South Korea represents an ideal international partner for WIN, as it is considered a global leader in technology manufacturing, especially in telecommunication devices, electronics and semiconductor fabrication, and transportation/automotive production. The government of South Korea has invested greatly in infrastructure to support research and industrial innovation, especially in key enabling technologies (KETs) such as nanotechnology with USD $625B (₩670B) to support R&D focusing on nanomaterial development for AI, big data, the internet of things (IoT), and transportation, all areas with the largest commercial impact and growth. This is in addition to support for 3D nanoelectronic devices, sensors for IoT, biomechanics, fibres, and precursors. By 2025, this would position South Korea third in nanotechnology investment internationally, just behind US and Japan with an annual investment reaching 880 billion won with 12,000 core research personnel (2018).
Many academic collaborations and joint projects are underway between UW/WIN and faculty at institutions within South Korea as well as industrial partnerships with Korean-based industrial tech giants such as Samsung and LG.
Korean Advanced Nano Fab Centre
In June 2018 WIN Executive Director, Professor Sushanta Mitra, visited the Korean Advanced Nano Fab Centre (KANC) which led to several discussions about how to commence the WIN-KANC collaboration.
KANC was founded as an independent, non-profit corporation to support process development of nano-devices for industries, universities, and research institutes and promote networking within the nanotechnology field in Korea and overseas. With the installation of about 200 pieces of semiconductor equipment within the facilities, KANC aims to enhance national competitiveness and to contribute to the development of the relevant industries in the field of nano-devices.
Additionally, the WIN-KANC partnership will give WIN members access to excellent modern facilities at a much cheaper cost than otherwise available in Canada, particularly the Class 1 clean room facilities and other equipment found within KANC. Having access to such facilities would be an excellent resource for all WIN researchers requiring high-precision device development, giving WIN members an edge on competitors in their respective fields.
WIN and KANC are excellent natural partners with complementary research interests in future core technologies such as sensors, batteries, autonomous vehicles, lab-on-chip technologies, and the internet of things. Additionally, WIN and KANC share a common goal to close the gap between technology/R&D and the manufacturing base.
In April 2019, the Memorandum of Understanding for Educational and Scientific Cooperation between KANC and WIN was finalized to allow opportunities for research collaboration, information and knowledge exchange, faculty and student mobility, and bilateral access to research facilities.