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  • Seoul Becomes an Arena of Global Innovative Technologies

  • Economy & Investment News SMG 1790

    Seoul Innovation Fab Lab

    Seoul will become an arena of technologies and ideas for global companies, universities, and labs that have innovative technologies. The city will be operating the Seoul Global Challenge, an international R&D competition for global innovators of all nationalities to find innovative solutions for Seoul’s urban problems.

    In competitive R&D, several research institutions compete with one another over a subject and some of them are eliminated from the competition through a mid-term evaluation to arrive at a final conclusion. It is similar to a sports tournament or a survival game. As the demand for the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as AI and blockchain, increases, many countries are adopting an open, competitive R&D system through synergy and convergence with innovative technologies, escaping from single-subject, single-institution R&D.

    In the Seoul Global Challenge, Seoul presents the challenging task of solving an urban problem that is in demand by citizens and is difficult to be tackled → global companies, universities, and labs compete against each other by developing products, solutions, and prototypes to solve the problem →Seoul provided support to cover the research funds of excellent products and solutions through a phased evaluation and buys the product and solution of the final winner to put it into practice in administration.

    During such process, the subway, tunnels, Hangang River bridges, and other spots managed by the city will be open as the testbed to assess the effect and performance of the (potential) products and solutions and verify their business value. For excellent ideas, the city will offer a development fund for manufacturing prototypes.

    The city of Seoul has plans to run the Seoul Global Challenge not as a temporary, short-term project but as a permanent platform providing sustainable solutions to urban problems, producing new solutions every year to contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life of Seoulites. The city has the goal of becoming a testbed city with a collaborative ecosystem of innovative industries that interacts with global state-of-the-art technologies and human resources to develop innovative solutions to address urban problems.

    The first task of the Seoul Global Challenge will be to develop a method to reduce the amount of particulate matter in the subway in Seoul. The prize money amounts to KRW 750 million and the project will be operated for six months until February 2020.

    The task aims at devising an innovative plan to reduce the amount of particulate matter in the subway in Seoul, which is closely related to the daily life of the residents of Seoul. Despite being an important space for Seoulites that is in average used by 7.25 million passengers per day, the basement space of the Seoul Subway is enclosed and difficult to ventilate, which makes it hard to control the air quality.

    The Seoul Global Challenge 2019-2020 has the purpose of discovering the best innovative technology in existence that can be promptly used on the spot. Companies, universities, research institutions, industry-academic consortiums, college students, and individuals with the technology to reduce the particulate matter in the subway can participate, regardless of nationality.

    Participants should suggest a product or a solution to reduce the particulate matter in one of three spaces: ▲ the subway tunnel, ▲ the platform, or ▲ the train. The winner will be selected through two rounds of evaluations.

    The first evaluation consists of an interview and the screening of the proposal documents submitted by each team. The products and solutions that pass the first evaluation will be have their particulate matter reduction effect verified in the real subway tunnels (five stations including Hyochang Park Station, Line 6), the platforms (10 stations including Itaewon Station, Line 6), and the train (Line 2) as the testbed. The second evaluation will be comprised of the on-spot screening along with an evaluation performed by the citizen evaluation team, made up of citizens who have completed education on particulate matter in the subway.

    An evaluation committee, comprised of experts in related fields, will select the final winner by evaluating the particulate matter reduction efficacy, economic feasibility, innovation, suitability, and workability, considering the results of the first and second rounds of evaluation. The winner of the grand prize will receive KRW 500 million as prize money together with the Mayor’s Award. The second prize winner will receive a certificate of merit and KRW 100 million, and the excellence prize winners for each category (tunnel, platform, and train) will receive a certificate of merit and KRW 50 million.

    Seoul has the goal of holding a dominant position in technologies in the field of subway air quality improvement by purchasing the excellent product and/or solution ratified by the Seoul Global Challenge 2019-2020 and immediately applying them to the subway in Seoul. The teams that want to participate in Seoul Global Challenge 2019-2020 should submit their proposal online through the “New Technology Portal” (www.seoul-tech.com/seoulglobalchallenge) from September 9 to November 22, 2019.

    The 2nd Seoul Global Challenge (2020-2021) will present the same challenge of “devising a method to reduce the particulate matter in the subway in Seoul,” to pursue the further development of new innovative ideas and technologies. The city will provide participants with enough time to prepare (one year), as well as support for prototype development, office space, mentoring services, and more.