UQ and South Korea

Strategic partners in the Asian Century

The UQ's close relationship with South Korea is underpinned by bourgeoning people-to-people links, and world-leading collaboration in nanoscience, bioengineering, and physics.

Fast facts


South Korean students enrolled at UQ


South Korea-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in South Korea


research project collaborations


alumni in South Korea


agreements with 11 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2017 data.



South Korea and UQ have partnered on more than 300 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key research areas including genetics and heredity, materials science, chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, and physics. Our top co-publishing partners are Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea University, and Ewha Womans University.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 4 Korean institutions on 4 research projects, backed by more than A$12.5 million (10.8 billion KRW) in funding and covering topics such as forecasting the probability of economic recession, and the design of light metals. Collaborators include Korea University, Seoul National University, the Korean Statistical Society and Sungkyunkwan University.

Research funding

7 Korean organisations, including Samyang Biopharmaceuticals Corporation, the Academy of Korean Studies and the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, have contributed more than A$617,500 (534 million KRW) towards 11 research projects in the past 5 years. Projects investigate a range of topics including agriculture, language, oceans and climate change, and recycling mine residues.

Collaboration in action

Legal ties improve regional cooperation

For more than a decade, UQ and South Korea have exchanged legal experts in an effort to better understand each other's law system. Through comparative research undertaken as part of the TC Beirne School of Law's Korean Law Program, Australian lawyers experience South Korea's common law system first-hand – and vice versa. In this ‘Asian Century’, academic and industry collaboration between both nations is of increasing importance, particularly as each look to reform legal education, family law, and criminal justice. The Korean Law Program is supported by the Korean Ministry of Justice and has welcomed Fellows from Korea University and Seoul National University in recent years.

Nanoscience: The new frontier in technology

The Australian Research Centre of Excellence in Bio-Nano Science (CBNS) has linked with Sungkyunkwan University to develop next generation bio-responsive nanomaterials. CBNS is a collaboration between 5 Australian universities, including UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, School of Chemical Engineering, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and Centre for Advanced Imaging. The partnership has brought together a diverse range of expertise in three key research areas: virtual reality visualisation of cells; the social, ethical, and political dimensions of bio-nanotechnologies; and statistical and systematic network models to allow for predictive nanomaterial design.

Food, farming, and financialisation

The growing presence of financial firms in contemporary economic relations is an increasingly important, yet poorly understood, concept. Through interviews and document analysis, Korea University Sociology Professor Chul-Kyoo Kim and UQ School of Social Science Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Lawrence are examining the ways financialisation is transforming agri-food industries in Australia. By investigating which foreign firms are purchasing food companies and farmlands, and why, the research intends to ascertain the place of financialisation in the emergence of a third food regime. Ultimately, the project aims to clarify issues of ownership and control regarding Australia's agri-food resources.

The language behind Korean identity

Dr Isaac Lee, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Cultures, is heavily involved in researching Korean language curriculum in South Korea. His most recent project analyses Korean textbooks and corresponding curricula across 120 years, and explores how political, social, and cultural changes have affected the development and teaching of the language. As part of his research, Dr Lee is investigating cultural ‘keywords’, and what might be considered the Korean collective identity. The project is funded through the Overseas Korean Studies Incubation Program. Dr Lee's research also covers ethnic Korean language in school curriculum in North Korea and China.

Study shows how plants fight disease

New research has revealed how a plant’s immune system helps it resist disease. Led by UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Professor Bostjan Kobe, and involving South Korea's Pohang University of Technology, the finding is a significant development in international efforts to enhance food security. It is estimated that pre-harvest plant diseases account for up to 15 per cent of crop losses per year, and breeding-resistant plant varieties has been the main strategy to combat plant disease, especially because pesticides can be detrimental to the environment. The research team used x-ray crystallography to understand how the immune receptors assembled during signalling.

South Korean students at UQ

In the past 5 years, more than 590 South Korean students have been enrolled in UQ degrees. The Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Business Management, and Bachelor of Arts are the most popular program choices.

The Korean International Students Society and Korean Medical Society are just some of the clubs and societies on campus that provide a platform for sharing cultures and welcoming South Korean students to UQ.

Video: Kyu Mo Yang, from South Korea, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science from UQ. He was chosen as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador in 2014.

Korean culture at UQ


UQ students can study Korean through the School of Languages and Cultures. Around 30 courses are on offer, from K-pop, to business communication, translation and interpreting, and contemporary film and television. Korean is growing in popularity with UQ students every year, with more than 2,600 enrolments in Korean courses in the past 5 years.

UQ's Institute of Modern Languages (IML) also offers Korean courses for the wider community.

Video: studying Korean at UQ and where students can go

Student mobility

Student exchange

UQ has student exchange agreements with 5 universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea University, Pusan University, and Yonsei University. Under these agreements, 65 UQ students have studied in South Korea and 51 South Korean students have enrolled in programs at UQ since 2012.

New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program has supported several UQ undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study in South Korea, including:

Cultural immersion

Under the Experience South Korea Like a Local program, 15 multidisciplinary UQ students will travel to 1 of 5 exchange partners in South Korea in 2017 and 2018. The initiative is more than an academic study program, it is designed to immerse students in local culture, and includes a Korean language component. The initiative is supported by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.

UQ Employability Grant

Since 2011, UQ has supported students to take part in activities in South Korea through the UQ Employability Grant scheme. Previously supported activities have included conference presentations, internships at Kyungpook National University, short-term study programs at Seoul National University, the KAIST International Entrepreneurship Summer Camp, and a range of competitions.


South Korea is home to a strong alumni network, with 646 alumni living there. Alumni with significant links to South Korea include:

Singer-songwriter and winner of X Factor Australia 2013 (Bachelor of Music (Honours) 2009)
Marketing strategist and panellist on Korean TV show Abnormal Summit (Bachelor of Business/Arts 2013)


UQ is privileged to have at least 14 UQ academic staff members who were born in South Korea. Senior staff include: