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ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHTS 2015
New Worldwide Recognition for NTU
QS Subject Rankings
3. Research Impact Measures
4. The high quality of NTU research has been recognised on the world stage
5. Advances in Chemistry and Physical Sciences - NTU's strengths
6. Powerhouse of Engineering - ranked 6th in the world
Developing a New Strategy 2015-2020
8. New Dean for the College of Engineering
9. The Hive - a big investment in new learning experience
10. New life sciences initiatives
11. Bringing Medicine and Engineering together - NITHM
12. Bringing the World to NTU - the Global Dialogue
Walking the green talk
Collaboration with major multi-national industrial players
NTU in Africa
Interdisciplinary Graduate Education @ NTU and Interdisciplinarity
NTU in Space
NTU in China
19. The S. Rajaratnam School of Strategic and International Studies
Lee Kong Chian School Medicine
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
1. New Worldwide Recognition for NTU
NTU’s rapid rise in world university rankings has continued and its status as a leading global university has been confirmed in a number of measures, both in general global rankings and also as measured through impacts and citations in terms of research.
These rankings are not only due to the increased impact of NTU research but also reflect the major changes that NTU has undertaken across the board, including revamping of its teaching methods embracing the best of new technologies, its continued international character and its major societal contributions through its partnerships with major companies, its innovation progress and new initiatives within Singapore’s society at large. In 2015, NTU has improved its scores in research citations, academic and employer reputation and faculty-to-student ratio. It also scored well for its internationally diverse faculty and student communities.
Quacquarelli Symonds(QS) World University Rankings (QS-WUR) provided the most significant change to NTU rankings resulting from a change in the way in which citations were treated with a normalisation between the different major disciplinary areas. This normalisations reduced the impact from the biomedical field.
NTU would have seen a substantial advancement in its rankings anyway without this change but under the new methodology, NTU received an all-time high ranking of 13 in the World ahead of many more well-established institutions.
Digging deeper into the statistics shows that NTU has topped the 2015 rankings of the world’s young universities for the second consecutive year. This is the ranking of those universities established during the past 50 years which are, in fact, the majority of the World’s 20000 institutions of higher education. In retaining the No. 1 position, NTU has widened its lead over second-placed Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
The NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson commented that “NTU today is a talent magnet that draws some of the world's best professors and students. The quality of students has been rising rapidly each year. This year, there was an 89 per cent increase in top students enrolling at NTU, compared to 2011 which was the year before we rolled out various innovative programmes such as the Renaissance Engineering Programme and the medicine programme offered by our joint medical school with Imperial College London. It is a tribute to the quality of our faculty, staff and students and shows that being a young university should not be a hindrance in making an impact on a global scale. The latest rankings also demonstrate the determination of Asia’s young universities which are at the top of the game with their strong drive for excellence.”
Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (THE-WUR) confirmed the same advance although the outcome is a result of a different methodology and weighting used by this system.
Named the World’s Fast-rising Young University by Times Higher Education earlier this year, NTU has made a spectacular jump of 114 places in just 4 years and continued its march up international academic league tables, moving up 6 places to 55 in the 2015 THE-WUR.
NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson said, “The two rankings systems use different methodologies but they show one common trend – that NTU is on a rapid upward trajectory. Since 2012, NTU has climbed 34 places in the QS rankings and 31 places in THE. This shows that NTU’s rate of progress is similar in both league tables.”
Phil Baty, Editor, THE World University Rankings, said, “I congratulate NTU Singapore for continuing its extremely impressive march up the THE-WUR...so NTU’s consistent rise is particularly impressive. Singapore is one of the most exciting countries in global higher education at the moment, and NTU is at the heart of that.”
Earlier in 2015, Times Higher Education had already recognised NTU’s rapid growth when it named NTU the World’s Fastest-Rising Young University.
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2. QS Subject Rankings
The iconic School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) building
In 2015, in its best showing to date, NTU has 18 subject fields among the world’s top 50. It is ranked in the global top 10 for three subject fields, similar to 2014. NTU has 18 subject fields in the world’s top 50 compared to 7 fields when the QS subject rankings were introduced in 2011.
