KPU charters path to building industry-university convergence technopolis
University partners with companies and international institutions to innovate engineering education and cultivate field-friendly human resources
From an engineering-focused education model, Korea Polytechnic University (KPU) is embracing a new challenge to become a specialised institution for academic and industrial cooperation.
The university, established by the South Korean government, is intensifying its plan to build an industry-university convergence technopolis where its novel development strategy “University-Industry Convergence 3.0” seeks to foster hidden champions – the country’s small- and medium-sized businesses – through specialised training platforms.
Confronting the new global paradigm dubbed the “fourth industrial revolution”, KPU is forging partnerships with companies and international institutions to promote programmes that involve areas such as the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics, all under the blanket strategies of integrated human resources development, technological innovations and harnessing the power of start-ups.
“KPU is an excellent role model of university-industry cooperation,” says Lee Jae-hoon, president. “As the only university located inside a national industrial complex in South Korea, KPU contributes to the community and nation’s growth by innovating engineering education and cultivating field-friendly human resources.”
KPU established the culture of university-industry cooperation by building the Partner Company System. Under the scheme, partner organisations collaborate with KPU to offer field training and employment to students while working on joint research and development (R&D) projects. Introduced in 2000, the pioneering university-industry cooperation in the country has gathered about 4,000 technological innovation companies – the largest number of partner companies among all universities in South Korea – to launch tailored courses that cultivate value exchange and train creative, practical and global talents.
“KPU uses the industrial setting as a campus while enterprises use the university as a R&D laboratory,” Lee says. “By elevating the students’ speciality, pioneering spirit and responsibility, KPU ushers students to a path of innovative and practical knowledge.”
Its cooperation with South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will yield 30 newly trained Vietnamese engineering graduates this year through the state scholarship manpower training programme. Launched in 2012, the programme educates Vietnamese students with a year of Korean language and a four-year undergraduate engineering course.
KPU continues to seek partnerships with universities to offer a wider range of exchange and joint research programmes. It is keen on creating businesses and training entrepreneurs from leading institutions. With a graduate employment rate that has ranked first for six consecutive years among all universities in the Sudogwon region, which covers Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do, KPU serves as a judicious guide to the South Korean economy as it nurtures leading roles within the country’s hidden champions.