December 2017 | Issue 33
Welcoming Professor Subra Suresh, the new NTU President

Prof Subra SURESH_photo Courtesy of Sandy Schaeffer_edit (Custom).jpg 
As we prepare to move into a new year, rejuvenated from the fun and festivities of the year-end holidays, LKCMedicine welcomes Professor Subra Suresh who officially joins the NTU family as the new president on 1 January 2018.

The eminent American scientist, engineer and entrepreneur has an outstanding record of distinguished and impactful leadership in academia, industry and government. He was the ninth President of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from 2013 to 2017, and before that served as the Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2010 to 2013, having been nominated by former US President Barack Obama. During his time as NSF Director, he oversaw a budget of US$7 billion allocated to more than 2,000 institutions across the US and several research facilities across the globe, all supporting fundamental research and innovation in all fields of science and engineering and related education.

Prof Suresh is no stranger to Singapore, having had countless high-level interactions with the little red dot over nearly a quarter of a century. Prof Suresh served as a consultant to several institutions and Advisory Boards including the National Science & Technology Board and the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR). He also held the inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Chair at the National University of Singapore (NUS) from 2006 to 2010.

His most notable work in Singapore was the formation of the Singapore-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alliance for Research & Technology (SMART) in 2007, the first centre under Singapore’s international research campus and innovation hub, the National Research Foundation’s Campus for Research Excellence & Technological Enterprise (CREATE). Closely working with the MIT and Singapore research communities, he presented the vision of the SMART centre and its role on the CREATE campus to the Research, Innovation & Enterprise Council, which was chaired by none other than Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Two presidents, many ties

The two presidents share many ties beyond being appointed NTU President. Here are five more interesting links the two men share:

1. Both presidents held prestigious positions in research foundations. Prof Andersson was the CEO of the European Research Foundation in Strasbourg, France, while Prof Suresh was the Director of the US National Science Foundation in America.

2. To pursue their dreams, both presidents “ran away” from home: Prof Andersson ran to Umeå University, which was the university furthest away in Sweden from his hometown to pursue his undergraduate degree, while Prof Suresh bought a one-way ticket from India to the US to pursue his Master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University.

3. Both presidents are proud fathers of two daughters.

4. This is not the first time the two presidents met, as they first encountered one another more than 10 years ago at the opening of the Singapore-MIT’s SMART Centre. They even took a group picture with then National Research Foundation Chairman Dr Tony Tan.

5. Both Prof Andersson and Prof Suresh share the same birthday: 30 May!

Adapted from: hey! magazine

In his capacity as a researcher, Prof Suresh studied the properties of engineered and biological materials, and their connections to human disease. He has published more than 300 research articles and co-authored 25 patent applications, as well as written three books that are used as textbooks or research monographs. Being an expert in multiple disciplines of science, he is the only university president elected to all three US national Academies - Sciences, Engineering and Medicine - and was appointed the inaugural Distinguished University Professor by the NTU Board of Trustees earlier this year. This professorship is awarded to candidates with extraordinary scholarly achievements, usually across multiple disciplines, and currently the highest academic recognition at NTU.

With his many accolades and inspiring leadership, it is safe to say that LKCMedicine is in safe hands with a capable and strong leader for years to come.

As he prepares for his new role, Prof Suresh said in a memo to staff in August, “In order to prepare for this exciting journey and to hit the ground running, I have visited the beautiful NTU campus and have had a number of conversations with the trustees, deans, vice-presidents and senior administrative leaders within the last month. I also look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the weeks and months ahead.”

And faculty, staff and students at LKCMedicine are looking forward to hosting the new president for his first visit to the School early next year.