POSTECH Ranked Third Best Small University in the World, First in Asia

[Strong in University-Industry Collaboration]

 

POSTECH placed third on the 2019 World’s Best Small Universities list, recently published by the Times Higher Education (THE), a London-based leading publisher of higher education analysis and world university rankings.

 

THE announces world rankings annually for universities with fewer than 5,000 students. The same 13 performance indicators under five areas are used for small-scale global university evaluation as the global university assessment including, teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook. However, this evaluation only includes small universities due to their nature that prioritizes quality over quantity and customized education, which is not properly reflected in existing university evaluations.

 

Caltech placed first, followed by École Polytechnique and POSTECH placed third. POSTECH’s ranking is the highest among Asian universities.

 

Caltech, which continues to rank first, is an American engineering university of the highest level, established in California in 1891. It has produced outstanding scientists and engineers, such as Charles Richter, the developer of Richter scale and faculty members, including Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling and Richard Feynman. It is a frontrunner among small and strong universities. École Polytechnique, in second place, is a leading university among France’s small elite educational institutions labeled ‘Grandes Écoles.’ It is the epicenter of French mathematics, science and engineering research and boasts 222 years of history and tradition. Three presidents, including Giscard d’Estaing, numerous senior officials and CEOs from major French companies graduated from the university.

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It has been analyzed that POSTECH ranked third due to its high marks in industry-university cooperation compared to other universities.

 

THE stated, “POSTECH was founded in 1986 to cultivate future engineers” and praised POSTECH for encouraging entrepreneurship by “providing students with entrepreneurship programs such as clubs for student startups, support for prospective entrepreneurs, patent training and leave of absence granted for launching startups.”

POSTECH students won 3rd place in the APRU Global Health Student Poster Contest (UG category)

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POSTECH undergraduate students – Wonjun Jang, Sangeun Je, Do Yun Kim (CiTE), and Ahra Cho (IME) – won 3rd place in the undergraduate category of APRU Global Health Student Poster Contest with the entry titled “Treatment system for severe dementia patients using multi-sensory stimulation.” Among a total of 54 submissions from 24 universities in various countries, their poster was selected as one of the outstanding entries by an international panel of judges.

 

While they were taking the course titled Interaction Design Studio, Professor Eun Jeong Ma (CiTE), the course lecturer and advisor to the team, recommended the students to submit their project to the poster contest. For the project, they developed a personal multi-sensory simulation device, a multi-sensory controllable interface, and a dementia test application, which could be applied to severe dementia patients.

 

Jang stated, “I am grateful to Prof. Eun Jeong Ma for giving us this opportunity. I am also thankful for the fellow students working for the project together. During the course, I was trying to make ideas real and think about what users actually need. I’d be more than happy to help people in need by turning my own idea into reality.”

 

The awardees will attend the APRU Global Health Conference 2019, which will be held at the University of Hong Kong in November, and present their project at a poster session during the conference.

Prof. Moo Hwan Kim, Appointed as the 8th President of POSTECH

POSTECH Foundation (Chairman Jeong-Woo Choi) appointed Professor Moo Hwan Kim of Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering (DANE) / Mechanical Engineering as the eighth president of POSTECH at the second board of trustees meeting of 2019 academic year held on July 17th. He succeeds President Doh-Yeon Kim, whose term expires on August 31st. The new president’s term in office is four years from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2023.

 

Regarding the appointment, the board stated, “The newly appointed president Moo Hwan Kim presented the vision of fully realizing POSTECH’s founding tenets by playing up the strengths of a small elite university, in building a model where each unit grows through self-driven innovation. We affirm that he has the capacity to realize this vision.”

 

Professor Moo Hwan Kim was born in Busan and attended Kyunggi High School, then went onto receive both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering at Seoul National University in 1980 and 1982. He continued his studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Ph.D. there in 1986 then joined the POSTECH faculty in the following year.

