Issue 92, November 2010
The Five Peaks of Excellence
Sustainable Earth
With more than S$830m of research funding in the area of sustainability, NTU is a global leader in this area. NTU started developing a niche in sustainable development and urbanisation in the 1990s, in response to Singapore's need for new and reclaimable sources of water.

NTU takes a comprehensive approach to water issues, alternative energy sources, clean technologies, urban systems and geological concerns. Centres engaged in sustainability research at NTU include the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute and Energy Research Institute @ NTU.

One sustainability project involves trying to mimic nature through the creation of artificial leaves, with the aim of building artificial systems to generate clean fuels such as hydrogen and methanol. These can then be used in fuel cells to produce electricity or to power super-clean vehicles.

NTU provides its students with opportunities to learn from the best minds in sustainability by drawing on its partnerships with leading global players, including Rolls-Royce, Robert Bosch, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and Technical University of Munich.

Future Healthcare
NTU is setting up a medical school jointly with Imperial College London in 2013. The new medical school will produce highly-skilled doctors and healthcare experts who can meet the growing challenges of ageing and healthcare in Singapore. Reaping synergies between medicine, science and technology, the school will pioneer medical innovations and bring about enhancements to the healthcare system.

This peak leverages NTU's ongoing research at the College of Engineering and its decade-long partnership with the Singapore General Hospital. Among the more than 200 technology-inspired projects in healthcare that NTU has engaged in is work on biodegradable stents that unblock clogged vessels in the body. One of the stents, used for unclogging arteries in the leg, has resulted in an international start-up backed by more than US$12m in investments.

New Media
As a university with strong art, media and education schools, NTU is well-placed to excel in new media and help boost Singapore’s transformation into a global media city.

The Institute for Media Innovation will be the principal facilitator of cross-campus new media research collaborations and will work with NTU schools on external research funding. One project involves simulating human behaviour digitally. It studies how such simulations can be applied to virtual surgery or the prediction of crowd behaviour in disasters.

NTU scored a major victory in digital media in May 2010 when it inked a deal with Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, to set up Fraunhofer IDM @ NTU, the German organisation’s first research facility outside Europe and the United States.

To prepare students for the 21st century workforce, NTU’s National Institute of Education, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, will laterally translate new media research into teaching and learning pedagogies, in line with national efforts to transform the delivery of education.

New Silk Road
NTU’s Chinese heritage and international standing as a global university make it a unique knowledge hub that combines the best of the East and the West.

NTU has trained more than 10,000 Chinese officials since 1992. “Now we have six Masters’ programmes and many short-term training programmes for China officials. In several provinces in China, the very top officials of every city have been to NTU for a short-term programme,” said Dr Su. Beyond China, NTU is seeking to enlarge its links with India, the rest of ASEAN and the Middle East – places that hold the promise of bold new outcomes in education and research.

NTU will be setting up the NTU Tianjin College in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City to offer postgraduate courses in environmental and water technologies, digital animation, business and finance. The university’s Global Immersion Programme will also be expanded to cover more regions.

Innovation Asia
“Research that we do should be useful and relevant for Singapore,” said Prof Andersson. NTU has developed synergistic partnerships with global industry leaders and will continue to commercialise good technologies. Besides research on innovation and entrepreneurship in the Asian context, NTU is developing a vibrant innovation ecosystem across the university. Entrepreneurship programmes run by NTU’s Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre will be integrated into the curriculum and scaled up to benefit more students.

NTU’s new entrepreneurship education paradigm has already drawn attention from the Kauffman Foundation and other international organisations, said Dr Su. In 2008, the first Kauffman Campus outside the United States was established at NTU – a vote of confidence in the university’s ability to pilot landmark innovations and spearhead entrepreneurship in the region.

NTU, together with the Action Community for Entrepreneurship, is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum – the first global think-tank dedicated to entrepreneurs – and will organise the 2011 World Entrepreneurship Forum in Singapore next November.

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