Kyung Hee Selected as the New Institution for the Regional Senior-Friendly Industry Innovation Center Support Project

2023-08-28 Academic

The University is taking the initiative to establish a foundation in both AgeTech and the demonstrative ecosystem of the senior-friendly industry

Kyung Hee has been recognized as a new entity for the Regional Senior-Friendly Industry Innovation Center Support Project, overseen by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI). Professor Hyeri Shin of the Department of Gerontology at the Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, spearheading the project, commented, “This new designation positions us at the forefront of the AgeTech movement and the senior-friendly industry's demonstrative ecosystem.” AgeTech encompasses products and services crafted for senior citizens. Interestingly, this sector has recently expanded its scope beyond just the elderly to cater to the baby boomer generation and other relatively younger elderly groups. Professor Shin elaborated, “We will steer a Senior-Friendly Industry Innovation Center tailored for the metropolitan region, with a broader vision of collaborating with other regional centers to collectively nurture the nationwide senior-friendly industry.”

Kyung Hee boasts a comprehensive infrastructure in AgeTech and the senior-friendly industry realm. In 2020, the University was selected for the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy's Industrial Innovation Foundation Project, paving the way for the creation of a living lab tailored for the growth of the senior-friendly sector and business support. This strategic move has endowed Kyung Hee with the expertise to execute senior-friendly demonstrative evaluations. In addition, the University has forged partnerships with twenty-five local entities, ranging from welfare centers, hospitals, and care facilities. It has also established a solid infrastructure with an impressive array of twenty-eight demonstrative evaluation tools, such as mobility test devices and bone density measurement devices. With these assets, a plethora of achievements have been unlocked, as Professor Shin highlighted, “In the recent four years, we have realized over twenty-five demonstrative accomplishments, spanning from state-of-the-art care robots and the like to essential welfare tools aiding daily life.”

Kyung Hee’s prowess is not limited to infrastructure; its research and educational capacities are equally commendable. Under the fourth phase of the BK21 program, the University runs the AgeTech Education and Research Group, which is headed by Professor Young Sun Kim from the Gerontology Department. Furthermore, the newly established Digital New Aging Institute has been instrumental in rolling out diverse training curriculums. Professor Shin pointed out the collaborative spirit at Kyung Hee: “The coexistence of varied academic domains within our AgeTech Team and Digital New Aging Platform is indeed our strength. Experts from the Graduate School of East-West Medicine Science, Engineering, Medicine, Sports Science, Housing & Interior Design collaboratively drive interdisciplinary research.”

With this recent recognition, Professor Shin believes Kyung Hee’s presence in the senior-friendly industry ecosystem will grow significantly. She expressed her ambition: “As a key regional hub, our mission is to holistically support senior-friendly enterprises through AgeTech, living lab demonstrations, and aiding business commercialization.” Additionally, the University will roll out an online platform-based business matchmaking service.

There is also palpable excitement around revenue generation through collaboration with senior-friendly firms. Plans are underway to diversify the financial structure, ushering in a virtuous economic cycle. Professor Shin shared the anticipated outcomes of the center's operation. The expected benefits include enhancing the quality of life and fostering independent living through the development of educational and serve models for the elderly; spreading successful cases through the development of senior-friendly industry service and business models; and energizing the industry ecosystem through the discovery of new industries from the aging mega-trend and the creation of employment opportunities. She concluded with a promise, “We are committed to multifaceted support for senior-friendly businesses, fostering growth in the senior-friendly and AgeTech sectors, all while continually elevating Kyung Hee’s unparalleled expertise.”

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