 

He is an expert in the field of nuclear safety technology and has held leadership positions in various departments at POSTECH, including vice president of student affairs, admissions, external relations and communications, and planning, and as a professor of Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering (DANE). He also served as the president of Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) from 2013 for three consecutive years.

 

The board further remarked, “We have agreed that the newly appointed president Kim is well-equipped to be POSTECH’s president as he possesses excellent leadership and communication skills and demonstrates strong initiative. The board added, “With this new appointment, we encourage all members of the POSTECH community, including professors, staff, students, alumni, and the foundation to do their best in fulfilling the founding tenets of POSTECH and in growing into a global university.”

POSTECH Doctoral Student Gwanho Yoon Awarded the SPIE Scholarship in the U.S.

– Anticipated to contribute to future of optical engineering
– Selected in Forbes ‘30 Under 30 Asia 2019’

 

 

Gwanho Yoon, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology, President Doh-Yeon Kim), has been awarded the 2019 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE (Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers), the largest academic society in the field of optical engineering.

 

Yoon, working in the Nanophotonics Lab led by Professor Junsuk Rho, has been specializing in various researches on metasurface, widely known as the “invisibility cloak” technology. This research has attracted much attention because it also leads to future technologies through augmented and virtual reality technology, 3D hologram display and ultra-thin flat lens.

 

Yoon stated, “Even though metasurface outperforms conventional optical technology, only laboratory-scale production was possible due to its high production cost and difficulty in large-scale production. But this research develops quick and inexpensive metasurface production technology, allowing us to make an important contribution to commercialization of metasurface.”

 

Yoon made headlines in April when he was selected as one of the ’30 Under 30 Asia 2019′ leaders in the Healthcare and Science category by Forbes, an American business magazine.

 

This SPIE scholarship, awarded to students who are expected to contribute significantly to the future of optical engineering, was awarded to a total of 84 students from all over the world in 2019 and Yoon was the sole recipient in Korea and amongst the four in Asia.

 

Yoon’s advisor Professor Roh added, “Since this scholarship is known to be rarely awarded to non-US countries and especially not to Asian universities, I believe that SPIE has weighed Yoon’s potential at a higher level.”

A Wearable Vibration Sensor for Accurate Voice Recognition

[The research group led by Professor Kilwon Cho and Professor Yoonyoung Chung developed a skin-attachable vibration sensor for voice recognition]

 

A voice-recognition feature can be easily found on mobile phones these days. Often times, we experience an incident where a speech recognition application is activated in the middle of a meeting or a conversation in the office. Sometimes, it is not activated at all regardless of numbers of times we call out the application. It is because a mobile phone uses a microphone which detects sound pressure to recognize voice, and it is easily affected by surrounding noise and other obstacles.

 

Professor Kilwon Cho of Chemical Engineering and Professor Yoonyoung Chung of Electronic and Electric Engineering from POSTECH successfully developed a flexible and wearable vibration responsive sensor. When this sensor is attached to a neck, it can precisely recognize voice through vibration of the neck skin and is not affected by ambient noise or the volume of sound.

 

The conventional vibration sensors recognize voice through air vibration and the sensitivity decreases due to mechanical resonance and damping effect, therefore are not capable of measuring voices quantitatively. So, ambient sound or obstacles such as mouth mask can affect its accuracy of voice recognition and it cannot be used for security authentication.

 

In this study, the research group demonstrated that the voice pressure is proportional to the acceleration of neck skin vibration at various sound pressure levels from 40 to 70 dBSPL and they developed a vibration sensor utilizing the acceleration of skin vibration. The device, which is consisted of an ultrathin polymer film and a diaphragm with tiny holes, can sense voices quantitively by measuring the acceleration of skin vibration.

 

They also successfully exhibited that the device can accurately recognize voice without vibrational distortion even in the noisy environment and at a very low voice volume with a mouth mask worn.

 

This research can be further extended to various voice-recognition applications such as an electronic skin, human-machine interface, wearable vocal healthcare monitoring device.

