Notice on 2022 Online Korean Language Courses (King Sejong Institute)

The “Office of Innovative Program for Graduate School Development” has signed an agreement with King Sejong Institute Foundation in order to assist with POSTECH international members’ Korean language learning.


As a result, Online King Sejong Institute Korean Language Courses (Collaborative e-Class) with exclusive access to POSTECH members have opened. Those who enroll can gain access to all materials after signing up and logging in. Sign-up instructions are outlined in the attached file, ‘User Guide About Collaboration King Sejong Institute.’


We hope that these courses can benefit many of our members.


* Members must use their POSTECH e-mail accounts to sign up

■ Eligibility: Any POSTECH member wishing to learn Korean (beginner to intermediate levels)

■ Service Period: June 13, 2022 ~ February 28, 2023

■ Tuition Fee: Free


■  What is Online King Sejong Institute?

1. Concept: An online learning service through which users can access Korean learning materials on PC and mobile devices.

2. Course Introduction: Users will take a level test before learning begins in order to assess the most appropriate course for their respective Korean level (Refer to the attached file, ‘How to Use Online Level Test’).



Course of Study


Sejong Korean Introduction

Beginner 1

Cyber Korean Beginner 1

Sejong Korean Conversation 1

Beginner 2

Cyber Korean Beginner 2

Sejong Korean Conversation 1


Cyber Korean Intermediate 1

Sejong Korean Conversation 3

Cyber Korean Intermediate 2

Sejong Korean Conversation 4

K-WAVE Korean

Let’s learn Korean through K-dramas

Let’s learn Korean through K-pop

3. Course Materials: You can find the course materials on the web page you applied. (Scroll down and find the attached zip file under “Attachment”)


4. Supported Languages: 9 languages including Korean, English, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish (supported languages may vary for each course).


5. Completion Criteria: 70% or higher completion percentage for each course is required for users to be certified for completion.


6. Certification: Learners can be issued with a certificate upon course completion (self-issuance is available through Online Sejong Institute).

※ Please refer to the Online Sejong Institute website for more information:

POSTECH Opens the School of Convergence Science and Technology

POSTECH’s School of Convergence Science and Technology (SCST) will officially open with its first major in social data science in February 2021 following its establishment in October 2020. It is POSTECH’s latest undertaking to pursue various solutions to the common challenges facing humanity through convergence research, and to raise creative convergence talents with expertise. The major is set to open with two tracks – POSCO and SK Hynix. We speak with Kun-Hong Lee, the Dean of School of Convergence Science and Technology, to get the details.


What is the School of Convergence Science and Technology and what kind of research and education will it provide?


The School of Convergence Science and Technology was established to provide and conduct the world’s best convergence education and research based on a wide range of academic knowledge to foster creative convergence talent with practical expertise and to create new industries by securing key technologies based on convergence technology.
We are starting off with the social data science major that combines humanities and sciences. The goal of this major is to raise leaders who can solve social issues through systematic education based on data science. Under this major, POSCO and SK Hynix have opened their tracks and we are discussing opening more tracks with additional companies. We also plan to offer majors with the AI + X concept, which is the research of a field combined with AI such as AI + medicine, AI + finance, and AI + other industries.


This is POSTECH’s first attempt at convergence education which combines the liberal arts with the sciences. It must be a significant move for POSTECH.


In today’s world, the traditional boundaries of a nation – such as politics, culture, technology, economy, and national security – are disappearing. In particular, humanity now faces major transformations that they have never experienced before, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, AI development, and the imminent space-age.
It is an era where it is impossible to explain one field of study without mentioning other fields, and only a fraction of the whole can be fully understood and not the whole. It is an era that demands convergence. Convergence is simply the creation of a new field that combines and applies each separate field of science, technology, and humanities – and it is also the process of such endeavors.
POSTECH’s founding tenet bids us to contribute to the nation and humanity by conducting in-depth science and engineering research on the profound theories and wide range of applications essential to the advancement of Korea and the world, and training a select pool of talented students to become future global leaders through high-quality education. I think convergence education is the very key to realize POSTECH’s founding tenet to lead the change that mankind will experience today and into the future.


POSTECH is an institution with expertise in science and engineering – also a latecomer the scene. Isn’t that a disadvantage?


For the past 20 to 30 years, higher education has collectively focused on raising experts. This trend has led to a specialized society centered around experts, but it has revealed its limits. These experts are oblivious to fields outside their specialty – They struggle to make comprehensive decisions or judgments. This is why many are jumping on the convergence education wagon. However, there is no set path in convergence.
Getting a head start does not necessarily guarantee getting ahead just as starting late does not lead to falling behind. It means that POSTECH has accumulated ample data to seek new paths and decipher a better direction. We can forego that much trial and error.
POSTECH has meticulously prepared for this expansion through accumulating much knowledge under each major over the years. POSTECH is an open forum where 300 of the greatest experts have gathered. Every expert in the forum will discuss, communicate, share knowledge, and find the creative ways to move towards the right direction. Convergence is the common language that makes this possible. It is about acknowledging one’s expertise and adding a new field to it to create one anew. Isn’t POSTECH already demonstrating this capability by knocking down walls through the Mueunjae School of Undergraduate Studies and the School of Convergence Science and Technology?


