Korea and strongly supported by Korean government. Taking advantage of its location in the industrial capital of Ulsan, it strives to become a new paradigm of industryuniversity cooperation.
Energy Engineering as a University Brand
For the first time among domestic universities, UNIST has established both an undergraduate course and a graduate course specializing in energy engineering. Its School of Energy Engineering performs education and research activities in energy-related fields such as the development of green energy and future original technologies for reducing carbon dioxide including solar energy, hydro energy, fuel cells, bio-fuel, and 4th generation nuclear energy. The university also runs a School of Technology Management for the sake of energy management.
UNIST plans to promote the School of Energy Engineering as a university brand, trying to realize Korean government's vision of Low Carbon, Green Growth, and consequently developing into a first class university specializing in energy and environment. To this end, it has already invited several prominent professors majoring in energy including Professor Kim Jinyoung who has published his research paper on solar cells in the global journal Science magazine, and will continue to invite highly qualified faculty members.
In August 2008, UNIST made an agreement to establish a branch of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), and also came to an agreement with Georgia Tech to jointly establish an energy resources-related technology institute. Furthermore, in an effort to achieve energy savings and promote the green energy industry in the Ulsan and Pohang industrial areas, UNIST is actively participating in the establishment of an Energy and Climate Change R&D Center.
Ulsan has a lot of energy-related public organizations along with automobile, ship-building, and energy-related companies. Therefore, through industry-university cooperation, much effort will be made to improve the structure of the energy industry and to perform intensive R&D activities so that the School of Energy Engineering will become a center of energy R&D. The curriculum will include internships so that students will have to work in energy-related companies for a semester. This field work will contribute to fostering students who will be readily adapted to the real world.
Importance of Renewable Energy Development
Due to its lack of natural resources, Japan suffered much difficulty at the time of the first world oil shock, but it has succeeded in transforming the oil crisis into an opportunity for developing renewable energy. Japan has especially made great investments and performed intensive research in the photovaltaics field, and as a result, Japan is now taking the lead in solar cells. Let's take Korea for instance. At the time of the Asian financial crisis Korea intensively invested in the IT industry, and consequently we have succeeded in becoming a strong IT nation. Based on these past experiences, we need to develop new renewable energy technologies on a national level so that we can not only achieve sustainable growth but also prepare for the future energy crisis.
In order to support the government's efforts to develop renewable energy, universities need to play a critical role for the realization of government energy policy. Considering its importance, UNIST is committed to this task. For this reason, it has established the first School of Energy Engineering in Korea, trying to foster it as a university brand. In particular, intensive research is to be made in such fields as solar cells - which use sunlight to produce limitless clean energy - batteries for solar cells, and bio cells and hydro energy for future transportation.
Low Carbon, Green GrowthSince the Kyoto Protocol, emission rights trading is now on the increase and it is expected to become a 2 trillion dollar market by the end of 2012 according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Last August, President Lee Myung-bak clearly explained the national vision of Low Carbon, Green Growth. He said that: “Low Carbon, Green Growth is not a matter of choice, but it is indispensable, and has become a reality.” This message carries an important meaning, in that it emphasizes the necessity of improving energy efficiency, saving energy, and developing renewable energy on an ongoing basis. To keep abreast of this global trend of green growth, UNIST is focusing on devoting itself to the interdisciplinary studies of science and technology while making every effort to develop next generation growth engines. From among the renewable energy fields where advanced countries are taking the lead, UNIST will select promising growth engines and then develop them to be a leader in the field. Furthermore, it plans to become a model in industry-university cooperation so that many other universities will look to UNIST as an example.
Korea-US Cooperation for Next Generation Technology
Until now the US has not shown a positive attitude on climate change agreements since refusing to join the Kyoto Protocol. Because of this lukewarm posture compared with other leading countries such as Japan and the EU, it has been left behind in the renewable energy sector. However, in order to break through this weak situation, the US is now doing its best to develop independent next-gen technology in the renewable energy field. To this end, it is conducting intensive R&D in such fields as solar cells, bio-fuel, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles, and carbon capture and storage. Considering this situation, it is believed that Korea doesn't have to invest too much money in the much-developed renewable energy field. Instead, like the US research direction, it is more desirable for Korea to devote itself to the development of independent original technology, while obtaining its market. For this reason, now is the time to select the energy field where Korea has a common interest with the US, in order to stimulate international collaboration.