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KAIST, THE to hold summit, university ‘impact’ ranking to be revealed

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Times Higher Education are jointly holding a three-day conference in South Korea on the changing roles of universities in the era of the “fourth industrial revolution,” KAIST said Monday.

2019 KAIST-THE Innovation & Impact summit poster(KAIST)
2019 KAIST-THE Innovation & Impact summit poster(KAIST)

The 2019 KAIST-THE Innovation & Impact summit is being held from Tuesday to Thursday at KAIST’s main campus in Daejeon, bringing together some 300 leaders from 25 countries in the fields of education, industry and politics.

THE University Impact Rankings, a new ranking of universities’ impact on society, will be exclusively disclosed during a session Wednesday and published globally Thursday.

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE, said that universities’ social and economic impact on the world have been “underappreciated” in league tables, and THE wanted to take into account the “great things” universities do to make the world a better place.

It is the first time that THE, which has published the World University Rankings since 2004, has ranked universities in terms of social and economic impact -- the first ranking to measure universities’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The ranking includes metrics based on 11 of the 17 SDGs, according to THE.

This year, more than 500 institutions from 75 countries across six continents submitted data for the new ranking, it said.

During the summit, participants will discuss four topics -- educational innovation, transfer of knowledge and entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence and culture, and the Trip Helix of Innovation -- and draw up institutions’ policy directions in Industry 4.0.

Former and incumbent presidents of some of the world’s most prestigious universities and business leaders will share their experiences, insights and development strategies through presentations during the summit.

Among them is Lino Guzzella, former president of ETH Zurich, who is set to give a speech Wednesday on “Higher Education -- Coping with the Knowledge Inflation and Preparing for Success.”

Guzzella is expected to underscore the importance of critical thinking, creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship in an era when information is abundant amid the rise of artificial intelligence, and educational methods of rote learning are not as competitive and effective as before.

Bin Yang, vice president and provost at Tsinghua University, is also set to give a speech titled “Reflection and Practice of Higher Education in an Era of Innovation” on Wednesday. Tsinghua University stole the top spot from National University of Singapore in the Times Higher Education Asia-Pacific ranking in 2019.

Yang is expected to talk about how universities should use young talent and the importance of international cooperation in a hyper-interconnected world.

Chi Young-suk, chairman of Elsevier, will also give a presentation on Wednesday on how universities can take advantage of their unique culture to fuel the transfer of knowledge.

On Thursday, Joseph Aoun, president of Northeastern University and author of the book “Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” will share insights on how universities could meet the challenges presented by smart machines.

Aoun is expected to introduce a new curriculum for AI, stress the need for experimental learning and call for higher education to place lifelong learning at the heart of the educational enterprise.

Anne Glover, CEO of Amadeus Capital, a United Kingdom-based investor in AI, is also among those who will deliver a speech. She is expected to talk about the “Triple Helix of Innovation,” aimed at boosting cooperation among universities, businesses and governments to create an ecosystem of nurturing and using young talent in the AI era.

In addition, Mitsubishi Research Institute Chairman Hiroshi Komiyama, LG Electronics Senior Vice President Kim Byoung-hoon, Microsoft Director Alexandros Papaspyridis and Charmaine Dean, vice president of University of Waterloo, will also participate in the summit.

In his welcoming speech, KAIST President Shin Sung-chul will express hopes for a global platform of partnership to devise innovative policies that are in line with the institute’s values -- challenge, creativity and caring -- to be established through the summit.

The official opening ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Chung Keun-Mo Hall on the fifth floor of the E9 building at KAIST’s main campus.