NTU is in the world’s top 10 for Education, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Materials Science.
NTU’s Education programme, based at the renowned
National Institute of Education (NIE), enters the global top 10 in the QS subject rankings for the first time this year. Up from 14 last year, it now ranks second in the Asia Pacific.
NTU’s Electrical & Electronic Engineering programme is now ranked 7 internationally, up from 10th place in 2014. It is also one of the biggest risers, having improved 29 places since 2011. Materials Science at NTU maintains its position at number 8 in the World.
In Singapore, NTU is the highest-ranked university for three disciplines -- Education, Philosophy, and Earth & Marine Sciences.
NTU’s President, Professor Bertil Andersson said “Engineering and Education are undoubtedly among NTU’s most established strengths. The strong showing of these and other programmes across the board show that NTU’s efforts to improve our teaching and research in the last few years have borne fruit. Academics and employers worldwide have clearly taken notice of the high quality of NTU graduates and programmes”.
Overall, NTU improved in 18 out of 28 subjects, and held steady in another five – these 18 being ranked in the top 50 in the World. Chemistry which is ranked 18 made the biggest leap, vaulting 26 places from last year (see below). Compared to 2014, Linguistics climbed 18 places to be placed at 24, while Environmental Sciences jumped 17 places to 31 and Mathematics went up 16 places to 32.
Besides the three subject fields in the top 10, four others ranked in the global top 20: Communication & Media Studies (15), Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering (17), Chemistry (18), and Civil & Structural Engineering (18). Other engineering and technology programmes also performed well with Chemical Engineering and Computer Science & Information Systems both at number 21.
The accounting, finance and business-related programmes at NTU’s Nanyang Business School likewise ranked highly, with Accounting & Finance in 22nd position and Business & Management Studies ranked 31 globally.
For arts and humanities subjects, NTU’s Linguistics ranked at an all-time high of 24, while Art & Design debuted at 45 this year. Psychology improved by one position, being placed 44.
The other NTU subject fields in the global top 50 include: Environmental Sciences (31), Statistics & Operational Research (31), Mathematics (32), and Physics & Astronomy (43).
The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 evaluated 3,551 universities and ranked 894 institutions in total. Launched in 2011, the QS Subject Rankings provide a guide to a range of popular fields of study in universities around the world. The rankings are based on the combined responses from academics and employers around the world, as well as citations measures.
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3. Research Impact Measures
Asian Normalised Research Impact Trends (from Thomson-Reuters)
One must not only measure the quantitative output of research but a key measure is the impact of such research on the whole global research endeavour. Thomson-Reuters measures impact through citations, described by Thomson-Reuters themselves, the impact factor is calculated by considering all citations in 1 year to a journal's content published in the prior 2 years, divided by the number of substantive, scholarly items published in that journal in those same 2 years. The impact factor is a ratio of journal citations to the number of substantive, scholarly articles published by that journal. Thus, it is a measure of the impact of published papers and reflection of the quality of such papers.
NTU has continued its almost exponential rise and increased the gap between it and its nearest Asian competitors.
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4. The high quality of NTU research has been recognised on the World stage
In 2015, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was ranked No. 40 in the
Nature Index Global, a ranking by one of the world’s most prestigious specialist research publications. This makes NTU the highest-ranked Singapore institution on the Index after climbing two spots from the previous year, ahead of two other local ones among a ranking of 200 top institutions worldwide.
NTU’s strong performance also contributed to Singapore’s high global standing in research at 15 place, up from 17 when the Index was first released in 2014. The university also ranks 8 among the Asian institutions listed on the Index, climbing 4 places from 12 previously.
Nature Index is based on the number of high-quality science papers published in 68 highly reputable science journals between 1 January and 31 December 2014, ordered by weighted fractional count. The
Nature Index tracks the author affiliations of nearly 60,000 high-quality scientific articles, which includes research output from 20,000 institutions worldwide.
