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[Special Interview: LINC+ Project] Dreaming of Becoming Korean Silicon Valley with Innovation and Coexistence
Sep 14, 2017
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Special Interview: LINC+ Project  l  Associate Dean for Research Jae-Nam Lee
Dreaming of Becoming a Korean Silicon Valley with Innovation and Coexistence
 
 
Korea University (KU) has been selected by the Ministry of Education in its “Leaders in Industry-university Cooperation Plus (LINC+) Project.” To solve unemployment and labor shortages, five departments including △Korea University Business School (KUBS), △ College of Engineering, △College of Health Science, △College of Informatics, and △School of Art & Design have participated in the project and have received 3.2 billion won worth of funds. <KUBS Journal> asked KUBS Associate Dean for Research Jae-Name Lee about the purpose of the program and the future plans of KUBS.
 
Q. What are the features of the LINC+ Project?
The LINC+ Project strives to achieve two goals. One is providing undergraduates and graduates with jobs or encouraging them to establish startups. The other is collaboration with local community. The essence of LINC+ is developing “Anam-Hongreung Silicon Valley” into a “Korean Silicon Valley.” The Seongbuk area along the regions of Anam and Jongam has high population density, but its business development has been rather slow. This area has a strong basis in educational and research facilities and boasts a huge number of highly skilled workers. It is a huge business asset. Business and academic cooperation between KU and Korea Institution of Science and Technology gives us a glimpse into its immense potential.
 
Another LINC+ objective is to contribute to the local community through the use of local infrastructure. The College of Engineering’s research publications and intellectual properties can identify the needs of the community and provide solutions. For example, they can form a partnership with the SMEs within the area for R&D and provide internships for undergraduates. This coexistence is a big differentiation factor of LINC+.
 
Q. What do you think helped KU to become selected for LINC+?
I think there are three main reasons for the selection of KU, a research-oriented institution. First, its local community. The area around KU is not developed. Second, they are looking for research-oriented universities to lead the development of its local community and co-exist. Silicon Valley became the most dynamic place for innovation owning to the support of Stanford University. Lastly, the cluster of industries, universities, and institutions can bring about synergies. Recently, we have formed a partnership between startup-centered SungShin Women’s University, Kookmin University, and their consortium with Kyung Hee University.

Q. Among the projects under LINC+, we’ve heard there are many that are being operated under the partnership between Industry-academia Cooperation Foundation, KUBS, and the College of Engineering Department. What kind of businesses are planned?
We first conducted a survey on SMEs near KU and individuals to examine what they need. From here, we planned four specialized industries including energy and new materials to expand the students’ opportunities for employment and startups. The main tasks of our business school are supporting startups, seeking domestics and international internships, and developing business cases. In hindsight, most of the projects that LINC+ are planning are already under operation in KUBS. Our business school looks to take one step ahead to identify beforehand what is necessary in actual industries to provide our students with more diverse experiences. Then, we will try to bring our alumni to the school so they can share their experiences with current students. We also aim to put emphasis on field internship and student-centered degree program. For internships, students will not be limited by school semesters. Furthermore, they will be able to develop their own major. For example, a student majoring in mechanical engineering or business studies will develop his own mix of “Design — Engineering — Business.” Contrary to other departments, we seek to provide domestic and international internships, local community project, and an educational program in Industry-academic Cooperation.
 
Q. What are LINC+’s goals and future plans?
From educational perspective, we plan to secure experts in industry-academic cooperation. KU is scheduled to employ seven professors of the field this October, and KUBS will look at employing two. We are looking to select those with more than ten years of industrial experience who can actively communicate and have insights into startups, domestic and international internships, and business development cases. In the light of the project, there will be a specific partnerships with nearby industries, universities, and institutions. Primarily, the school will sign an MOU with Sungshin Women’s University and then continue on to develop MOUs with Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, Kookmin University, Kyung Hee University, etc. Its alumni association will take part in during the process. Also, a membership-based infrastructure will be established. Under the leadership of KU, the school will employ its research environment and facilities to create a synergistic platform that would include enterprise entities. Lastly, we are seeking to include departments other than business studies and engineering sciences to create an “Anam-Hongreung Silicon Valley.” We will create a “Korean Silicon Valley” based on employment, startups, and cooperation with the local community and set an example for the rest of the world.