With the global thirst for clean water, water has been dubbed the oil of the 21st century. NEWRI (Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute) is NTU's — and Singapore's — response to the worldwide quest for sustainable supplies of water.
At the forefront of the national R&D effort in environmental and clean water technologies, NEWRI steers the development of the clean water sector in Singapore, recognised worldwide as a leading adopter of new water technologies, especially in membrane applications, which NEWRI is renowned for.
Launched in 2008, NEWRI unifies more than two decades of university efforts in academia, research and new applications in the environmental and water industry. Its 400 researchers engage in pioneering projects, bringing together different groups across the university so as to leverage their strengths. The multi-centre institute also plays a leading role in grooming talents to strengthen Singapore's global standing in the field.
With S$228 million in funding from agencies such as Singapore's National Research Foundation, Economic Development Board, and Environment & Water Industry Development Council, NEWRI's ultimate goal is to translate research in cutting-edge environmental and water technologies into industry-relevant applications that benefit society and the community at large.
Commenting on the significance of the NEWRI setup in Singapore, Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of the Environment & Water Industry Development Council said: "NEWRI's centres focus on technology research in membranes, environmental planning, and waste management. These are niche areas that Singapore companies have been playing active roles in, both locally and internationally.
"Technology development has been identified as the key driver for the growth of Singapore's environment and water industry, thus NEWRI plays an integral role in our local environment and water ecosystem. NEWRI will be instrumental in providing our companies with the necessary manpower and technological innovation to stay ahead of the competition."
To date, the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute has forged partnerships with key environmental players such as Sembcorp Industries and Toray Industries Inc, a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan. It is also working with the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) Hai Phong Co. Ltd in research, education and feasibility studies at the 1,600-hectare industrial park located in Hai Phong, Vietnam.
Through the Lien Foundation - NTU Environmental Endeavour, NEWRI works to improve the living conditions of Asia’s developing communities through education and implementation of clean water and sanitation projects.
Once it is completed, the CleanTech Park, Singapore’s first and only eco-business facility, on the university's eastern flank, will serve as a focal point of the university’s research in environmental sustainability. NEWRI will be housing all its research centres at the park, allowing them to work seamlessly with key industry partners. This will also give students more opportunities for hands-on experience in state-of-the-art green technologies.