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Lotte grants W14b to KAIST for R&D

Donation to be used for building R&D, design centers on campus

Projected images of Lotte-KAIST R&D Center (left) and Lotte-KAIST Design Center (KAIST)
Projected images of Lotte-KAIST R&D Center (left) and Lotte-KAIST Design Center (KAIST)
Lotte Group, South Korea’s fifth largest conglomerate, has decided to donate 14 billion won ($10.4 million) to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology for various research and development efforts, officials said Monday.

The announcement came about half a year after Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin met KAIST President Lee Kwang-hyung at the university in Daejeon, South Chungcheong Province, in February.

According to the officials, Lotte Group’s 10 subsidiaries including Lotte Holdings, Lotte Chemical and Lotte Shopping have taken part in the financial contribution to build “Lotte-KAIST R&D Center” and “Lotte-KAIST Design Center.” The construction of the two centers on KAIST’s campus is expected to be completed in the second half of 2025.

The Lotte-KAIST R&D center, which will be run by the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will serve as a research cluster to achieve carbon neutrality in the fight against climate crisis, according to KAIST.

The three main focus areas of the R&D center will cover bio-sustainability, materials and energy for carbon neutrality and advanced food and health to conduct comprehensive research on systems metabolic engineering, biofuel, bioplastics, green hydrogen, renewable energy and battery.

KAIST and Lotte will join hands in efforts to commercialize the outcomes of research, officials said.

The Lotte-KAIST design center will be operated by the department of industrial design. The design center will establish four laboratories specialized in social contribution design, artificial intelligence and data-based design, metaverse design and user experience and service design.

The labs will work on zero-waste design, futuristic products and services that integrate the virtual world and reality as well as novel digital services, according to KAIST.

The centers will also have test beds open for the members of the nearby community to allow hands-on experience of the research outcomes for consumers.

KAIST and Lotte have continuously cooperated in strengthening R&D capabilities to push for new businesses. In January, Lotte Chemical established Lotte Chemical-KAIST carbon neutrality research center to secure future technology and nurture talented professionals. Bae Sang-min, an industrial design professor at KAIST, was appointed as the president of Lotte Holdings’ design management center in September 2021.

“We wish to convey our impression and gratitude towards Lotte’s insightful decision for future innovation and the bold donation decision to take action,” said Lee. “We hope innovative achievements will be born to lead the future retail businesses and promote sustainable development of the Earth and mankind in a research space where industry and academia integrate freely.”

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
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