Drexel Delegation Off to China, Korea

Global engagement is the intellectual lifeblood of any comprehensive research university. Drexel maintains its thriving international partnerships – to date, more than 100 – with frequent communication and collaboration and, most importantly, stopping by to say hello.

A Drexel delegation led by President Fry leaves this week for a seven-day trip to China and Korea. The group includes University leaders and faculty from the Close School, Westphal College, the College of Engineering, the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, and the Kline School of Law.

The packed itinerary includes stops at academic partners in China and a celebration of a unique new research and co-op partnership in Korea.

“Communications technology has significantly enhanced global collaboration, but true partnership is still rooted in personal connections,” said President Fry. “So I’m thrilled for each opportunity to meet our international colleagues. This trip stands out because it builds on longstanding friendships and fruitful cooperation— with one of our earliest comprehensive global partners, Shanghai Jiao Tong, and with ShanghaiTech President Jiang Mianheng — as well as an exciting new partnership with the NanoFab Center at KAIST.”

The group arrives Nov. 1 in Shanghai and stops the next day at Shanghai Tech University, whose president, Mianheng, is a Drexel alumnus.

“We are building collaboration across disciplines with newly established Shanghai Tech,” said delegation member Julie Mostov, PhD, vice provost for global initiatives. “It’s such an exciting and innovative place that shares Drexel University’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

The group will also visit the adjacent Drexel-SARI Center, a joint research center operated by Drexel and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The next day, the group travels to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which enjoys a “very strong research partnership” with Drexel, according to Mostov.

“We have collaborations with Shanghai Jiao Tong in student and faculty exchange, research and global classrooms,” said Mostov, referring to the three prongs of Drexel’s international partnership model. “We also have a dual PhD program with them in biomedical engineering, which is really becoming a trend globally."

Next, on Nov. 4, the group will travel to Seoul, South Korea, which will be President Fry’s first time in the country. There, the delegates will celebrate the launch of a new research collaboration with the National NanoFab Center (NNFC) at the Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST).

Many of the country’s leading electronics manufacturers such as Samsung and Hyundai come to KAIST’s labs to refine their designs. Beginning this spring, students from Drexel can travel to the NanoFab Center for three- to six-month co-ops. The international partnership, dubbed FIRST Nano2 Co-op Center, is funded by a $900,000 renewable, annual grant from Korea’s National Research Foundation, the nation’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation.

In turn, students from KAIST will come to Philadelphia to co-op with researchers from the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, the Drexel Biological Actuation Sensing & Transport Laboratory and other research groups in Drexel’s College of Engineering. 

Next on the itinerary is a Nov. 5 stop in Seoul for visits with leadership, faculty and students at Seoul National University and Hanyang University. The trip wraps up on Nov. 6 with a closing reception for Drexel alumni, family and friends.

“Trips like these are so important,” said Mostov. “You can’t have a partnership model if you don’t nurture the cooperation. You have to show your partners that you’re serious, that you’re putting capital into it, human capital and resources. You have to show them who we are. It gives meaning to our relationship, it iterates what our strengths are, and it helps us make an impact globally, which is who we are as a university.”