NTU published 371 articles with a weighted fractional count of 199.86. This is a 6.7 per cent increase in high-quality research output compared to the previous year.
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5. Advances in Chemistry and Physical Sciences - NTU's strengths
A key measure of the quality of research is measured by the
Nature Index drawn from 68 highly reputable science journals chosen by an independent group of active researchers as to where they would choose to publish their best work.
In 2015, NTU’s
Chemistry research was ranked 9 internationally in the
Nature Index, up from 12 place previously surpassing such major institutions as Harvard, University of California Berkeley, Oxford and Cambridge.
NTU also scored well in
Physical Sciences ranked at 35, up from 39, ahead of leading universities such as Imperial College London, Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University and Cornell University.
“These achievements are nothing short of spectacular for NTU's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences that was established only 10 years ago. It is also a testament to the School’s strength in amassing outstanding faculty members over the past decade,” according to Prof Andersson.
Since its inauguration in 2005, the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences’ professors and academics have won several accolades such as the Young Scientist Award and the National Research Foundation (NRF) Investigatorship Award. A good number have been conferred Fellowships from the NRF, Singapore National Academy of Science and American Physical Society. Currently, NTU is home to more than 30 NRF Fellows in NTU or almost half of the national total, with 23 of them hailing from the School alone.
School of Materials Science and Engineering has also contributed to this stellar performance, especially in the area of nanoscience. Located at the interface between chemistry, physics, materials, engineering and biology, nanoscience is a priority research area for NTU, which has many strong research teams working on nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Last year, NTU also established a $70 million global research institute in the emerging field of nanomedicine, in partnership with Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology. The institute leverages the strengths of the two universities to use nanotechnology to solve some of the most challenging medical problems.
Overall, NTU is ranked at 8 in the Asia-Pacific region.
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6. Powerhouse of Engineering – ranked 6th in the World
NTU’s College of Engineering remains the largest grouping within the university, as befits an institution with engineering at the core of its foundation. Engineering with its six constituent Schools –
Civil and Environmental (CEE),
Chemical and Biomedical (SCBE),
Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE),
Electrical and Electronic (EEE),
Materials Sciences and Engineering (MSE) and
Mechanical and Aerospace (MAE). It is also one of the largest Engineering Colleges in the World and is now ranked overall in engineering in 6th place according to the QS Ranking system. The largest of the Schools – EEE – is ranked 7th in the World – an outstanding achievement given the intense competitive pressures in this area with MSE in 8th place – again a remarkable achievement as well as its contribution to chemistry within the university (see section 5 above).
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7. Developing a New Strategy 2015-2020
NTU first established a Strategic Plan and its Accompanying Implementation Plan in 2010 for a five year period. The progress made is reflected in the advance that has been documented above in rankings and other measures.
Therefore, in 2015, NTU has rolled forward its planning after a wide and in depth consultation within the university as a whole. This has built on what has already been achieved but identified new challenges and developments putting this within the context of the latest government national R& D plan for Singapore.
In its Plan introduction, NTU emphasises that it embraces the Humboldtian philosophy, that education and research are integrally related and mutually reinforcing. However, there remains an important role in the society and economy for research-intensive universities such as NTU, to provide the nexus between research, education and industry. The new 5-year plan is a balance between continuity and change, proven initiatives and new ambitions, riding on the momentum of growth built up in the last five years, and guided by its Vision and Mission, Identity Statement, and Core Values. Education, Research and Innovation, which represent the three corners of the “Knowledge Triangle”, will be the key thrusts of NTU 2020 Strategy leading the charge towards 2020.
Elements of the Plan - Education:
In terms of education, NTU is committed to developing a culture of responsiveness, relevance and rigour to enhance teaching excellence. There are two major vehicles to drive teaching excellence in NTU: the Teaching Excellence Academy (TEA) and the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU). CRADLE@NTU, a major new research initiative within Future Learning, a new Peak of Research It seeks to understand the learning profiles of tertiary students, develop innovative and effective ways of teaching and assessment, and study the efficacy of new pedagogies. CRADLE@NTU’s research will be anchored in the theoretical underpinnings of pedagogy, psychology and neuroscience (cognition).
