Incheon National University (INU) rapidly grew from a private college established in 1979 into a municipal university in 1994, and later into a National University in 2013.
After being first founded as a private college known as the Incheon Technical College in January 1979, later, it was renamed Incheon College in December 1979 before getting promoted to a comprehensive university in 1988. Now, INU stands in the new and young international city of Songdo in Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ). A year later, in 2010, INU merged with Incheon City College to expand capacity and open more curricula. The university now operates two campuses at Songdo, main campus, and also at Dohwa-dong, satellite campus. From January 2013, the university was rechartered as one of Flagship Korean National Universities in South Korea, representing Gyeonggi Province and Incheon city. The central and municipal government plan to fund the university more than US 70 million dollars per year to continue to expand education and research. It continues its development and implements innovations with a goal to enter World’s Top 100 Universities within 4 years.
INU is a unique university in Korea where all members of student and professor have a sense of ownership. In late 2015 when Incheon city did not give grants to the university properly, students went to Incheon city hall to demonstrate, send out the founders who had problems. Each member of university is very sovereign-conscious and could win their independence.
President Cho Dong-sung of Incheon National University, who is constantly pushing for a change in school development by increasing employment opportunities through a matrix-type education system linked with companies, showed confidence to develop Incheon national university to a world-class university by implementing the vision of a biotechnology specialized university.
In an interview with The Korea Post Media, President Cho said, "We are aiming at making Incheon National University a unique University that specializes in biotechnologies and that is recognized in any country of the world. We are setting up a development strategy with 11 colleges and 64 departments focused on biotechnologies so that Incheon National University could benchmark the University of Singapore and become a world-class university comparable to Seoul National University." President Cho expressed certainty that increasing employment opportunities through a matrix-type education system linked to companies would serve this goal.
President Cho Dong-sung was elected as the second president of Incheon National University in May, 2016 by earning majority of votes from the board. President Cho earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Seoul National University (SNU) and a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. From 1978 until February 2014, he worked as a professor at the business college in SNU. He also served as dean of the business college from 2001 to 2003. In June 2014 he joined the faculty at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Cho also has been working as a member of the board of directors for the International Vaccine Institute, a United Nations affiliated organization located in SNU, to advise on the procurement of research subsidies since 2002.
Question: What exactly is the 'biotechnology specialized university' and the 'Matrix System'?
Answer: The University of Incheon is planning to open a 'DNA campus' that focuses on genetic studies in collaboration with drug and biotech companies concentrated around Incheon National University, such as Celltrion, Samsung Biologics, and Bio Venture EONE-DIAGNOMICS.
In 1992, while working as a professor at Seoul National University, I made industry-academia cooperation possible by establishing a research fund of 100 billion won in connection with companies. I benchmarked Sophia Antipolis, which was the France's first industrial R & D cluster. Our university, which is being developed as a bio-research center, will upgrade its industry-academy cooperation for specialized education to make it a global competitiveness. University linked with global companies will create world-class added value. In order to enter world’s top 100 universities it is planned to attract 5 leading chair professors specialized in biotechnologies. A Nobel Prize winner, former President ofan international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ProfessorUnni Karunakara of Yale Universitywill be invited as a full-time professor.
Among world-famous professors to be invited to take teaching and research positions at Incheon National University isProfessor Ralph Clemens, former Senior Vice President and Head of Development for Global Vaccines Business Unit affiliated with the UN, and a former President of Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands. Additionally 20 domestic and foreign professors majoring in biotechnologies will be hired before the start of the fall semester and jointly run the Matrix College curriculum with 20 companies, including Celltrion, Yuhan Kimberly and Samsung Biologics located in Songdo, the newly developed largest bio-industrial cluster in Korea.The Matrix College concept is an industry-university collaboration model where companies design the courses in the way they would like their future employees to be educated. Later students chose those courses according to their preferences. University becomes an opportunity platform. In order to succeed a biotechnology-based university must put an emphasis on basic and applied sciences alongside with their empirical implementation in the industry. In this regard, the University of Incheon with its bio-center adjacent to Songdo has the best conditions in Korea.
Q: Incheon National University is pursuing the 'Tri-versity' program that will contribute to job creation for people in the 30s to 60s.Would you elaborate on that?
A: Our University plans to establish ‘Tri-versity’ program, which will help people in 30s-60sin theiremployment and entrepreneurship education at the Chemulpo campus of Incheon National University. Tri-versity aims to provide baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees by providing regular and highly structured educational opportunities for the students who are unemployed or looking for a better job. The Government is also strongly supporting the establishment of the ‘Tri-versity’ curriculum, which is expected to provide a good educational opportunity for the public. Tri-versity is a full-time college that offers a balanced sense, integrated thinking, and the skills needed to start a business. The goals of the Incheon National university, which aims to become global 100 universities by achieving globalization and concentration in bio, seems to be realized step by step at a time.
Q: Please introduce the key points of the globalizing plan of the Incheon National University.
A: Our University that acquired strong reputation thanks to its globalizing strategy does not consider Korean universities to be its competitors, but rather world's leading universities, like Harvard and Yale. It is not only hardware upgrades but also software innovations that are strongly promoted. Typical example could be an adoption of administrative documents in Korean, English and Chinese. This will rapidly create an international atmosphere for the university. At first the employees did not understand my intentions and they opposed to the change due to the lack of preparation, however, they operate the school with the philosophy that they should start a change from small things to internationalization.
Before foreign professors would not be assigned to major positions,within the framework of ourglobalizing strategy, American Professor Jill Leslie Tao (Department of Public Administration) was appointed as the Dean of International Affairs.
We dispatched a large number of administrative staff to benchmark the National University of Singapore, which is called the Harvard of Asia in order to broaden our knowledge on the administration of advanced universities. We believe that our university can also be transformed into the second Harvard of Asia.
As part of our Matrix-type curriculum we signed MOUs with 37 companies last year. Another ambitious goal is to attract large number of international students from the Middle Eastern countries, especially from Saudi Arabia.
I am confident that setting a bigger goal and drawing a bigger picture, while carrying out concrete detailed action planstep by step, someday we will reach beyond expectations.
Q: Please introduce your mid-term plan for becoming a top university in Asia
A: Our main goal at the moment is to keep up with an ongoing 4th industrial revolution and transform into the future-oriented University 4.0.
Currently, our university is evolving into the university 4.0 model for artificial intelligence and wisdom oriented post information society, beyond the such as downward infusion education, horizontal cooperative education and upward investigation education. We plan to set up a future-oriented university model of the world, and the management policy is self-supporting, global and future-oriented.By 2020 we plan to establish the metropolitan research center and by 2026 enter Worlds’ Top 100 Universities.
Daring ambitions and hard work of President Cho Dong-sung, professors and students, are being invested to establish a future-oriented university model and implement creative education management projects. We believe that in the nearest future Incheon National University can become a place that attracts foreign students and foreign companies that seek for their talents in order to gain global competitiveness. It seems that Incheon National University has all chances to become one of the world’s leading universities with a global competitiveness in the world.