Future standardizers on the horizon

KATS, the ISO member for the Republic of Korea, recently held the world’s foremost competition to identify the standards of the future, and the people who’ll be making them.

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Barnaby  Lewis
By Barnaby Lewis
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Since 2006, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) has organized the International Standards Olympiad. The unique competition, which went international in 2012, is an exciting way to open young minds to the power of standards. This year’s event, the 16th International Standards Olympiad, was held in a virtual format from 24 to 26 August 2021.

The event is fun, but highly competitive. Teams that pass the preliminary national rounds compete in a final round where they are assigned the task of solving real-world problems through collaboration and standards. To be an International Standards Olympiad winner takes much more than knowledge of standardization from a theoretical perspective: it demands creativity and passion for science, technology and teamwork. 

The 120 participants, representing 40 teams from 7 countries (China, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and Singapore), were provided with a dynamic and challenging opportunity to explore the world of standardization.

Middle-school students (from 13 to 15 years old) tackled a highly topical subject: “Healthcare – Pandemic response – Technologies for contact-free daily life”. 

High-school students (from 16 to 18 years old) addressed another rapidly evolving area: “Road vehicles – Test methods for autonomous driving”.

Highlighting the strategic importance of standardization for Korea, the award for the Platinum prize was presented by Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum to the winning team from Indonesia.

Sharing his enthusiasm for the flagship standards competition, Administrator Sanghoon Lee from KATS said:

Standards are essential to making tomorrow’s world more efficient and sustainable. But it is today’s youth that will lead that process. The International Standards Olympiad is helping to prepare a generation of future standardizers.

The next International Standards Olympiad is scheduled to take place in August 2022.

The 2021 winners of the International Standards Olympiad Platinum prize represented Indonesia.

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