Issue 90, September 2010
Medicine with a difference
NTU’s new medical school, a partnership with Imperial College London, will give more of Singapore’s best and brightest talents a chance to become skilled medical leaders who can meet new healthcare challenges.

Bright students eyeing a career in medicine can soon apply to enrol in NTU.

This is because NTU is setting up Singapore’s third medical school in partnership with Imperial College London, among the top ten universities in the world and home to one of the largest medical schools in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, first announced NTU’s plans to set up the school in his recent National Day Rally speech.

The NTU medical school, to be jointly managed with Imperial, will admit its first cohort of 50 students by 2013. It will combine NTU’s strengths in engineering and business with Imperial’s world-renowned medical expertise to nurture doctors who can meet the growing challenges of ageing and healthcare in Singapore.

“While the long-term goal of the new medical school is to boost the number of doctors here, more immediately, it will serve the purpose of helping our brightest young minds pursue medicine on our shores, instead of overseas,” said NTU President Dr Su Guaning. For students, there is the added allure of getting “a joint Imperial-NTU medical degree here in Singapore”.

Eventually, the school will produce about 150 doctors a year for the Singapore healthcare system. It will also introduce innovations to medical education, taking a leaf from Imperial’s experience in successfully integrating engineering and medicine. 

“A new generation of Singaporean doctors”
This is the first time Imperial is developing and delivering a course overseas. In 2009, Imperial also chose NTU as its first partner for a joint doctoral programme in engineering and science.

Sir Keith O’Nions, Rector of Imperial College London, said: “Our newest partnership with NTU is extremely exciting and we are delighted to be joining forces with an institution that embodies many of our own aspirations, to develop a new generation of Singaporean doctors.” For Imperial, the partnership also represents “a rare opportunity to pioneer a new medical curriculum”.

The school’s founding Dean will be Prof Stephen Smith, Principal of Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine and Chief Executive of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He will be assisted by the Senior Vice Dean, Prof Martyn Partridge, who holds Imperial’s Chair in Respiratory Medicine. Prof Partridge will work full-time on the project in both London and Singapore.

NTU’s medical students will receive exposure to multidisciplinary teams in clinical settings as early as their first year of studies. Singapore’s National Healthcare Group, a leader in public healthcare in Singapore, will be the school’s main clinical partner, although the school will also be working closely with other members of the local healthcare system. This way, NTU will be able to provide its students with a strong foundation in clinical training across diverse healthcare settings, including community hospitals, where they will gain experience treating a variety of diseases.

Joint degree; cross-disciplinary training
Students will receive a medical degree jointly awarded by NTU and Imperial, after successfully completing the five-year course, which will be taught by world-class faculty from Imperial and NTU.

Graduates will not only be good providers of patient-centred care but skilled managers in hospitals who can bring clinical care into homes and communities.

The school’s interdisciplinary approach to medical education will leverage the medical-related expertise of NTU’s College of Engineering, which has had a decade-long collaboration with the Singapore General Hospital. For instance, the new school will be able to draw on NTU’s strengths in areas such as regenerative medicine, biosensing and biomaterials. NTU’s medical students will also be able to take modules at other NTU schools, including the Nanyang Business School, ranked number one in Singapore.

“The interface between engineering and medicine provides fertile ground for research into areas such as medical devices that can revolutionise healthcare,” said Dr Su. According to NTU Provost Prof Bertil Andersson, including classes on business gives students the chance to learn the nuts and bolts of managing healthcare costs.

© Corporate Communications Office