The UK-Korea Bio-Technology Forum gathered biology and technology experts to discuss major issues in health and diseases and to identify emerging areas that may benefit from strategic partnerships between the two countries.
The Forum was inspired by the February visit to the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) by the Republic of Korea's Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, His Excellency, Ambassador Gunn Kim and Science Attache Mr Moongi Choi. The visit initiated the idea of a sustainable partnership in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry using data and artificial intelligence.
The Forum started on Thursday 14 July at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in London with experts from universities, research institutes and hospitals from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea. Other attendees include governmental representatives from both countries.
Ms Susie Kitchens, Deputy Director of Global Research & Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, opened the forum by stating “We need to ensure that the UK collaborates internationally so we can continue to be at the forefront of the research on international and domestic health challenges”
Professor Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Oxford delivered the keynote lecture. He remarked, “I have seen a huge culture shift in universities, where we work with not only researchers from other universities but also from industry. But the COVID-19 situation demonstrated that most importantly, we need to work with other countries”. He also emphasised that innovation and entrepreneurship are important factors in advancing research.
The day's discussion focused on three themes – data and artificial intelligence for therapeutics purposes, use of technology for biomarkers and drug development, and innovative approaches for wellbeing and care technology.
Speakers include Professor Caleb Webber and Dr Giovanna Lalli from UK Dementia Research Institute, Professor Uhtaek Oh and Professor Hahnbeom Park from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, Professor Danny Altman from Imperial College London, Dr Wang Jun Lee from Myongji Hospital, and Professor Ronan Lyons from Dementias Platform UK, Swansea University.
Professor Eunjoo Roh from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology
Professor Chas Bountra from the University of Oxford
Professor Chas Bountra and Ms Susie Kitchens
From left to right: Dr Wang Jun Lee from the Myongji Hospital, Professor Kei Cho from the IoPPN, Professor Ronan Lyons from Dementias Platform UK, and Minister-Counsellor Jae Ho Chun, the Finance Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Professor Caleb Webber from UK Dementia Research Institute
Throughout the day, the experts engaged in discussions on how they can utilise the strengths of both countries to initiate a "Digital-Bio" research platform which provides better treatment and care.
We need to think of universities and research institutes as international hubs to create opportunities. These hubs are not dissimilar to international airports, where they welcome various airlines, host various businesses, and deliver a big impact every single day.– Professor Cho, Professor of Neuroscience at IoPPN and Group Leader at UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) at King’s
The forum continued on 15 July 2022 with a discussion amongst the Korean delegate and a meeting with Dr Mark Palmer, Director of International Relations, Medical Research Council.
The forum has given us a lot to think about. The discussion was thought-provoking and informative.
We identified potential research aspects - cell and gene therapy, AI platform, digital health care with big data and AI, and many others. We will continue the discussion and inform both governments of our ideas to make tangible outcomes– Mr Moongi Choi, Science Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Korea