Director, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program
Director, Korea Biochar Research Center
Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea
Korea University’s global research director, Yong Sik Ok, director of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Sustainable Waste Management programme, is chairing a conference series on engineering sustainable development, organized by The American Institute of Chemical Engineers, together with William Mitch (the programme co-director), a professor at Stanford University. Academic researchers, industrial practitioners, and government departments, will gather to discuss the development of integrated solutions to realize the UN’s 17 SDGs.
In 2019, Ok was the first South Korean to be selected as a highly cited researcher (HCR) in the field of environment and ecology by the Web of Science’s HCR index, with 85 highly cited papers and hot papers. He is working at the vanguard of global efforts to develop sustainable waste management strategies and technologies to address the rising crisis in electronic and plastic waste, and pollution of soil and air with particulate matter. “Waste management on the land and the seas has become a major national, regional, and global challenge,” says Ok.
“We need to develop better strategies for more effectively managing our waste. We must also seek to derive value from the waste we generate through, for example, conversion to energy and value-added products such as biochar.” By bringing together international experts, policymakers, and local communities, Ok believes the APRU Sustainable Waste Management programme and the conference series on engineering sustainable development will “play a vital role in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Ok has served in a number of positions worldwide including as honorary professor at the University of Queensland (Australia), visiting professor at Tsinghua University (China), adjunct professor at the University of Wuppertal (Germany), and guest professor at Ghent University (Belgium). Ok will host the first Nature conference among South Korean universities in Seoul in 2021 on the theme of waste management and valorization for a sustainable future together with Chief Editors of Nature Sustainability (Dr. Monica Contestabile), Nature Eletronics (Dr. Owain Vaughan), and Nature Nanotechnology (Dr. Fabio Pulizzi).