 

Professor Kilwon Cho explained the meaning of this study in his interview. “This research is very meaningful in a way that it developed a new voice-recognition system which can quantitively sense and analyze voice and is not affected by the surroundings. It took a step forward from the conventional voice-recognition system that could only recognize voice qualitatively.”

 

This research was supported by the Center for Advanced Soft Electronics under the Global Frontier Research Program of The Ministry of Science and ICT, Korea. Further results of this study can be found on the website of Nature Communications, published on the 18th of June.

A new microorganism for algae biomass to produce alternative fuels

– Professor Gyoo Yeol Jung and his research team utilized algae that grow three times faster than starch crops and succeeded in producing biofuel and biochemicals

– They developed a new artificial microorganism as a microbial platform for the biorefinery of brown macroalgae which is possible to accelerate biochemical production rate

 

The biorefinery technology uses biomass as a feedstock and converts it to energy and other beneficial byproducts. It is drawing attention as an eco-friendly and sustainable technology to prepare for depletion of fossil fuels. However, the types of biomass that can be used for this technology are very limited. Starch crops such as corns are utilized as biomass (mainly glucose), but they are easily consumed by microorganism. Such processes have limitations in satisfying the growing demands of bioproducts, for example, the consumption of food resources and limited cultivation capabilities.

 

To overcome such limitations, the joint research team of POSTECH and Seoul National University developed a new microorganism, which they named as Vibrio sp. dhg. In their study, they successfully demonstrated that Vibrio sp. dhg can be a promising microbial platform for the biorefinery of brown macroalgae which can replace starch-crop biomass. Their research is published in the latest publication of the world-renowned journal, Nature Communications on June 6th, 2019.

 

Continuing efforts on studying utilization of non-edible biomass have been made and brown macroalgae have been suggested as an alternative feedstock. Brown macroalgae grow two to three times faster than the starch crops and only require light and seawater to grow. Although they are only consumed in a few countries such as Korea, they are not eaten in most of the countries. Because of these advantages, they seem to be a reasonable alternative choice. However, there was no industrial microorganism that can easily metabolize polysaccharides like alginic acid in algae and it was difficult to develop the process for utilizing algae as biomass.

 

To solve this problem, Prof. Gyoo Yeol Jung and his research team at POSTECH and Prof. Sang Woo Seo and his research group at Seoul National University successfully developed a new microorganism, Vibrio sp. dgh, that can rapidly metabolize alginic acid in algae and genetic engineering techniques optimized for this new microorganism based on omics analysis. In addition, they succeeded in developing biorefinery processes that directly produce ethanol (biofuel), 2,3-butanediol (raw material for plastics), lycopene (physiologically active substance) and other various chemical products by artificially manipulating the metabolic pathway of Vibrio sp. dhg.

 

Especially, the new artificial microorganism they found has many advantages and brings great expectations of its future usage. For example, Vibrio sp. dhg can not only use brown macroalgae as biomass but also other various biomass more efficiently than the conventional industrial microorganisms (E. coli, yeast). Also, their growth rate is two times faster and they convert biomass more rapidly. Therefore, it is expected to be used for improving the efficiency of microbial fermentation process using not only algae but also conventional gluose-based biomass.

Prof. Jung who led the research team explained, “The microorganism that we found, Vibrio sp. dhg can rapidly metabolize algae-derived carbon sources. So, it can be utilized in producing eco-friendly value-added chemicals. Also, it can convert raw materials to high value-added chemicals exceptionally faster than the existing industrial microorganism. Therefore, we expect that this will exceedingly improve the efficiency and economic feasibility of microbial fermentation process which has been studied globally.”

 

This research was supported by the C1 Gas Refinery Program, the Global Research Laboratory Program, the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program (Korea Bio Grand Challenge) through the National Research Foundation of Korea and Creative-Pioneering Researchers Program through Seoul National University.

