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2002 ~ 2007: Ed Psych Lab & CBLS

The Brain and Motivation Research Institute of Korea University originally started out as the Educational Psychology Laboratory established by Prof. Sung-il Kim in 2002 soon after his arrival to Korea University. The Ed Psych Lab changed its name to the Center for Brain-based Learning Science (CBLS) in 2005, as the paradigm of human learning shifted from behavioral studies to brain research. The Center was a unit of the Department of Education and supported by various research grants awarded to Prof. Kim as well as the Brain Korea 21 (BK21), a national research funded program awarded to the Department by the Korean Ministry of Education.

2008 ~ Present: bMRI

The Institute was founded in its present form in 2008 by Profs. Sung-il Kim and Mimi Bong. Upon Prof. Bong's arrival to Korea University and after systematic and extensive reorganization of its structure, revenue, and research focus, the Center was reborn as the Brain and Motivation Research Institute and is now a unit of the College of Education. Profs. Johnmarshall Reeve, Sehee Hong, and Sang Min Lee, and Bora Lee also joined bMRI to take part in its continuous and diversified lines of investigations on human motivation and emotion.

Immediately after its inception, bMRI was awarded the World Class University (WCU) Project by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in 2009. The WCU Project is a large government-initiated research grant that aims to enhance international competitiveness and visibility of Korean universities by selectively supporting graduate research programs that are judged to have strong growth potential in the coming years. Only a handful of research units in the social sciences were granted support from the WCU Project with a majority of them in business, economics, and international relations. bMRI was the only unit in psychology and one of only two units in education nationwide to gain the support of the WCU Project. In 2014, bMRI was again selected as one of the key research institutes in social sciences nationwide by the National Research Foundation and is currently being supported for its research. These achievement speaks to the vitality of bMRI as a leading organization in the scientific study of motivation and emotion in Korea.