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  • Title : Chuncheon acquires top grade in capacity building for researchers
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  • Among biomedical technology development projects organized by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Hallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital gained the highest grade 'S' in the final evaluation of research capacity building for physician-scientist.

    The biomedical technology development project is designed to contribute to strengthening national scientific and technological competitiveness and improving the quality of life of the people. It supports the establishment of bio-infrastructures as well as the investment in promising biotechnology fields such as new drug development, stem cell research, genome analysis, and medical technologies. Among these categories, the research capacity building for physician-scientist has been carried out over the past four years from 2017 by nine young and promising medical scientists on a budget of approximately 320 million USD (240 million USD from MIST and 80 million from Hallym University Medical Center).

    Chuncheon Hospital earned the top spot in most of the evaluation criteria including the adequacy of research implementation, the attainment of research goals, and the application plan of research results.

    Through this project, the hospital showed performance more than ten times compared to the initial plan by publishing a total of 87 research papers in SCI-level international journals, applying for 68 patents, registering 28 patents, founding a medical venture company, doing clinical trials, and trying commercialization.

    There are also many research projects that are ahead of commercialization. Based on the ideas from the actual clinical fields, the research team developed customized medical equipment and new diagnosis solutions such as the nation’s first genome diagnosis kit for brain aneurysm and stroke, the AI and genome-based premature birth prediction model, as well as the gastroscopy analysis AI system.

    In recognition of the excellence, the development of premature birth prediction model also has been selected as a research project of the Korea Medical Device Development Fund in 2021 as well, and it has been expanded to developing the automated AI screening algorithms for preterm birth and establishing standardized prenatal care services based on the level of preterm birth risk.

    It has been told that the active support of the hospital and university, and the leadership of hospital Director Jae-Jun Lee were greatly contributory to this achievement. The hospital provided systemized research infrastructures for the smooth operation of the projects and Hallym University established the Laboratory of New Frontier Research to help young scientists focus more on their research. The medical center also created an integrated network among universities, hospitals, laboratories, and companies that have advanced technologies and extensively supported the project from the initial stage to commercialization.

    “We are thrilled to see our young and promising physician-scientists being recognized for their research capacity and medical excellence,” said Director Lee of the hospital. He added, “Through this project, we will do our best to strengthen the competitiveness of national science and technology and to improve the quality of life of our people by fostering creative and talented scientists.”

    By Jonghun Im, Int’l Cooperation Team, HUMC (