Ghent University Global Campus nurtures scientists with global mindset
2017-01-25 : 16:17
|Students majoring in molecular biotechnology at Ghent University Global Campus conduct an experiment in the school’s laboratory on its campus in Songdo, Incheon. / Courtesy of Ghent University Global Campus|
GUGC in Songdo focuses on biomedical programs
By Chung Hyun-chae
Ghent University Global Campus (GUGC) will make greater efforts to nurture biotechnologists who will lead the country’s future, said Dilruk De Silva, vice president of the school.
“GUGC is dedicated to teach and develop the next generation of scientists, engineers and industry professionals with a global mindset,” Silva said in a recent interview with The Korea Times at his office on the university’s campus in Songdo, Incheon.
With this aim, GUGC runs three major programs — molecular biotechnology, environmental technology and food technology — which differentiate it from other foreign schools on the Incheon Global Campus (IGC) in Songdo.
Ghent University, a public research university in Ghent, a city in eastern Belgium, set up its Korean campus, which they call an extended campus of instead of a branch, on IGC in 2013.
IGC hosts three other foreign universities — George Mason Korea, the University of Utah and the State University of New York (SUNY Korea) — and a research institute.
The vice president was sure that the biggest strength of GUGC lies in the three majors, citing a report “The World in 2025,” published by the European Union (EU).
“According to the report, some of the key issues and potential jobs lie in sectors in biotechnology, resources, and climate change,” Silva said.
“These topics are highly correlated to the majors that are offered at GUGC, and upon graduation, students will be equipped to tackle these future issues.”
He also noted that the university is located in the biological cluster in Songdo where many biotechnology companies have their headquarters and labs including Samsung BioLogics.
“We strongly believe GUGC caters to promising industries in Korea that need to nurture scientists in those fields,” he said.
The GUGC focuses on cultivating students’ specialties from the moment they step on campus in September.
“The students are, from the first semester, spending the majority of their class time not only learning theoretical backgrounds, but also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience through laboratory research and experiments,” Silva said.
Laboratories span seven floors in the university’s 10-story building while lecture rooms are only on the second floor.
“Our freshmen are also able to conduct experiments related to their majors in those labs,” said Stephen Yoo, senior manager of public relations at the GUGC.
“GUGC thrives to educate life scientists, engineers who can move the boundaries of knowledge and of engineering for the benefit of mankind,” Silva added.
Another noticeable feature is that all the three programs are taught in English.
“For those who want access to education provided by Ghent University in English, GUGC is the ultimate choice,” Yoo said.
|Ghent University Global Campus building / Courtesy of Ghent University Global Campus=|
For those considering whether to choose GUGC, the main concern might be “if the school can provide good quality education equivalent to the main campus in Belgium.”
Tamping down such anxiety, the main campus in Belgium appoints all faculty members at GUGC.
“Being an extended campus of Ghent University, Belgium, GUGC relishes the strong ties and support it receives from the main campus,” the vice president said.
Ghent University ranked 62nd in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as Shanghai Ranking, an annual publication of university ranking by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, for its academic and research excellence.
“The university aims to impart the same standards of teaching and academic excellence on its campus in Korea,” Silva said.
As the only European university nested on IGC, GUGC sends its students to Ghent University in Belgium for one semester during their senior year.
“At the main campus, they will have the opportunity to reinforce the knowledge they acquired in the first three years at GUGC and study in-depth with highly qualified professors,” Silva said.
Ghent University in Belgium has produced Nobel Prize laureates including Coreille Heymans and world food prize winner Prof. Marc Van Montagu.
“The semester transfer will enhance the overall student experience at the main campus in Belgium and they can acquire new skills and learn about European culture,” Silva said.
“They will have access to top notch research and educational facilities at the main campus. In their spare time, they can also enjoy European culture and the ambience in one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium.”
The Korea campus of Ghent University plans to open its graduate school as early as 2018.
Pending approval from the country's education ministry, the school is prepared to offer a master’s degree program in biotechnology.
The vice president called GUGC the main hub in Asia.
“The reason that we established our campus in Korea is that it is close to most key markets including China, Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong,” Silva said, vowing to attract more foreign students from those countries.
“Our university is developing research collaborations between Europe and Korea and acts as a research and education hub for industry leaders and institutions alike,” Silva said.
“We are currently having more ongoing negotiations with various universities outside Korea as well as partner networks in Asia,” he added.