Starting in the 2012/13 academic year, the UAB and the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea, will offer a joint master's degree in Spanish language and literature, a unique collaboration between a Spanish and a Korean university. This new joint degree is part of the Ortelius Programme and has been made possible thanks to the accords signed by the UAB, Hankuk University and Banco Santander, which additionally will provide eight grants for students to study the degree at the two universities.
Four of these grants will go to UAB students and the other four to students of Hankuk University. The grants are sponsored by Banco Santander, which contributed in the launch of the Ortelius Programme.
The UAB has maintained ties for several years now with the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, considered the best institute of South Korea in the field of foreign language teaching (and third in the world) and the most internationalised centre. It offers courses in 45 different foreign languages and in the fields of the humanities, social sciences and computing. It has signed over 400 agreements with universities in 79 countries and 30% of its academic staff is from abroad. Its 24,000 undergraduate and 3,300 postgraduate students attend lectures on three different campuses: Seoul, Yong-in and Song-do. The university encourages its students to spend at least one term studying in a foreign university. Hankuk University is also particularly well known for the graduates who go on to be diplomats, executive directors and outstanding journalists.
Proof of its importance is the fact that it was the only university visited by President of the United States Barack Obama on his recent trip to South Korea. The Rector of Hankuk University, Park Chul, is a renowned Hispanist and foreign member of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE).
The UAB, for its part, enters this new joint degree project in excellent conditions, given that it is one of the world's leading references in Hispanic studies. The UAB Department of Spanish Studies includes the Director of RAE, Josť Manuel Blecua, and two more members of the academy, professors Francisco Rico and Carme Riera.
Actions that have been programmed jointly by the two universities:
Student mobility between both universities. In 2011/12, two students from Hankuk University and three from the UAB exchange universities.
The UAB participates in the process of selection of academic staff for the Spanish Department of the Hankuk University.
Creation of the Instituteof Pharmacy (IP-HUFS) to collaborate in teaching and research in the field of pharmacology. The institute permits conducting joint scientific research projects and there is constant flow of both information and researchers.
The Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at UAB and the Department of Environmental Science of Hankuk University jointly create the Europe Korea Institute of Environmental Research and Technology (EKO Institute UAB-HUFS). With headquarters in Seoul, the institute promotes collaborations in environmental research and technology.
Presently, Hankuk University is working actively on the Ortelius project, which seeks to establish long lasting relations between Asian and Latin American universities and the UAB. Ortelius was created to promote joint courses and new exchange programmes for students and academic and research staff. Working together are 23 universities in China and South Korea and 13 universities in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay). The new master's degree in Spanish language and literature forms part of this project.
A consolidated relation with South Korea
South Koreais one of the strategic countries included in the UAB internationalisation project, which puts special emphasis on East Asia (several of UAB's undergraduate and postgraduate courses focus on this geographic area). The UAB is one of the first universities to establish relations with Korean institutes in both exchange programmes for students and lecturing staff and in research and technology transfer collaborations.
In 2009, the UAB opened its own office in Seoul to facilitate relations with universities and research centres in Korea. It is the first Spanish university to have opened an office in this country. Also in 2009, the UAB participated in the International University Presidents? Forum, where Rector Ana Ripoll gave a conference on UAB's experiences in its internationalisation programme, exchanges and the implementation of courses adapted to the European Higher Education Area.
The UAB has signed 20 framework and exchange agreements with universities in South Korea. The students' exchange programme with Korean universities first began in 1998 through a UAB-specific mobility programme. In the 2010/11 academic year, 28 Korean students took part in the programme while eight UAB students travelled to universities in Korea. A total of seven Korean universities now form part of the Ortelius programme.
Korean students also participate in the Study Abroad programme, which is open to all students from higher learning centres interested in taking UAB courses as a complementary part of any of the other international mobility programmes they are enrolled in. In 2012/11, eleven South Korean students studied at UAB under this programme.
Last year, the UAB established a new collaboration agreement in research and teaching with the Keimyung University. The purpose of the agreement is to promote more mobility amongst students, lecturers and researchers, as well as increase cooperation in academic and scientific activities.
UAB also participates in the Duo grant programme of the European Union, which enables students from Europe and Korea to take part in one year exchanges.
Through the agreements signed with the Korea Foundation, Korean lecturers are invited to come to UAB and grants are offered for Korean graduates to give lectures on their country's history, politics and cinema.
It is worth highlighting that UAB was the first university in Spain to receive two lecturers from North Korea through an agreement signed with the Pyongyang Foreign Language Study for research in higher education.
UAB's collaboration with Korean research centres and institutes is focused mainly on the fields of health, the environment, nanotechnology and the ?bio? sector. More precisely, UAB has received recognition as a Campus of International Excellence for its research and knowledge transfer project in the fields of bioscience and nanotechnology.
Together with eight prestigious research centres in South Korea and one in Japan, the UAB is member of the International Medical Research Association (IMRA), specialising in biomedical and nanotechnology research. It was created in 2009 with the aim of facilitating collaboration between research and technology transfer in the fields of neurology, biology and regenerative medicine. The UAB office in Seoul and the research park Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority are in charge of coordinating IMRA activities. In order to exchange information on the research projects being conducted and obtain new collaborations, the IMRA meets once every year. In 2010, the annual meeting was held at the UAB campus.
Another agreement between DGFEZA and UAB to work together in biomedical and neuroscience research has led to collaborations between the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (IBB) of the UAB and the Brain Science and Engineering Institute of the Kyungpook National University. The IBB and the UAB Proteomics Laboratory participate in the tests carried out using new hospital equipment built by the Catalan company KONIK and the Korean company PROBIND.
Also in the field of health sciences there are collaborations between the UAB Teaching Unit of the Vall d?Hebron Hospital and the Seoul National University.
The UAB and the Pyeongtaek University are working together to create a business incubator. And yet other collaborations exist with Korean institutions. UAB participates in the Korean government's project Green New Deal 17 High Techno Project Industry Investment, designed with the aim of donating 5% of its GIP to research in a variety of sectors. It also signed an agreement with the provincial government of Gyeonggi to work in the fields of the environment and veterinary medicine. UAB?s most recent contacts include meetings with South Korea?s National Assembly's Committee on Health.