Two Ewha research centers ranked among the highest in the country in a recent appraisal by the National Research Foundation. Two others were rated as inadequate and were cut from the government-financed Brain Korea 21 project. The appraisal, released on Sept. 3, named the top 68 research centers in the country, as well as 36 that would be dropped from the BK 21 project. BK 21 sponsors a total of 564 research centers working in 44 categories.
The Ewha projects that excelled came from the Department of English and the College of Engineering, respectively.
In the English Department, the project called A New Model for English Studies in Korea: Scholarship, Cultural Translation and Professional English for the Global Context ranked highest in the foreign language category.
The College of Engineering project called Customized Bio-food Assessment ranked highest for the second year in a row in the agriculture, fishery and oceans category.
Meanwhile, the projects called Environmental Management System of Surface Water and U-commerce Software Female Human Resource Development, both in the engineering category, were cut from the BK 21 program.Both research centers protested their elimination to the National Research Foundation on Aug. 31. They were both denied.
Their elimination notices first arrived on Aug. 22.
“Graduate students participating in the eliminated research centers are facing problems,” said Shin Hyo-suk, the director in charge of the Ewha BK 21 programs. “Professors can do other research, but those students are losing their financial support.”
Ewha has 14 BK 21 research centers. The National Research Foundation, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, conducts annual assessments to check each research group’s accomplishments.
The BK 21 program started in 1999 to nurture high quality graduate schools and human resources. Since 2006, BK 21 has given financial support totaling 2 trillion won to 564 research centers from 74 different universities.
36 research centers were eliminated from the program this year based on their performance, compared to six last year. The bottom 120 research centers will receive less money this year.