Magazines, newspaper articles and documentaries emphasizing the urgent need to protect our planet from severe pollution are everywhere. However, the importance of saving the environment is still a distant subject to many. College IP Imagination Ocean, a contest organized by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the 1st Green College, a program provided by Green Growth Korea (GGK) aim to give the opportunities for university students to make a contribution in making a green planet.
College IP Imagination Ocean
College IP Imagination Ocean is a contest for university students that provide an opportunity to apply for a patent by submitting one’s graduation thesis. KIPO devised the program after recognizing that students in science majors, who often make great achievements in research, cannot easily obtain a patent for their ideas. Those who are awarded the prize, both the student and the university that the student is graduating from will receive the intellectual property right for the proposed ideas. Undergraduates and graduates, as well as post doctorate students can apply for the contest.
“Although university students write graduation theses with great ideas or productions, they fail to receive proper support and benefits compared to their professors. We wanted to support students to get the appropriate reward for their work,” said Seo Seong-hyun, the supervisor of the contest.
The contest also aims to change the notion of a graduation thesis. Graduation theses for university undergraduate students are considered as a mere requirement for graduation. However, they are now revaluated and given greater weight by being an opportunity to hold a patent.
“I issued a patent out of my graduation production before this contest existed,” said a Yonsei University graduate who wished to be anonymous. “I put a lot of time and effort into my production and I majored in Human Environment and Design, so I automatically thought of patenting the work.”
As its first theme for the contest, KIPO chose “Green Patent,” which includes green power generation, green transportation, green display and lighting, and green city. Nevertheless, theses focusing on other areas are also recommended to apply for patents.
Students can either apply alone or by team under the supervision of a professor. All theses are due on November 22 and nominated theses are to be awarded on December 22, after going through two examinations.
“I welcome the contest. I hope that it will reduce the process of getting a patent out of a graduation thesis or production,” said the anonymous graduate.
The 1st Green College
The Green College program, sponsored by the GGK, focuses on selecting university students with potential to become future leaders in environmental issues. It also focuses on giving them the opportunity to get together, discuss the future and actually practice green development.
“The GGK came up with this idea to connect students with actual government policies and green growth,” said Lee Ho-joong, an expert commissioner of the GGK. “We wanted to give students the chance to take part in a policy making process in regard to green growth and narrow the gap between them and the government.”
Eighty five selected students participated in the Green College Camp on November 7 and 8, where they attended lectures given by experts on green development such as Professor Kim Hyeon-jin (Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies). Not only lectures on green development, but also lectures on leadership, how to be persuasive and give excellent presentations were given by experts.
“I am very interested in issues concerning the environment and climate change,” said Kim Na-yeong (Sogang University, 3). “I applied to this program because I am thinking about studying environmental law.”
The lectures will be useful for students as they carry out their four-week project in teams of two to five. In the project, students are required to come up with realistic ideas to promote green development in the area where they live and even practice some of the policies that they have suggested.