Over the next few years, NTU will refine its blended learning approach and design various templates to suit different courses and disciplines. NTU targets to put 300 blended courses online annually in the next five years. In addition, the Team-Based Learning pedagogy successfully adopted in
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) will be extended to other academic programmes. There has and will continue to be a substantial development in infrastructure to support learning, one NTU also aims to empower learning through technology.
Other aspects of the Plan are aimed at enhancing learning beyond the curriculum and the enrichment of all aspects of the undergraduate education and experience.
Postgraduate Education will be reviewed and reformed and already new programmes of transferable skills such as negotiation, presentation as well as research integrity and ethics is underway.
Elements of the Plan – Research:
One of the fundamental and important aspects of research at NTU is its interdisciplinary nature. As a new research-intensive university, NTU is well placed to develop interdisciplinarity and has taken steps to embed this approach within the University, including establishing an
Interdisciplinary Graduate School and adopting a matrix structure of Schools and research institutes.
The previous research strategy focused on the five Peaks of Excellence bringing together NTU’s key strengths to address national and global issues.In planning ahead to 2020, there is a balance between continuity and renewal, given the dynamic and changing research environment. The new research strategy envisages five pan-University
Peaks of Research Excellence, namely:
Sustainable Earth which constitutes the most prominent of the new Peaks;
Secure Community; Healthy Society; and Future Learning. These represent NTU’s established, mature, interdisciplinary and core research areas. The Peaks of Research Excellence are supplemented by a series of
Strengths and Focus Clusters representing in-depth strength in disciplinary and established competencies especially within the Colleges and Schools. The need to provide space for new frontiers of research and future ambitions is recognised in
Emerging and Aspirational Areas plus provision of “White Space” for the new investigator-led initiatives.
Sustainable Earth (Conserving, Transforming, Recycling) is a continuation of the current Peak with some changes in emphasis. The cluster is anchored in several thematic research structures. One of these is the NRF-MOE Research Centre of Excellence -
Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) which focuses on complex microbial systems, cutting edge genomics and systems biology. The pan-University
Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and the
Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) are two other major contributors to this Peak. These three structures are joined by the new Asian School of the Environment, which draws on the expertise of SCELSE as well as the other NTU Research Centre of Excellence – the
Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS).
Global Asia (Understanding, Engagement, Growth) takes advantage of Singapore’s position at the heart of Asia and NTU’s competitive advantage in such areas as business studies, international policies and the arts. This Peak will have three foci - Business Asia, Cultural Asia and Transformational Asia – and will rest primarily on the strengths of the
Nanyang Business School,
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences,
S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), and a number of well-established research centres such as the
Institute on Asian Consumer Insight.
Secure Community (Preventing, Adapting, Resilience) is a new multi-disciplinary Peak that will develop new knowledge and solutions with respect to the preservation of societal security. A secure society needs resource security; economic security; environmental security; and security from crime, terrorism and external threats. The objective of Secure Community is to create strategies that preferably avoid, or if necessary, tackle stresses, challenges and crises in geopolitics, economic management and infrastructure development, that may in turn expose resource or defence vulnerabilities. At its core is the internationally renowned RSIS.
Healthy Society (Healthy Living, Active Ageing), is now a reality with the establishment of LKCMedicine. The focus of Healthy Society is to establish a multi-disciplinary programme at NTU that addresses the challenges faced by rapidly ageing societies including Singapore. Fundamental to the strategy will be an emphasis on early diagnosis and prevention, underpinned by a growing expertise in genetic and metabolic profiling, as well as advances in population health, disease surveillance and e-health innovation. Better treatment, based on increased knowledge of disease mechanisms, enhanced patient stratification, targeted therapies and technological innovation, will result in improved levels of care and therapeutic outcomes for the individual. A new
Nanyang Institute of Technology in Health and Medicine (NITHM) brings together the core base of engineering and medicine and the biological sciences.
