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Farewell Address for SHIN Hee-Sup, Director of Cognitive and Sociality Research Center 게시판 상세보기
Title Farewell Address for SHIN Hee-Sup, Director of Cognitive and Sociality Research Center
Department Communications Team Registration Date 2020-12-23 Hits 589
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Farewell Address for SHIN Hee-Sup, Director of Cognitive and Sociality Research Center

Hello. I am NOH Do Young, the president of IBS. Today on December 23, 2020, I regret to announce that Director Hee-Seop Shin, the first head of the IBS Research Center and a living witness of our nation's science and technology, will leave the IBS due to South Korea’s mandatory retirement age. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Vice Minister of Science and ICT JEONG Byung Sun, Seoul National University President OH Se Jeong, and KIST President YOON Seok Jin for giving congratulatory remarks despite their busy schedules. To send off such a great scientist who will be recorded on a page in the history of science in Korea, I am filled with emotions as the president and a junior scientist. The three people who gave congratulatory speeches must have felt the same way.

Director Shin is known as ‘a world-class neuroscientist who represents South Korea’. But beyond his specialization in brain science, I also regard Director Shin as a pioneer and one of the first Korean scientists to lead world-class basic science research in South Korea. In addition to making noticeable achievements in science, he also received various academic honors such as the Ho-Am Prize, The Order of Civil Merit Dongbaek Medal, and Korea's Best Scientist Award, in addition to being a member of the American National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. Such achievements instilled confidence in many junior scientists to rise and become leaders in their fields, and as such, I think that Director Shin had a tremendous influence on the basic science community in Korea.

We would like to examine two factors that established Director Shin as a world-class scholar. First is that after his return to Korea in 1991, Director Shin immersed himself in a single research topic, which involves the human brain, throughout 30 years of his career at POSTECH, KIST, and IBS. The brain is a subject that represents basic science in that it contains fundamental information to unravel the mysteries of human life activities. I believe carrying out long-term continuous research regardless of the surrounding environment was one of the keys to his success.

The second is his willingness to take on new challenges. After receiving his doctorate from Cornell University School of Medicine in the United States, he changed his career path from a clinician to a medical scientist and boldly took on the challenge of studying the human brain. And he made this difficult task his life mission. After serving as a POSTECH professor, he moved to KIST in 2001 to focus more on his research, before joining the newly launched IBS in 2012 as the first research director. It is also true that there were many concerns and questions within and outside the scientific community about the success of IBS at that time. However, the director expressed his support for the founding philosophy of ‘an autonomous research institute centered around excellent researchers,’ and established the first research group within the IBS. He said that “The creation of IBS in Korea is a miracle.”

The contribution of Director Shin to the IBS’s success is indescribable. Even back when IBS was securing the site of the new headquarters in Doryong-dong in 2013, he directly persuaded the government and citizens about the need for an urban research institute. Like all organizations, IBS had a lot of insecurities early after its establishment. However, with Director Shin always at the forefront, IBS was able to overcome many difficulties and grow into a national research institute equipped with 31 research centers and cutting-edge infrastructure.

IBS’s philosophy is having scientists with world-class leadership select their own research fields, and conduct research autonomously under the best environment. This is called the Harnack Principle, which is also the operating philosophy of the Max Planck Society. We tried to implement this philosophy for the first time through Director Shin. In your opinion, was this philosophy well implemented? As the 3rd president, I still have a lot of shortcomings. In the future, we will further develop this IBS operating philosophy based on the attitude on life and philosophy embodied by Director Shin. That will be the way to pay tribute to his contribution towards basic science and IBS.

While, Director Shin is now free from the burden of directing an IBS Research Center, but I believe that he will continue to work with the IBS. As a senior scientist, I ask that you guide junior scientists based on your experience and wisdom. While I am saddened to send the director away, but I know that this is not the end but another beginning. Now, with a more free mind, I hope that you will continue to achieve brilliance in research.

Director Shin, thank you once again for your hard work and dedication towards the advancement of the country and science. We pray for the wellbeing and happiness of the Director and his wife, as well as all of his family, and we all give warm applause with respect and love. Thank you.

December 23, 2020
IBS President NOH Do Young


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