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Global Affairs

UZH Participates in Swiss-Korean Innovation Week

UZH presented pioneering projects in digital conservation and blockchain technologies at this year's Swiss-Korean Innovation Week in Seoul. 

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin during his visit at the Swiss Korean Innovation Week

The Innovation Week, which was held for the 6th time and in celebration of this year’s 60th anniversary of Swiss-Korean bilateral relations, aimed to facilitate the increasingly strong cooperation in science and technology between Switzerland and Korea. In 2023 the focus was on the theme "Enabling Innovation". The event welcomed a diverse array of attendees from the worlds of business, science and politics. Notably, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin was in attendance, underscoring the significance of the occasion.

Kickoff: Exhibition on artificial intelligence for biodiversity

Laurens Bohlen from the University of Zurich introducing the research network behind Triggered by Motion (©Benoît T. Ebener, 2023).

The kickoff event, “Travel Across Boundaries”, showcased a joint exhibition by UZH and ETH at Zaha Hadid's “Dongdaemun Design Plaza”. The exhibition explored the emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Metaverse. One of the exhibits was a video installation called “Triggered by Motion”, which utilizes camera traps to observe wildlife. The installation employs AI and machine learning to accelerate the analysis of vast amount of data generated by wildlife camera traps. 

Different approaches, many opportunities

UZH was also represented at the Swiss-Korean “Science Day”, which in two sessions explored digitalization-led growth and its implications for societies. In the first session, Claudio Tessone, Director of the UZH Blockchain Center, focused on the “Digital tech race and its implications for security of global societies”. He stated that “Switzerland and South Korea have taken completely different approaches; the certainty brought by the Swiss approach has given rise to a highly developed ecosystem which is a reference worldwide. South Korea has an unrealized potential, and the Swiss ecosystem can be instrumental to its growth, mutually benefiting from it.”

The second session of the science day took place under the title of “Human-nature interaction: Observation, sensing and digital models for social-ecological foresight”. Dr. Katharina Weikl and Laurens Bohlen from UZH’s Art and Science-Office presented the universities’ strong engagement in biodiversity research. 

Enabling innovation at UZH

Travel Across Boundaries, a joint exhibition of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, is on display at Dongdaemun Design Gallery in Seoul through May and June 2023 (©Benoît T. Ebener, 2023).

Both digital conservation and blockchain technologies are quickly growing research fields with important contributions from researchers at UZH. The exhibition “Travel Across Boundaries” and the Swiss-Korean Science Day highlighted the great future potential of academic exchange in these fields for the Korean Republic and for Switzerland. Both countries share a strong educational system with lots of excellent and ambitious researchers.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin signs research agreement

During his visit to South Korea, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, also signed an agreement for research cooperation, marking a new dimension of collaboration between Switzerland, the EFTA and South Korea. This bilateral partnership, focusing on digital transformation, biotechnology, and quantum sciences and technologies, is of great importance for both Switzerland and South Korea. The scientific collaboration between the two countries builds upon a bilateral agreement established in 2008, with over 80 research projects involving Korean researchers supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation in the past five years. Furthermore, since 1963, the Swiss government has awarded over 100 scholarships to Korean researchers and artists.

Anne Nuria Boekhout