The ‘2023 U-Challenge Festival,’ which showcased the research outcomes of science and engineering students contributing to innovation-led growth in the Ulsan region, took place at UNIST on November 14, 2023.
The festival, now in its third year, aims to showcase the achievements of student research clubs, such as the B.T.S. (Brain to Society) Industry-Friendly Research Project (IFRP) Team. This year’s event transformed into a local science festival, featuring various activities involving high school students in Ulsan and students from HyeJinWon, a local welfare facility for individuals with disabilities.
The festival also showcased the research achievements of UNIST’s student research club cultivation projects, including the AI Challenger Program (AICP) and the Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Project (UIRP). These projects were displayed as a result of supporting students to voluntarily explore research topics in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and multidisciplinary studies over the past year. A total of 55 groups and 211 students participated in these projects.
During the festival, awards were given to outstanding project teams. The grand prize was awarded to Team ABLY from UNIST and Team COTN from the University of Ulsan. Team ABLY developed a resource conversion technology that utilizes microorganisms to convert semiconductor wastewater components into natural gas. Meanwhile, Team COTN achieved success with a technology that recovers and recycles raw materials from washed water of cathode materials for secondary batteries.
In addition to the Grand Prize, awards were also presented to five teams for Gold Prizes, eight teams for Silver Prizes, and 13 teams for Bronze Prizes. The top 15 teams will have the opportunity to participate in the ‘X-CORPS+ Festival’ at the Daejeon Convention Center on November 28, 2023.
“The research club experiences will serve as crucial stepping stones for students to cultivate their potential as future leaders in the fields of science and technology,” stated President Lee. “Our commitment lies in establishing a conducive environment that enables students to effectively identify and address challenges, acquire practical knowledge, and consistently push the boundaries of their capabilities.”
Around 460 students from 17 high schools in Ulsan were invited to the festival to witness the practical applications of engineering and science in solving real-world problems in industrial settings. The students had the opportunity to observe performance exhibitions and participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, such as building self-driving cars.
Outside the festival venue, various side events were also held, including student club performances, mini-sports competitions, and U-Challenge street karaoke. The students from HyeJinWon also had an opportunity to experience a vibrant campus life and enjoyed the performances, alongside the volunteers. Certificates were awarded to 52 students of HyeJinWon.
The festival was sponsored by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea. It was co-hosted and organized by UNIST, the University of Ulsan, and the Ulsan Industry University Convergence Institute. The event was attended by UNIST President Yong Hoon Lee of UNIST, President Yeon-Cheon Oh from the University of Ulsan, Director Chae Kwon Lee from the Future Strategy Headquarters at Ulsan Metropolitan City, UNIST Vice President Jaiyong Lee, Dean Sung Youb Kim for the College of Engineering at UNIST, Director Jung Hyun Hur from the University of Ulsan, and other distinguished guests.