A step closer to future 5G smartphones with the world’s first Antenna-on-Display

– Professor Wonbin Hong and his research team developed the future 5G antenna system with global industry members including Dongwoo FineChem, SK Telecom, LG Electronics, Keysight Technologies and Y-Tech
– Completed OTA (Over-the-Air) tests of 5G Antenna-on-Displays at 28GHz, shedding new light on how to incorporate dozens of 5G antenna within foldable, rollable, wearable future 5G smartphones

 

It has been a few years since physical key boards have been replaced by on-screen touch sensors for wireless devices such as cellular phones. This eventually triggered the modern day smartphone-era by introducing large-screen displays on portable devices. In which country was this technology first developed? The answer is Republic of Korea. This time, an innovative 5G smartphone with optically invisible antennas that are embedded within super resolution displays will be introduced to the market for the first time in the world – again from Korea.

 

On the 27th of March, a University-Industry research consortium led by Po-hang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) and joined by industry partners such as Dong-Woo Fine Chem, SK Telecom, LG Electronics, Keysight Technologies, and Y.Tech announced the world’s first ‘Antenna-on-Display (AoD)’ technology. Spearheaded by POSTECH Professor Wonbin Hong’s research team, this was the first multilateral academia-industry research cooperation in Korea. The POSTECH research consortium has successfully completed field testing of this technology on a 28 GHz 5G Android smartphone platform and they expect this to expedite the deployment of new concepts for 5G devices in the near future.

 

5G is expected to be at least 20 times faster than the speed of 4G LTE. Among multiple wireless components, the antenna is one of the most critical differentiators that enables such technology jump. 5G relies on millimeter-wave frequencies which are at least an order of magnitude higher than cur-rent 4G LTE and Wi-Fi. Consequently, the signal attenuation at millimeter-wave becomes much greater, leading to the need to “clustering of the antennas” to form a dense electromagnetic beam at certain directions similar to how microscopes work. Naturally, this means 5G wireless devices require dozens of antenna in contrast to a single-digit number of antennas during the 4G era.

 

However, in the mobile industry, the lack of space to place the 5G antennas within cellular devices has been the fundamental challenge. Future smartphones are expected to be ergonomically, esthetically and technically advanced-simultaneously. Using conventional antenna technology, more number of antennas to support 5G implies an undesired trade-off situation. Naturally this paradox has been slowing down the worldwide deployment of 5G cellular devices up to present.

 

Professor Wonbin Hong of POSTECH and his research team developed an alternative that can embed antennas directly on a display and exemplified its possibility of commercialization in the future. This technology is fundamentally different from conventional antenna for cellular devices. Denoted as Antenna-on-Display (AoD), this concept enables an antenna that is designed using nano-scale fabrication technology to trick the human eye into thinking that the antenna is invisible. Using this technology, it is now possible to co-use the entire view area of high definition displays such as OLED and LCD for massive number of 5G antennas. This eliminates the trade-off relation be-tween ergonomics, esthetics and technology. The research team developed a transparent thin film with Dong-Woo Fine Chem for the AoD. LG Electronics integrated the AoD within their cellular device prototype and this was used to conduct real-life 5G trials at 28 GHz with SK Telecom. This research is significant in demonstrating multilateral academia-industry cooperation for the first time in the nation. The research is published on IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, one of the leading journals in the field of electronics and electric engineering.

 

Professor Wonbin Hong of POSTECH who led the research explained, “this is the first step of our collaborative research. Similar to how on-screen touch sensors redefined wireless devices, the Antenna-on-Display has the potential to trigger various possibilities for 5G and beyond. We expect it will contribute not only to creating innovative 5G smartphone concepts but also to enabling technology for many ideas beyond our imagination”

Mr. Jong Kwan Park, Director of 5GX Labs at SK Telecom said, “SK Telecom will continue to collaborate with POSTECH research consortium to provide the world’s leading 5G services related innovations.”