Future Learning (Understanding, Learning, Teaching) is a new interdisciplinary Peak based on the forefront position of the
National Institute of Education (NIE) and a new interdisciplinary research initiative combining neuroscience, pedagogy and psychology spearheaded by the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU), and involving other Schools and Colleges including the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Art, Design and Media and the School of Computer Engineering. It will evolve to include the trans-disciplinary work interfacing all the relevant disciplines to enhance learning, and it will undertake deep research into pedagogies especially technology-enabled pedagogies suited to university learners of today, who are fluent with technology, social media and the Internet.
NTU’s Strengths and Focus Clusters have contributed to NTU’s research progress and reflect the depth of NTU’s research. They are areas of in-depth disciplinary expertise anchored in outstanding faculty as demonstrated by the competitive external awards obtained and substantial publications and citations. Many of the areas are also anchored in research centres. They are stand-alone areas although in many cases also feed into the activities of the Peaks. These areas could develop into future Peaks of Research Excellence.
Photonics (Light Technology)
Manufacturing and Re-manufacturing
Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Aeronautics and Space
Computational Science, Engineering and Data Analytics
Applied Discrete Mathematics
Language and Cultural Diversity
Interactive Digital Media
Emerging and Aspirational Areas
Emerging and aspirational areas represent new frontiers of research with the potential to transform the world and meet national and global needs. These are research topics that NTU has identified to build capacity, taking advantage of new research and national developments. NTU has already initiated and invested in several of these areas, such as Complexity Science, while in others, there is a need to recruit and develop expertise. In addition, provision is being made through a “White Space” for unexpected developments which are usually investigator-led.
Synthetic Biology and Biomimicry
Food Science and Technology
Digital Humanities and Social Data Analytics
Quantum Physics and Quantum Information
NTU will also capitalise on the
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform to augment student learning. It will introduce more MOOCs to showcase its strengths.
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8. New Dean for the College of Engineering
2015 saw new leadership in the College of Engineering (which forms some 60% of the university) with the appointment of Professor Chen Tsuhan. Professor Chen holds the Cheng Tsang Man Chair Professor at the University. Previously he has been the David E. Burr Professor of Engineering at the Cornell University, Ithaca, New York,. He also directed the Advanced Multimedia Processing Laboratory, with research activities in the interdisciplinary field of visual computing, including: computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, and image processing.
Before that, in a distinguished career Professor Chen was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A graduate of National Taiwan University, he completed his PhD at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, and has also worked in the AT&T Bell Laboratories. In the course of his career he has published more than three hundred technical papers and holds 26 U.S. patents and has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes.
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9. The Hive – a big investment in new learning experience
NTU will spend $75 million to implement the new flipped classroom model for half of its courses within five years
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has launched The Hive, the centre piece of its new learning pedagogy known as the flipped classroom. In this new model of learning, students access course content on their own and the face time with professors in class is devoted to team-based learning.
NTU targets to convert at least 150 courses in the first year, with a third of them already completed. About 1,500 courses will be converted within five years using this new pedagogy. It will spend about $75 million implementing this new approach to learning.
Designed to support this new way of learning, The Hive has done away with traditional classroom layouts with its 56 curvilinear smart classrooms that are equipped with the latest technologies. NTU has in the last three years converted most of its tutorial rooms into smart classrooms. A second learning hub with more smart classrooms is being built and will be ready by 2017.
Designed by top UK designer Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind the London Olympic Cauldron, The Hive will support NTU’s ambitions in pushing the frontiers of innovation in learning and sustainable building design.
“This is a university building like no other. It defies the norms of traditional university buildings and redefines them with its iconic shape and unusual use of space. Within its iconic shape and classroom structure lies the future of learning in Singapore,” said Professor Andersson.
NTU has been moving away from the typical lecture-tutorial format towards the flipped classroom model. Students get their course content online or through their smart devices before they attend lessons held in these smart classrooms where they tackle various questions in groups of five or six.