How will the SCST be operated?


SCST presents a new paradigm in the field of future leading studies crossing the scholastic and industrial boundaries. For this, the school will take on the role of an incubator for development and activation of convergence education and research programs inside POSTECH. We will fully support these efforts by rearranging organizational structures, developing operating programs, appropriately allocating spaces and funds to stimulate convergence education and research.
For instance, at SCST, professors from different departments are free to gather to make new programs within the school at any time. This is an open approach to eliminate barriers between individual departments. We also plan to operate each program flexibly depending on the success of the programs. In addition, we plan to secure a convergence space at the university-level by rearranging spaces in new or existing buildings.

The World’s Only Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology Reborn as a Global Education and Research Hub


POSTECH Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology, the world’s only graduate school specializing in steel, has expanded and reorganized into the Graduate Institute of Ferrous & Energy materials Technology by adding the discipline of energy materials. Accordingly, the Graduate Institute of Ferrous & Energy materials Technology will conduct convergence education and research in high-tech metal and energy materials.


In addition, as the fields of study expand, the school plans to recruit five tenure-track faculty members in the energy materials field (in positive and negative electrodes materials development, next-generation batteries development, and process improvement), while increasing enrollment by 15 (10 master’s and 5 Ph. D.) students. Freshmen majoring in energy materials will be admitted in the first semester of 2021 and the application process will take place in December. It is anticipated that they will become professionals in the secondary battery materials and will enter companies related to the field.


The curriculum will also change substantially. In steel-oriented curriculum, it will provide opportunities for convergence study, including secondary battery operation, design of anode materials, and other courses on energy materials.


POSTECH’s Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology, established in 1996, has so far carried out the highest level of education and research in the field of steel and structural materials in Korea as well as in the world under a close industry-academia cooperation system with POSCO. However, in light of the increased significance of research on material components due to the rapid rise of environmental problems and the development of the energy industry, the school decided to incorporate energy materials for sustainable growth.


Sung-Joon Kim, the dean of POSTECH Graduate Institute of Ferrous & Energy materials Technology remarked, “Innovation that changes future materials will start from convergence between high-tech materials and the school has adopted the first mover strategy as its future blueprint to create new high-tech material areas through convergence.” He added, “We will lead the industrial ecosystem through convergence research and education between steel, advanced metal materials, and energy materials.”

POSTECH and Samsung Display to Cultivate Future Vietnamese Leaders Together



POSTECH, Samsung Display and three Vietnamese universities held a joint MOU signing ceremony at the Samsung Display Giheung Campus to cultivate future leaders of Vietnam together.


With this MOU, Samsung Display will select outstanding students in science and engineering from the three universities to provide opportunities to gain professional knowledge and conduct cutting-edge research in cooperation with POSTECH. Through this process, they plan to cultivate future leaders who are also familiar with Korean culture. The program will be operated from September 2020 to August 2024, and graduates of the program will have the opportunity to work at Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV).


The collaboration, based on POSTECH’s prominent education system and research outcomes in the field of display materials, is expected to contribute to promoting the exchange between Korea and Vietnam through a close academia-industry cooperation.


The online live ceremony was attended by POSTECH President Moo Hwan Kim and Samsung Display President & CEO Dong-Hoon Lee from Korea, VNU-UET Vice Rector Chu Duc Thrinh, HUST Vice President Huynh Quyet Than and GUST Rector Vu Dinh Lam in Vietnam.

A New Species of Darkling Beetle Larvae That Degrade Plastic

[POSTECH Professor Hyung Joon Cha’s research team confirms biodegradation of polystyrene using darkling beetle larvae found in Korea.]


There floats an enormous plastic garbage island in the North Pacific that is seven times the size of the Korean Peninsula. The island, called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is the result of 13 million tons of plastic that flow into the ocean annually from the 20,000 units of plastic consumed per second around the world. Plastic takes decades to hundreds of years to decompose naturally with plastic bags taking 10 to 20 years, nylon products or disposable straws 30 to 40 years, and plastic water bottles – commonly used once then thrown away –500 years to decompose. This problem of plastic, which has been labeled a human disaster, has been recently proven to be decomposable by beetles common in Korea.


A joint research team consisting of Professor Hyung Joon Cha and a doctoral student Seongwook Woo of the Department of Chemical Engineering at POSTECH with Professor Intek Song of Andong National University has uncovered for the first time that the larvae of the beetle in the order Coleoptera (Plesiophthophthalmus davidis) can decompose polystyrene, a material that is tricky to decompose.


By 2017, 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste were produced across the globe, of which less than 9 percent were recycled. Polystyrene, which accounts for about 6% of total plastic production, is known to be difficult to decompose due to its unique molecular structure.


