Issue 92, November 2010
Creating excellence
Two new CREATE centres with a focus on sustainability bring leading global partners and fresh synergies to NTU’s research drive.

NTU continues to deepen its research collaborations with key international partners.

On 20 October, the university and Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF) announced the formation of two new research centres under the NRF’s S$1b CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise) programme. With their focus on the sustainability of buildings in the tropics and nanomaterials for water technologies, the centres will help Singapore meet its goal of becoming a world-class hub for research across diverse disciplines.

Building principles
Both of the CREATE research centres look set to harness NTU’s strengths in the fields of engineering and environmental and water technologies.

Set up by the University of California, Berkeley, the first centre, the Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore (BEARS), will begin its investigations with an interdisciplinary programme on building efficiency and sustainability in the tropics, in collaboration with NTU and other local institutions and organisations.

BEARS researchers will study ways to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, with the aim of sparking innovations in building design. A shared-use test-bed for buildings in tropical climates will be made available for their research.

The team is hopeful that new breakthroughs can soon be discovered. “The M3 [measuring, modelling and mitigation] agenda for the energy consumption of new and existing buildings represents an exciting fusion of some of the most novel emerging technologies,” explained Prof S Shankar Sastry, Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. “BEST research will potentially provide a suite of options to stimulate sustainable growth in energy-efficient commercial and residential buildings.”

Waste not, want not
Reducing waste in energy and water use is the goal of the other CREATE collaboration, a partnership between NTU, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Nanomaterials can be used to enhance the processes of energy harvesting, conservation, water sensing and recycling, and the three institutions will unite their strengths through this research effort to develop new nanomaterials that can improve the efficiency of energy and water management technologies.

“This programme is a platform to carry out cutting-edge research, building on the complementary expertise of the three universities,” said Prof Rivka Carmi, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “This may potentially lead to breakthroughs in the field of energy conversion and conservation, as well as water sensing and remediation.”

This sentiment was shared by Prof Isaiah Arkin, Vice President (Research & Development) at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “We are excited to collaborate on a world-class research programme that will not only benefit the institutions’ faculty and student body, but also strengthen the long-term research collaboration between our two countries,” he said.

Leading the drive for a cleaner, greener environment
“Sustainability research is one of the leading areas of research in which NTU is making a name overseas, and being the partner university for the two new CREATE programmes dovetails very well with our goals in this area,” said NTU President Dr Su Guaning.

He added: “The partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, offers research opportunities that will have a tremendous impact on energy efficiency for new buildings and the existing built environment, while the collaboration with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem allows NTU to contribute our expertise in nanomaterials research to find solutions that increase energy efficiency and reduce water wastage for current technologies.”

NTU also actively participates in three other CREATE research centres, established by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Technical University of Munich.

© Corporate Communications Office