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Promoting a World-Class, Research-Oriented University by Acceleration of Graduate School Innovation


Promoting a World-Class, Research-Oriented University by Acceleration of Graduate School Innovation


Kyungpook National University (KNU) continues to devote efforts into promoting a world-class, research-oriented university by spurring the innovation of its graduate school and nurturing the next generation of academics and specialized individuals.

Through BK21 FOUR, a large-scale educational support project and follow-up project of BK21, the government has allocated research funds of KRW 2.9 trillion over seven years from 2020~2027 to support the next generation of academics to stably focus on research and studies, and raise more than 19,000 master's and doctorate-level specialists annually. From KNU, 28 educational research groups were selected for the BK21 FOUR project last year, securing a total of KRW 118 billion of funding for seven years. This amount ranks sixth among that of all universities in the country. In addition, more than five educational research groups were selected to support graduate school innovation with a total of KRW 28.2 billion over seven years, receiving funding which had only been given to selected universities. With the BK21 FOUR project, KNU expects to lead in the innovation of graduate schools and promote a research-oriented academic environment by improving various systems for innovation in education and research, and implementing various support programs for the education, welfare, and scholarship of graduate students.


First Annual Evaluation of BK21 FOUR, KNU Selected as One of Top 2 Universities in the Region


In the first annual evaluation of BK21 FOUR, KNU was selected as one of the top two regional universities (Busan University and KNU) for graduate school innovation. The evaluation and ranking was based on both a written report and presentation between a group of ten national universities and a group of ten regional universities. The top two universities of each group received an increase of around 20% from the project funding of the two universities of the lowest ranking of each group. In accordance with these results, KNU will receive an additional funding of KRW 216 million and establish new plans to be implemented with this funding.

Flexible Academic Structural Reform for Convergence

The reform in the organizational structure of KNU, in appointing the Vice President of Education to serve as the President of KNU Graduate School, has also centralized the management of the overall academic affairs of all graduate school departments, and contributed to the promotion of a research-oriented university. In a new initiative of accepting only undergraduate students who have completed their basic major requirements, KNU School of Convergence is the first among national universities to implement this system of flexible academic structure. The program has no admission quota and is operated as an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program, becoming a successful model for educational innovation. The availability of options to change majors as well as to participate in 23 interdisciplinary programs in cooperation with 55 graduate school departments also ensures the academic ownership of students at KNU.


Scholarship Programs Fostering Education and Research and the Establishment of International Cooperation Research Center


Scholarship programs at KNU also foster the stable education and research of graduate students. In addition to existing programs such as RA (Research Assistant) and TA (Teaching Assistant), new BK RA (BK Research Assistant), GTA (Graduate Education Assistant), and KNU PhD Fellow programs have been enacted, allowing 198 additional graduate students to receive scholarships. Support for PhD students after the completion of their coursework has also increased with programs such as KNU Teaching Fellow, which employs outstanding postdoctoral researchers to teach as instructors at KNU.


The establishment of the International Cooperative Research Center this year has also worked to advance international joint research. The achievements of the center include the signing of international academic exchange agreements with six new universities of high ranking, and an invitation of the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, Professor Michael Horton, in presenting a lecture for an international online conference. The Department of Medicine and the Department of Trade additionally opened two Cooperative Online International Learning (COIL) courses for the second semester of this year.

The Second Graduate School of Data Science to be Established After Seoul National University

With the recent establishment of KNU Graduate School for Data Science, KNU has more intentionally begun to nurture specialists in data science. Data science is a discipline of convergence that integrates scientific methodologies, processes, algorithms, and systems necessary to extract knowledge and information from various data. Although data science is a rising field of high-tech industry with propitious global application that requires national attention, the scale of training core human resources in Korea is small compared to that of the US, China, and Europe. As the second Graduate School of Data Science established in the nation after Seoul National University, KNU seeks to serve as a national hub for education in data science to respond to the rapidly increasing demand for advanced workforce in AI and big data. Applications for KNU Master’s in Data Science are open from December 29, 2021 to January 4, 2022; anyone with a bachelor's degree or above is eligible to apply.

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