bureaucrats and representatives from national business and institutions participated.
President of Israel visited KAIST on June 9, 2010.
President of Israel, Shimon Peres, visited KAIST today on June 9, 2010 to witness the development of science and technology in Korea and explore ways of establishing collaboration and cooperation with industries and universities between Korea and Israel. President Peres led a delegation consisted of the Israeli Mister of Industry, Trade, and Labor, the Minister of Communication, and 60 business leaders from the top companies in the security, infrastructure, communication, high-tech, and water industries. Upon their arrival to the campus, the Israeli delegation was greeted by KAIST’s humanoid robot, “HUBO,” and then moved to its branch campus, IT Convergence Campus, for a ride of Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) that has been developed by KAIST. The OLEV receives the necessary power through the cable lines buried underground, so it can be provided with a constant and continuous supply of electricity while running or stopping. Between roads and OLEVs is nothing but space. There is no electrical wires intricately crossed underbody of the electric car or above the road. The pick-up equipment installed beneath the body of the electric car collects magnetic fields created around the underground cables, which then converts the filed into electricity. The OLEV’s wireless, non-contact charging system made it possible for a battery currently used for hybrid or pure electric cars on the market to be smaller and cheaper. President Peres expressed a great interest in the technology applied to the OLVE, quoting, “the OLEV system is indeed very impressive.” He talked about efforts being made in Israel with respect to the development of electric cars. The country plans to replace the conventional transportation system with electric cars by constructing a network of battery exchange stations and roadside charge points which allow the cars to be charged whenever they are parked. “Despite the different approach taken by the two nations for the development of electric cars, I believe that transforming the automobile industry from combustion engine to electric system is the right direction we should all follow. Without addressing the current transportation system that heavily dependent on natural resources, we will not be able to promote “green growth on a global scale,” added President Peres. In addition to electric cars, President Peres took up a considerable portion of his time to exchange ideas on how to expand cooperative relations between universities in Korea and Israel, specifically in the area of space, biotechnology, nanotechnology, high-tech, renewable and alternative energy, and the EEWS initiatives that have been implemented by KAIST to find answers to global issues such as climate change and depletion of natural resources. The EEWS stands for energy, environment, water, and sustainability. In response, the president of KAIST pledged to set up a stronger and greater tie with research universities in Israel, particularly called for more collaboration between KAIST and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Also, the Israeli delegation had a tour for several Korean research and development centers in Daedeok Innopolis, located in the City of Daejeon, which is the 2nd largest science and research complex in Korea. Shimon Peres, the 9th president of Israel, held many of important government positions in Israel, among other things, Prime Minster and Minister of Defense. He won Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the conclusion of a peace agreement, Oslo Accords, between Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization.
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