The smart classrooms come with flexible clustered seating, multiple LCD screens and wireless communication tools to facilitate small group discussions. Here students discuss and debate their ideas in their group before sharing and presenting them with the rest of the class.
Apart from classes, NTU intends to hold regular events throughout the academic year at The Hive, such as talks, workshops, hackathons, debates, film screenings and performances.
The Hive is also the home ground of student-managed social enterprises that promote the spirit of voluntarism and social entrepreneurship, such as the Co-op café which serves healthy and affordable food.
It has a library that offers a broad-based Discovery Collection with a treasure trove of 11,000 video titles and 1,200 books that will eventually grow to about 5,000. With Wi-Fi connection throughout the building, these materials can be easily streamed to students’ mobile devices.
Just outside the Outpost is the Automatic Reserves Machine – an automated book dispensing machine. Students can return and even borrow reserved books on their own using this robotic system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
NTU's Language and Communication Centre runs the Communication Cube at this learning hub where senior undergraduates and postgraduate students give students one-to-one personal advice and coaching in communication.
The Hive is designed with environment-friendly features, in line with NTU’s sustainability principles, its focus on sustainability research and its ambition to achieve a 35 per cent reduction in energy, water and waste by 2020 under its EcoCampus initiative.
Even before it was ready, The Hive was awarded the Green Mark Platinum in 2013 – the highest award for sustainable building design in Singapore from the Building and Construction Authority.
One of the building’s innovative green features is its unique air-conditioning system. It comes with special metal coils with cold water flowing through them. This cools the wind that enters classrooms and removes hot air quickly through convection.
Lined with lush greenery, the building also reduces solar glare and heat. Its inverted shape enables the upper floors to shade the lower levels, further cooling the interior.
Other energy-saving features include energy-efficient light and motion sensors in classrooms, toilets and staircases.
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10. New life sciences initiatives
Opening of the new Experimental Medicine Building
NTU has set up a new life sciences research cluster that will study the link between the health of a population and the environment.
The NTU Integrated Medical, Biological & Environmental Life Sciences (NIMBELS) Cluster will feature Southeast Asia’s first phenome centre, which will tackle key areas of research need, such as in ageing, diabetes, gut microbiomes and the urban water cycle.
NIMBELS brings together the life sciences expertise in NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), School of Biological Sciences, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) and the NTU Institute of Structural Biology. NIMBELS is led by Professor Staffan Kjelleberg.
NTU’s Singapore Phenome Centre:
The NIMBELS Cluster will feature the $9 million Singapore Phenome Centre which brings together NTU’s LKCMedicine, SCELSE and School of Biological Sciences. It is an interdisciplinary research platform that has strong industry support, including the instrument and software giant, Waters Corporation.
The Singapore Phenome Centre seeks to have a better understanding of phenomes, and shed light on how these physical and biochemical traits are produced by the interactions between genes and environmental factors. Research in recent years has shown that diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, cannot be explained by genes alone, but are caused mainly by the interaction between genes and environmental factors, such as lifestyle and diet. Previous studies have found that Asians have a higher risk of diabetes and heart attacks compared to Europeans. In the case of diabetes, it also develops at a much younger age and is now becoming an epidemic in Asia. It is intended to characterise the unique Asian phenotypes by working with clinicians from across Singapore to provide tailored therapies for individuals.
The Phenome Centre is part of an international network led by Imperial College London initiated by the UK MRC-NIHR (Medical Research Council - National Institute for Health Research) National Phenome Centre at Imperial College London.
The harmonisation and standardisation of metabolic phenotyping technologies for human healthcare screening and monitoring operated by the phenome centres will help achieve major advances in personalised and public healthcare based on new knowledge of human biology and gene-environment interactions.
Institute of Structural Biology:
The new $30 million NTU Institute of Structural Biology (NISB) is the first-of-its-kind in Singapore dedicated to structural biology research. Structural biology is a key area of study in molecular biology and more importantly, medicine. The strength and beauty of structural biology is that it allows the chemistry of life to be understood in great detail. Using cutting-edge imaging equipment, protein molecules such as enzymes are magnified up to 10 million times and beautifully rendered in 3D.
