KAIST President Lee Kwang-hyung, left, holds an agreement with Mass General President David Brown, right, in a Boston Hotel on April 29. At the center is South Korea’s Minister of SMEs and Startups Lee Young. Photo courtesy of Ministry of SMEs and Startups

Korean engineering university will work tougher with U.S. biotech giants

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on April 29 that it had joined hands with Harvard University and Moderna for medical research and joint works.

KAIST, South Korea’s top science and engineering university, inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Massachusetts General Hospital.

The latter is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system. Mass General is the first and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

It has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative hospitals _ up until now, more than 10 graduates of the outfit have won the Nobel Prize.

Under the agreement, KAIST vies to explore cooperation with an innovative ecosystem created through the convergence of medicine and engineering.

KAIST’s particular plan is to develop a Korean-style training program and establish a differentiated education program, including a curriculum on artificial intelligence.

The university also strives to foster innovative physician-scientists through programs for the exchange of academic and human resources with Mass General.

“The collaboration with KAIST has a wide range of potentials, including advice on training of physician-scientists, academic and human resource exchanges, and vitalization of joint research by faculty from both institutions,” Mass General President David Brown said.

“Through this agreement, we will be able to actively contribute to global cooperation and achieve mutual goals.”

KAIST-Moderna collaboration

KAIST also signed a separate MOU with Boston-based biotechnology company Moderna, which has successfully developed messenger RNA vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

The two organizations are scheduled to work together in such areas as the development of new drugs, research of virus/mRNA, and commercialization of new technologies.

“We are grateful to have laid a foundation for collaboration to foster industry experts with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, a leader of science and technology innovation in Korea,” Moderna Chief Commercial Officer Arpa Garay said.

“Based on our leadership and expertise in developing innovative mRNA vaccines and therapeutics, we hope to contribute to educating and collaborating with professionals in the bio-health field of Korea.“

KAIST President Lee Kwang-hyung expressed great hopes for collaboration with the two outfits.

“On the basis of the collaboration with the two institutions, we will be able to bring up qualified physician-scientists and global leaders of the biomedical business who will solve problems of human health, and their progress will, in turn, accelerate the national R&D efforts in general and diversify the industry,” he said.