This research was partially supported by the Institute of Information and Communications Technology Planning and Evaluation which is an affiliated organization of Ministry of Science and ICT.

5/9 Visit of Group INSA Delegation

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In March 9, the delegation of Group INSA of France, lead by Director M’Hamed Drissi of INSA Rennes, visited the POSTECH campus.

President Doh-Yeon Kim and the delegation discussed future possibilities of furthering the collaboration between Group INSA and K-STAR, of which the 2 organizations formed a multilateral partnership on October 2018.

Prof. Boram Kim of INSA Lyon is also a POSTECH Graduate.

First Sod Cut for Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC)

– Genexine, ASU, and over 20 pharmaceutical institutes to move into the BOIC
– Initiative launched to build the first Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute in Korea

 

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POSTECH cut the first sod on the site of the new Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC) on February 26, 2019. The BOIC, an innovation platform for academia-industry collaboration on new drug research, is one of POSTECH’s signature initiatives to drive the regional development as in line with its vision of becoming a Value Creating University.

 

The groundbreaking ceremony for BOIC was held in attendance of more than 200. The guests included POSTECH president Doh-Yeon Kim, economic vice governor of Gyeongbuk province, mayor of Pohang, local member of the National Assembly (Mr. Myoung-Jae Park), president of Genexine, POSCO officials, and representatives of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

 

POSTECH, Pohang city, and Genexine have made a joint investment in the BOIC with the aim of developing it into a new drug industry base. They anticipate that the BOIC will boost the tri-sector collaboration on new drug research, bringing the academia, industry, and research institutes closer. It will also lay the foundation for a regional industry ecosystem through incubating biotech startups and attracting firms and research institutes. Genexine, one of the co-investors, is widely known as a successful model of a biotech venture company. The once nascent startup, founded by POSTECH professor Young-Chul Sung, has now grown into a Korea’s leading pharmaceutical company.

 

Along with domestic and overseas bio companies and research institutes set to move in, the BOIC is to be equipped with a new drug development pilot plant that supports the testing and production of new drug candidates. A project bureau for the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute (CMPRI) will also settle in the BOIC.

 

The establishment of the BOIC has been of great importance in POSTECH’s efforts to contribute to the regional development. It will serve as the focal point for developing the high value-added pharmaceutical industry and attracting enterprises with new job opportunities.

 

Gyeongbuk province and Pohang city are, likewise, taking the lead in the investment for this initiative and adding momentum to bringing in business from home and abroad, encouraging entrepreneurship, and training bio experts. They are hoping that these movements will ultimately lead to a boost in job creation in the region.

 

As part of the BOIC groundbreaking ceremony, the CMPRI project bureau kicked off on the same day with an inauguration ceremony. This project is one of the core schemes for new drug research pivoted on the PAL-XFEL.

 

At the inauguration, POSTECH, Gyeongbuk province, Pohang city, and POSCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding and agreed to support the establishment and management of the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute. The ceremony was followed by the unveiling of the signboard of the Institute and announcing the appointment of Professor Jie-Oh Lee of Life Sciences as the head of the project. Professor Lee, listed in the top 100 rising influential Koreans, is a domestic authority in the field of cell membrane protein.

 

The Cell Membrane Protein Institute will use the PAL-XFEL, the 4th generation light source, to identify the structure of the cell membrane protein and derive candidate substances of new drug. Despite the fact that cell membrane proteins account for over 60% of the causes of diseases, the examination and analysis of their biostructure still largely remain an unsolved problem due to the complexity. The Institute, for that reason, is expected to provide a breakthrough for Korea’s new drug industry and help rise in the global market that has reached 1,500 trillion KRW.

 

Doh-Yeon Kim said, “Pohang has achieved incredible development based on the steel industry represented by POSCO, but now it is time to take a second leap. As a Value Creating University, POSTECH hopes to lead the betterment of Gyeongbuk province and Pohang city hand in hand with BOIC.”