Prestigious members of the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) were invited to attend a formal ribboncutting ceremony on April 27, 2015 at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) to celebrate the completion of their Low Dimensional Carbon Materials Building. This important occasion was also an opportunity to formally introduce the three, specialized IBS research centers (Centers)hosted bythe university.
Before the ribboncutting, UNIST President MuJe Cho welcomed visitors to the ceremony, followed by congratulatory speechesmade by VIP guests, including the IBS President Doochul Kim and the Ulsan Mayor Gi-hyeon Kim.
To date, IBS has successfully launched 24 Centers of various types, each headed by internationally respected scientists;those located at UNIST or at other national science and technology universities are known as IBS campus research centers (Campus Centers).
In his congratulatory speech, the IBS President Doochul Kim, thanked UNIST for hosting the three directors from abroad, which has greatly assisted IBS’ mission of becoming a global research institute.“I hope this newbuilding willbe a venue for groundbreaking research and creative knowledge, and that these three IBS Centers will grow into a global research hub,” said President Kim.
Campus Centers specialize in unique research fields to increase the nation’s scientific knowledge base, which willnot only help build a creative economy for Korea’s future, but ultimately promote the welfare of mankind. IBS’ strategy to achieve these goal is to recruit the best possible scientists worldwide, based purely on their scientific excellence.
IBS has selected just such scientists to head the three Campus Centers currently hosted by UNIST: Dr. Steve Granick, Director of the Center for Soft and Living Matter; Dr. Rodney S. Ruoff, Director of the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials; and Dr. Kyungjae Myung, Director of the Center for Genomic Integrity.
The three directors made brief, formal introductions about their research centers and after the ceremony, shared some of their personal thoughts about the significance of the event.
“It’s so impressive that Korea invests in its future in such a creative way,” said Dr. Steve Granick. “Korea is investing in its importance years from now, so wisely, as other countries do not do.”Dr. Steve Granick, winner of prestigious awards such as the Polymer Physics prize of the American Physical Society (2009) and the Colloid and Surface Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society (2013), is the founder of the IBS Center for Soft and Living Matter.
Part of IBS’ vision is fostering young scientists; Dr. Granick promotes this idea by calling himself a“coach”. “My goal is to achieve science, scientific results and even more importantly to train the next generation of scientists. We want to bring out the creativity of the Korean people, which sometimes in the hierarchical system of old Korea, is too hard to express”.
Dr. Rodney S. Ruoff, winner of the 2014 David Turnbull Lectureship Award, is the founderof the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials, which aims to lead next generation research on carbon. The Center is located in the new Low Dimensional Carbon Materials Building and Dr. Ruoff hopes to make it an “engine of creation” of new materials that will have remarkable properties. Dr. Ruoff was excited about the recent collaborative developments that were celebrated at the ceremony. “It shows that the city, or country of Korea and the IBS Centers are beginning to unite in a very nice way for fostering fundamental research in Korea,”said Dr. Ruoff.
Dr. Kyungjae Myung is an internationally renowned scientist and is the most recent of the distinguished professor to be selected to direct a Campus Center at UNIST. As head of the Center for Genomic Integrity, Dr. Myung has been focusing on genome stability and chemotherapeutic application. Moreover, his studies on DNA repair pathways are expected to make great headway in cancer research.
When asked about the significance of this event, Dr. Myung noted the support demonstrated by both UNIST and Ulsan City. “I believe this is the first time ever, IBS, the campus-based IBS, has an opening ceremony, supported by the city and also the university. This is very important and exciting for all of us,” said Dr. Myung. He emphasized that support from both parties is vital to the success of a CampusCenter: “If they don’t support you, what can you do?”
World-leading scientist in synthetic polymer chemistry, Dr. Christopher W. Bielawski, described the ceremony as “a great day, not just for the university, but for Ulsan itself”. Dr. Bielawski is also located in the new Low Dimensional Carbon Materials Building, the completion of which signifies a big step for UNIST, the City of Ulsan and IBS, towards creating an international platform to promote basic science research in Korea.