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Korea-Denmark sustainable tech contest held

May 24,2019
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Crown Prince of Denmark Frederik, third from front left, awards the winning team of Danish and Korean students in the “KAIST-DTU Innovation Sprint” contest - a three-day challenge for the students of KAIST and the Technical University of Denmark to propose innovative and sustainable solutions to Korean and Danish businesses - at KAIST’s Seoul campus in eastern Seoul on Wednesday, the last day of the royal visit to Korea. [YONHAP]
KAIST and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) students pitched sustainable business solutions for Danish and Korean companies in a three-day contest to commemorate the Danish royal visit to Korea.

“We introduce to you zero dust, which looks beyond the basic functions of a window,” said Kim Hong-jin, a graduate of KAIST’s masters program in green growth, in addressing the audience at the university’s Seoul campus in eastern Seoul on Wednesday during his three-minute pitch. “Inspired by the futuristic technology at NASA, we applied the same idea using electromagnetic waves to expel fine dust approaching the window.”

“We are a team of Korean and Danish students with engineering and business backgrounds,” said Nikolai Thorball, an exchange student at DTU studying at Seoul National University. “We would like to propose an idea to make paint more sustainable through cooperation with Hempel.”

Executives, managers and engineers of Danish companies Velux and Hempel, as well as Korea’s SK E&S, challenged some 40 students to suggest innovative solutions for Hempel to promote sustainability in paint, for Velux to design windows that provide both air ventilation and purification, and for SK E&S to become a global leader in clean energy solutions.

The contest - “KAIST-DTU Innovation Sprint” - was organized by KAIST, DTU, the Embassy of Denmark, Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Innovation Centre Denmark.

The students formed nine groups, developed ideas that are both innovative and feasible for the businesses, and pitched these ideas to the companies from Monday to Wednesday. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark presided during the final round.

“Universities are facilitators of education, research and innovation, [areas that are] key drivers in the strengthening of close relations between Denmark and Korea,” said Crown Prince Frederik in addressing the students at KAIST. “I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation of universities KAIST and DTU. The unique partnership that you have is an important ingredient for the close relations between the two countries.”

DTU and KAIST’s cooperation dates back to 2008, with a focus on collaboration on sustainable solutions and green technology. The partnership was strengthened when DTU joined Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in visiting Korea in 2016 and signed additional agreements with KAIST to launch a joint strategic research project and to collaborate on training students in relation to the development of start-ups.

Students can also pursue dual degrees from both KAIST and DTU in mathematical modeling and computation, computer science and engineering, and data interaction and mechanical engineering.

Relations between the royal couple of Denmark and KAIST go back further.

“Korea holds a special place in my heart as so many Danes have lived here, including my own family,” said Crown Prince Frederik. “My father-in-law used to be a professor at KAIST.”

“Prof. John Dalgleish Donaldson [father of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark] taught at KAIST in 2003 as a visiting professor,” said Shin Sung-chul, president of KAIST.

CirCos, a team of two Danish students and four Korean students, took first place. It proposed Hempel redesign the paint cans to contain a steel-laminated bag inside the can to make it easier and more environmentally sustainable to recycle the packaging.

“The teams were evaluated upon their ability to pitch and communicate complex solutions, and how bullet-proof these solutions were,” said Marianne Thellersen, DTU’s senior vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]