KIOST celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Korean South Pacific Ocean Research Center
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- Date : 2020-05-29
KIOST is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Korean South Pacific Ocean Research Center (KSORC), which is engaged in marine science research in the tropical Pacific region.
The KSORC was established on May 30, 2000, with the aim of developing marine resources in the tropical Pacific, a region with the highest level of biodiversity in the world, and expanding Korea’s marine-economic outreach to countries in the region.
The center was established on Weno Island, in Chuuk State of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and later upgraded to a permanent facility in 2006, since which time it has worked to secure the biomaterials necessary to tap into ocean resources. In 2011, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute’s Global Navigation Satellite System was built at the KSORC. In 2012, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s satellite control facility was installed at the facility, strengthening the center’s role as the nation’s base of convergence science. In 2016, the KSORC signed a business agreement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community* for the purpose of strengthening joint research cooperation on marine environment conservation, putting it at the forefront of Korea’s marine science diplomacy efforts.
* The Pacific Community was founded in 1947 and currently has 26 members, including 22 Pacific island states and the four original founding members. It conducts research on geoscience, climate change, and natural disaster response and applies the research results to specific areas of the Pacific islands region, working to increase the welfare of local residents.
KIOST has operated the KSORC for the past 20 years, over which time it has produced significant research results in the areas of biodiversity and marine ecological environments, including: (i) development of technology for growing/raising various tropical marine species (microalgae, giant clams, etc.) for industrial purposes; (ii) establishment of a system for the periodic environmental monitoring of weather and water quality, etc.; (iii) isolation of 770 species of microorganisms and operation of a cell bank; and (iv) isolation of 90 natural product species.
The KSORC has shared its accumulated technology and expertise and promoted cooperation with the Pacific island states. Moreover, it has provided its environmental monitoring results to the Chuk State government and operated a program through which it invites government employees to participate in an industrial tour in Korea for seven years. Since 2017, through ODA projects of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the center has provided the Chuk State government and local residents with the technology necessary to raise tropical aquarium fish and provided support for the installation of infrastructure for the production and distribution of such fish, helping boost local income.
Furthermore, KIOST has also operated an educational program through which it invites local youths to the KSORC and provides them with an opportunity to experience ocean science and receive practical training. This annual program has educated 192 trainees since 2007.
After having to cancel a local commemorative event due to the risk of COVID-19, KIOST plans to publish a commemorative book that outlines the significance and achievements of the KSORC in the second half of this year and host a meeting to discuss the center’s long-term development strategy.
Acting KIOST President Lee Jung-hyun said, “With the Korean South Pacific Ocean Research Center having built confidence for 20 years, Pacific island states are now highly interested in our marine science and technology and seeking cooperation. Going forward, in tandem with the Korean government’s New Southern Policy, we will continue consolidating our position as the leading marine science and research center in the Pacific region.”
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- Last Update : 2020-03-07