2022 – ASPIRE Forum

Dates: July 4–7, 2022
Host University: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Theme: Post Pandemic: Technologies for Sustainable Living

July 4–7 Student Workshop
July 5 14:00–17:00 KST ASPIRE Symposium
July 6 14:00–16:30 KST Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting
July 7 14:00–16:00 KST Student Presentations

ASPIRE Forum 2022 Report

The ASPIRE Forum 2022, with the theme “Post Pandemic: Technologies for Sustainable Living”, was hosted online by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from July 4 to 7. Vice presidents, senior staff, faculty members, and students from member universities attended the annual gathering, which featured a Student Workshop, a Symposium, and the Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting.

Student Workshop, Part 1

Student Workshop participants

Student Workshop participants

ASPIRE Forum 2022 started on July 4 with the Student Workshop, which was held for four days and comprised an orientation, lectures, group work sessions, and student presentations on July 7. Thirteen students from five-member universities participated and were divided into four teams. Student groups were divided based on the two topics given by KAIST faculty members:

  1. A) Propose a new concept of a smart factory with clean energy
  2. B) System Design for Connected Care

To set the stage for the group work, two KAIST faculty members gave lectures related to these topics. Professor Hyun-Jung Kim from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering spoke on Smart Manufacturing with Clean Energy. Professor Lisa Lim from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering introduced the concept of System Design for Connected Care.

Students developed their team’s proposal using the knowledge acquired from their research backgrounds and information obtained through the lectures and the Symposium.

KAIST Professor Yoonjin Yoon of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering served as the Student Workshop Committee chair, overseeing the organization of the student workshop. She gave a brief outline on the workshop. Professor Hyun-Jung Kim and Professor Lisa Lim gave advice and opinions on the student teams’ proposals and presentations.


Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the ASPIRE Symposium was held online. All students, faculty, and staff members of the ASPIRE League member universities were invited. Held on the afternoon of July 5, the event was moderated by Professor Scott Gabriel Knowles (Assistant Vice President of International Office, KAIST) and featured the following lectures by five faculty members, each representing one of the member universities:

  1. Digital Transformation on Employment in Developing Countries, Professor Zhu Xufeng (Tsinghua University)
  2. ● Care and Rita (the Japanese word for altruism), Professor Asa Ito (Tokyo Tech)
  3. Decentralised Testing in the Post-Pandemic World with Point-of-Care Diagnostic Technologies, Professor Tan Meng How (NTU Singapore)
  4. Personalized Air Exposure Management for Health Improvement and Energy Saving in Dense Urban Environments, Professor Jimmy Fung (HKUST)
  5. Driving the Circular Economy with Sustainable Materials, Professor Jaewook Myung (KAIST)

Including the student workshop participants, a total of 62 members of the ASPIRE League community attended.

Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting

The ASPIRE League Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting (VPSSM) was convened on July 6 in the afternoon by Professor Man-Sung Yim, the 2022–2023 Chairperson of the ASPIRE League and Associate Vice President of the KAIST International Office.

Prof. Yim thanked the vice president, senior staff, and their universities for supporting the league’s activities. Mr. Toku Hirasawa of the ASPIRE League Secretariat then provided a report on the league’s activities conducted since the 2021 VPSSM. Each vice president then delivered a presentation on their respective university’s activities for international collaboration in a “post-pandemic” world.

After that, attendees turned their attention to the discussion topics on the agenda. Prof. Yim suggested ASPIRE Forum 2023 take place from July 3 to July 7, dates which would be tentative. Tokyo Tech proposed hosting the ASPIRE Undergraduate Engineering Design Challenge (UEDC) again in 2023.

Turning to the ASPIRE League Partnership Seed Fund, HKUST gave an overview of collaborative research project implementation in the first (2019), the second (2020) and the third (2021) rounds, and reported that a total of 10 applications had been received for the fourth (2022) round. Proposals were discussed, and 4 new collaborative research projects were selected to receive seed funding.

Vice Presidents at the VPSSM

Vice Presidents at the VPSSM

Student Workshop, Part 2

On the last day of ASPIRE Forum 2022, participants in the student workshop presented the results of their group work in the form of ideas for new concepts and services.

The vice presidents, acting as reviewers, and senior staff members attended their group presentations in accordance with ASPIRE League tradition.

Following evaluations of the presentations, all student teams were awarded and the vice presidents gave the Grand Prize (Best Presentation) Award to the AI-Care team in recognition of their proposed predictive, preventive, and affordable care service for kids.


Grand Prize (Best Presentation) Award winners: AI-Care team


Held in an online format, ASPIRE Forum 2022—the flagship event of the ASPIRE League—again put vice presidents, faculty members, senior staff, and students of the consortium’s member universities together. Under the theme of “Post Pandemic: Technologies for Sustainable Living”, participants in the Student Workshop were able to collaborate and enrich their knowledge with peers from various research fields. It was an opportunity for stakeholders from all member universities to hear about and interact with the five featured researchers at the ASPIRE Symposium held online. Lastly, in the Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting, member universities discussed best practices for international collaboration despite continued restrictions on international mobility, and supported collaborative research through the ASPIRE League Partnership Seed Fund, and jointly set directions for the coming year’s cooperation.