The research team found that the larvae of a darkling beetle indigenous to East Asia including the Korean peninsula can consume polystyrene and reduce both its mass and molecular weight. The team also confirmed that the isolated gut flora could oxidize and change the surface property of the polystyrene film.


Meanwhile, the research team isolated and identified*1 Serratia*2 from the intestinal tract of P. davidis larvae. When polystyrene was fed to the larvae for two weeks, the proportion of Serratia in the gut flora increased by six fold, accounting for 33 percent of the overall gut flora. Moreover, it was found that the gut flora of this larvae consisted of a very simple group of bacterial species (less than six) unlike the gut flora of other conventional polystyrene-degrading insects.


The unique diet of the darkling beetle larvae that was uncovered in this study presents the possibility that polystyrene can be broken down by other insects that feed on rotten wood. In addition, the development of an effective polystyrene-decomposing flora using the bacterial strains found in the simple gut flora of P. davidis is highly anticipated.


The study is also noteworthy in that the paper’s first author, Seongwook Woo, who has been interested in insects since childhood and wished to make the world a better place through them, sought out Professor Cha as soon as he entered POSTECH and focused on research under his supervision over the years.


As the corresponding author of the paper, Professor Cha commented, “We have discovered a new insect species that lives in East Asia – including Korea – that can biodegrade plastic through the gut flora of its larvae.” He concluded, “If we use the plastic-degrading bacterial strain isolated in this study and replicate the simple gut floral composition of P. davidis, there is the chance that we could completely biodegrade polystyrene, which has been difficult to completely decompose, to ultimately contribute to solving the plastic waste problem that we face.”


These research findings were recently published in the online edition of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a long-standing authoritative journal in applied and environmental microbiology.


1. Identification
To determine whether a substance is the same as any other substance through chemical analysis or others; or the task of determining the affiliation and name of the substance.

2. Serratia
The genus of Gram-negative bacteria 1 – 5 micrometers in size

POSTECH Solves the Durability Issue of Hydrogen Cars

[Professor Yong-Tae Kim’s research team improves the durability of

automotive fuel cells through selective electro-catalysis.]



When a bicycle gets wet in the rain, the frame and chain become corroded or rusty which shorten the life of the bike. Oil needs to be regularly applied to prevent this from happening. Battery cells are devices that create electrical energy through moving electrons by triggering oxidation and reduction reactions separately. But they also corrode when exposed to oxygen. Can these cells also be greased to prevent rusting?


A research team led by Professor Yong-Tae Kim and doctoral student Sang Moon Jung of Materials Science and Engineering at POSTECH used a catalyst (Pt/HxWO3) that combines platinum and hydrogen tungsten bronze to solve the corrosion in fuel cells that occur when hydrogen cars are shut down. The catalyst, recently introduced in Nature Catalysis – a sister journal of Nature – has been shown to promote hydrogen oxidation and selectively suppress oxygen reduction reactions (ORR).


As eco-friendly hydrogen cars become more common, the race for research and development for improving fuel cell performance – the heart of hydrogen cars – is getting fierce around the world. The performance of automotive fuel cells are severely low owing to their intermittent shut-downs compared to power-generating fuel cells that do not stop once started. This is because when ignition is turned off, the ORR occurs as air is temporarily introduced into the anode, and corrosion of the cathodic components accelerates as the potential of cathod surges instantaneously.


The research team focused on the Metal Insulator Transition (MIT) phenomenon, which can selectively change the conductivity of materials depending on the surrounding environment, to solve the problem of durability degradation in automotive fuel cells.


In particular, the research team focused on the tungsten oxide (WO3) that has traditionally been used as an electrical discoloration material since it greatly changes conductivity via the insertion and reduction of protons. Applying the MIT phenomenon of WO3 in normal operation results in an electrode reaction while maintaining the H-WO3 (conductor) state with the insertion of a proton. In contrast, when ignition is shut-down, mixed air is drawn in which increases the oxygen pressure and changes it into WO3 (subconductor) which stops the electrode reaction, thus solving the issue of cathodic corrosion.


The Pt/HxWO3 selective hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) catalysts imparted by the metal-insulator transition phenomenon showed more than twice the durability of conventional commercial Pt/C catalyst materials in shut-down conditions in the MEA evaluation of automotive fuel cells.


Professor Yong-Tae Kim who led the research commented, “This research has dramatically improved the durability of automotive fuel cells.” He added, “It is anticipated that the commercialization of hydrogen cars may be further facilitated through these findings.”


This research was conducted with the support from the Future Materials Discovery Project and the hydrogen energy innovation technology development program of the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Smart Windows that Self-Illuminate on Rainy Days

– A joint research team from POSTECH and KAIST develops self-powering, color-changing humidity sensors
– Applicable to various fields including smart windows, health care and safety management


Smart windows that automatically change colors depending on the intensity of sunlight are gaining attention as they can reduce energy bills