Through multidisciplinary collaborations at the new institute, researchers and scientists provides access to an extensive pool of techniques and expertise from multiple disciplines, which promote innovation and breakthroughs in healthcare.
The new institute, opening in 2016, will have state-of-the-art imaging instruments, with expertise from over 70 top biomedical scientists and researchers in NTU and Singapore, under one roof.
The institute will be led by Professor Daniela Rhodes, an international expert in structural biology who had worked with several Nobel Prize winners during her 42 years at Cambridge University’s world-renowned MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
The institute’s research projects currently in the pipeline will in part be funded by the $24 million Tier 3 Ministry of Education research grant won by Prof Rhodes in 2013.
NTU’s new institute is modelled after the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology which is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and has produced 15 Nobel Laureates.
The institute is part of NIMBELS.
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11. Bringing Medicine and Engineering together – NITHM
The Nanyang Institute of Technology in Health and Medicine (NITHM) is an initiative of the Healthy Society Peak of Research Excellence – one of the five strategic peaks defined in the NTU Strategic Plan. The establishment of NITHM leverages on NTU’s ongoing technology-inspired research activities in healthcare within the six Schools of the College of Engineering (CoE) and the two Schools of the College of Science (CoS). More than 200 existing projects related to health and medicine have been identified, many of which include an active collaboration with Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Amongst these projects that NTU has engaged in is the 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$12 million in investments.
Building on NTU’s existing strengths in engineering and business, the goal of NITHM is to provide a cross-disciplinary platform for engineers, scientists and clinicians to work together and develop new technologies that provide solutions to important problems in human health and medicine. NITHM synergises the various biomedical and bioengineering-related research projects within CoE and CoS, as well as increases the interaction of these research groups with other Colleges and Schools in NTU, including Nanyang Business School, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. NITHM is also geared up to collaborate with industrial partners as it strives to offer engineering-enabled solutions for medicine, health and healthcare in order to spur the creation and growth of the local medical device industry.
In addition, NITHM establishes formal ties with renowned universities, hospitals and research institutes. With the joint PhD programme with Imperial College London in place, it is expected that there would be further interaction with Imperial College London at the engineering-medicine interface. There have also been significant interactions with University of California-Berkeley and University of California-San Diego, Stanford University and Karolinska Institute in Sweden in some engineering-medicine areas of common interest. The plan is to create new medically-related Master of Science engineering courses and joint PhD programmes that would provide students with an exciting choice of a new and refreshing engineering discipline with a challenging and rewarding career.
NITHM has a tripartite mission of research, education and innovation. The initial activities of NITHM are designed to synergise and build on existing activities of technology research and development at NTU that is medically-related and to facilitate the interaction between these groups, both within NTU and with the healthcare community in Singapore. The structures used to achieve these goals include the Technology Programmes, the Clinical Forum and the Interdisciplinary Graduate School in Heathly Society.
NITHM is a key part of the university’s interdisciplinary strategy and is led by Professor Russell Gruen, formally of Monash University in Australia.
Professor Russell Gruen is the Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of Surgery in the Lee Kong Chian Medical School at NTU, and a Consultant General Surgeon at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. Professor Gruen is expert in health systems of many types and at many levels.
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12. Bringing the World to NTU – the Global Dialogue
NTU has hosted a number of major international events in the past including the first Time Higher Education World Academic Summit and the World Cultural Council Awards both in 2014.
In 2015 and as part of the Golden Jubilee of Singapore itself (SG50) NTU hosted a meeting to engage in a cross-disciplinary dialogue about how education systems worldwide are being increasingly pressed to groom new generations of problem solvers to address global challenges. To this end, NTU hosted the Nobel Prize Series, in partnership with the Nobel Media and the Nobel Museum. The event was supported by Saab and Scania, together with the Stockholm Business Region and Singapore Management University with the Straits Times as the official media partner.
