Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

South Korea

KAIST has connotations of academic excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship, but also the launch of large-scale projects. The university often ranks highly among other universities of a similar age.

KAIST was established in February 1971 as Korea Advanced Institute of Science, with a loan given by United States Agency for International Development. The university aimed not only to educate young researchers in science and engineering, but also to provide a solid basis for the development of future higher education institutions in Korea.

Its structure was created by an international team, which included the American electrical engineer and vice-president of Stanford University Frederick Emmons Terman. Unlike other public institutions in South Korea, KAIST has freedom to decide upon its entry requirements and course structure, which gives the university a special status.

Today, KAIST has a rich academic portfolio in disciplines such as physics, mathematics, engineering, humanities and social sciences, business and management. The courses are delivered by 5 colleges and 6 schools, with over 33 divisions. KAIST's unique institutes include the National NanoFab Center, which conducts research into nano-devices and their potential applications.

KAIST consists of 2 major campuses situated in Daejeon and South Korea's capital Seoul. They offer over 25 dormitories, 4 libraries and a medical centre. To ensure students are actively engaged in the campus cultural events, the university organises traditional opera and jazz recitals.

KAIST retains sole responsibility for content © 2017 KAIST.

1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) published between 1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the FC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.

Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.

330 161.77

Outputs by subject (FC)

Subject AC FC
Physical Sciences 172 85.11
Life Sciences 65 27.88
Chemistry 155 77.38
Earth & Environmental Sciences 3 1.80

Highlight of the month

Iridium catalyst puts a lactam ring on it

© molekuul_be/Shutterstock

© molekuul_be/Shutterstock

Cyclic, nitrogen-containing structures called lactams are well known for their medicinal properties. A whole family of antibiotics is based on four-membered lactam rings. The five-membered lactam ring, however, is notoriously hard to synthesise. Now, guided by density functional theory, KAIST researchers have developed a catalyst that can selectively deliver these sought-after structures.

The challenge with forming catalytic five-membered lactam structures has been a competing reaction pathway. When the catalyst binds to the nitrogen-containing lactam precursor, this reactive intermediate typically decomposes to form a linear structure called an isocyanate rather than cyclizing to give the desired lactam.

After studying this competing reaction pathway in detail, the KAIST team designed a set of iridium catalysts that highly favour lactam formation over isocyanate formation. The catalysts were able to incorporate five-membered lactam rings into a wide range of molecules of potential medical interest.

Supported content

  1. Science 359, 1016–1021 (2018). doi: 10.1126/science.aap7503

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

More research highlights from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Top articles by Altmetric score in current window

Laboratory layered latte

Nature Communications


Escalation of competition into conflict in competitive networks of Formula One drivers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


1 December 2017 - 30 November 2018

International vs. domestic collaboration by FC

  • 52.98% Domestic
  • 47.02% International

Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.

Note: Collaboration is determined by the fractional count (FC), which is listed in parentheses.

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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