UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – During the week of September 12, Penn State hosted a delegation from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and Korea University (KU). The delegation was led by KIST President Prof. Seok-Jin Yoon, who along with Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi signed a memorandum of understanding between the universities. The university partnership will focus on transparent and invisible electronics.

“Very few places in the world have ongoing research into transparent and invisible electronics, and we are very happy to engage with this topic,” said Shashank Priya, associate vice president for research and director of strategic initiatives in the Office of the Vice-President. Chair for Research at Penn State.


According to the university’s website, KIST was established in 1966 as the first government-funded research institute in Korea. The story of KIST is the story of Korean development following the devastation caused by the Korean War. In 1960, when Korea launched its national development plan and laid the foundation for a new research institute, it was one of the poorest countries in the world. Today, it has the 11th largest economy in the world thanks to its advancements in science and technology.

KIST is now organized into nine dedicated research institutes that focus on applicable science and technology. The university’s most recent vision statement is “GRaND KIST” which stands for “Globally Recognized and Nationally Dedicating KIST”. The university is focused on big new challenges, with the intention of improving people, community and the earth.

“I am very happy to be the president of KIST and to make an excellent research institute,” President Yoon said. President Yoon, in fact, has a long history with Penn State, having been a member of the National Research Foundation’s Domestic and Foreign Postdoctoral Training from 1995 to 1997, and then an exchange fellow through KIST Technical Training in 2004.

KIST is the oldest government-commissioned R&D institute in Korea, with a research staff of 1,200, a student body of around 1,000, and support staff of 460. The impact of KIST’s research has been in Korea’s scientific and economic fields.