Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences Delegation Visit to Korea

From October 26th to 28th, a delegation of 11 Professors from 5 different Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) visited Korea with a specially tailored 3-day program on the topic of “Healthy Ageing in the Age of New Technologies.” The delegation included representatives from:

-Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW; Nursing and ICT accessibility)
-University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW; medical technology)
-University of Applied Sciences St.Gallen (FHSG; Interdisciplinary Center of Ageing, Human-machine interfaces)
-University of Applied Sciences Southern Switzerland (SUPSI; health economics, biosensors)
-University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO; nursing, occupational health).

The delegation was financially supported by swissuniversities, the association of all Swiss higher education institutions in order to support internationalisation of Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences.

The goal of the visit was to learn from the Korean experience and seek educational and R&D collaboration with Korean universities, medical institutions and companies. The program in Korea was organized by Science and Technology Office (STO) of the Embassy of Switzerland in the Republic of Korea and in cooperation with swissuniversities, swissnex China and STO Tokyo in Japan.

The specific focus in Korea was to:
-Learn about the Korean healthcare system, especially for the elderly
-Technologies specialized and applied for elderly population in Korea
-Making contacts with institutions and companies interested in educational and R&D cooperation with Swiss UAS in the above domain

Site Visit to Hospitals

Throughout the program, the Swiss delegation visited following hospitals: Hyundai Asan Medical Center (AMC) and Gangnam-gu Haengbok Convalescence Hospital. The aim of the visits was to get introduced to the Korean medical system and facilities for elderly in hospitals as well as get an impression of an excellent research-driven hospital to seek inspiration and connections for possible R&D collaborations. In Asan Medical Center, professors and researchers from rehabilitation medicine, medical engineering department and Hyundai Heavy Industries researchers joined the meeting and introduced their latest collaborative projects in gait rehabilitation and patient transfer robots.

Information & Networking Workshop

In order to give the delegation a chance to network with many Korean experts from hospitals and research institutions, the Science & Technology Office organised a networking workshop at the Embassy of Switzerland.

On the Korean side, the presentations included:

  • Healthcare System for Elderly people and Nursing Home System in Korea introduced by Dr. Chiweon Kim, Seoul Wise Hospital
  • Environmental Gerontology in the Era of Data Revolution introduced by Professor. Moon Choi, KAIST
  • Technologies in Elderly Care introduced by Professor. SungHee Tak, Seoul National University College of Nursing

In addition, three members of the Swiss delegation presented the Swiss special elderly program, current status and system, and related technology to invited guests from variety of research fields including nursing, rehabilitation medicine, social sciences, and medical engineering.  Lively and meaningful discussions on their research topics followed.

Site Visit to Universities

Additionally, the Swiss UAS delegation visited the following universities: Chung-Ang University Red Cross College of Nursing (CAU) and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

At Chung-Ang University, the discussions strongly focused on the nursing practice and training in Korea and again on the current situation for elderly in Korea. Also, Chung-Ang University introduced their ongoing R&D project with the Swiss start-up Domo Safety.

At KAIST, the discussions focused on technology collaboration in biomedical engineering, emotion sensing, technologies related to active and assisted living (e.g. IOT related) and fall-prevention technologies. In short, all technologies which can be applied for elderly persons to support a comfortable life. Especially impressive at KAIST was the Dr. M Project, KAIST’s flagship display of all biomedical engineering related technologies, which are ready for application. Some Swiss delegation members even wished to build up a similar technology demonstration site in Switzerland.