Five Nobel Laureates, including German physicist Professor Stefan Hell (Chemistry, 2014), Israeli crystallographer Professor Ada Yonath (Chemistry, 2009), English chemist Sir Harold Walter Kroto (Chemistry, 1996), Scottish economist Sir James Mirrlees (Economic Sciences, 1996), and Nigerian playwright and poet Professor Wole Soyinka (Literature, 1986) came together to discuss “The Future of Learning”.
The event was opened by His Excellency President Tony Tan Keng Yam and was live-streamed on the Nobelprize.org website and via the Nobel Prize YouTube channel.
The Nobel Laureates also delivered four public lectures. In addition, a special exhibition, The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World was held at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.
2015 also saw National Geographic’s accomplished photographers,
Steve Winter and
Brian Skerry as well as renowned space engineer
Kobie Boykins from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) making appearances at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
The presence of these National Geographic explorers on NTU’s campus is part of NTU’s latest efforts to enrich its students’ education experience by exposing them to accomplished engineers and scientists from around the world who can serve as role models.
This was made possible after the university extended its term as the series partner of the National Geographic Live in Singapore for an additional three years through to 2018.
As part of the expanded partnership, there will be deeper engagement of National Geographic explorers with more of them coming to NTU each year and making longer appearances on campus.
Professor Freddy Boey, NTU Provost said, “NTU’s enhanced partnership with National Geographic represents a natural fit for both our institutions that share the same concerns about environmental issues and conserving the planet. ….. The partnership also builds on our linkages with other renowned global partners such as our recent tie-up with the Smithsonian Institution.”
Steve Winter is an accomplished wildlife photographer who has captured rare images of the big cats of India, Brazil and Hollywood, while underwater photographer Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater using his camera to tell the story of some of the ocean's most elusive inhabitants.
Dynamic young engineer Kobie Boykins, who is involved in the Mars exploration programme and is a National Geographic speaker and explorer, shared his passion for exploring the planet. Boykins now supervises NASA’s mobility and remote sensing teams for the Mars automated rover 'Curiosity'.
The talks by these National Geographic explorers were integrated with NTU’s compulsory undergraduate course on sustainability, enabling students to benefit from real-life stories and experiences to enhance their learning of environmental issues.
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13. Walking the green talk
Sustainability is high on NTU Singapore’s agenda and the university has received over $1.2 billion of competitive funding in sustainability research. In the last five years NTU has made great strides in sustainability and earth science research, and it has built up a wide global web of institutional partners focused on these areas. Most recently in March this year, NTU partnered the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex based in the United States, to advance research in tropical ecology.
NTU is also home to two of Singapore’s Research Centres of Excellence – The Earth Observatory of Singapore, led by geologist Kerry Sieh and the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, under the direction of microbiologist Staffan Kjelleberg.
By 2020, NTU aims to become one of the world's most sustainable and energy-efficient campuses. Through its EcoCampus initiative, the university aims to achieve a 35% reduction of its energy and waste consumption through researching, test-bedding and implementation.
First collaboration in Asia by the Smithsonian Institution
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has partnered the Smithsonian Institution to advance research in tropical ecology.
The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on educational and research efforts in the areas of tropical forest, marine ecology and environmental change in Asia.
The joint research and educational collaboration will be focused on areas such as biodiversity, forest and marine ecology, climate change, human-environment interactions and genomics.
This is the Smithsonian Institution’s first formal research agreement in Asia, and NTU will be established as the Asian scientific hub for the Smithsonian’s Forest Global Earth Observatories programme (ForestGEO). ForestGEO is a global network of more than 60 tropical and temperate forest plots in 24 countries where scientists examine forest function and diversity. It is part of the Smithsonian’s Global Earth Observatories programmes, which also includes MarineGEO, the first long-term, worldwide research programme with seven sites to focus on understanding coastal marine life and its role in maintaining resilient ecosystems around the world.
NTU’s new Asian School of the Environment is the main partner to the Smithsonian Institution, supported by the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) and NTU’s Complexity Institute.
A joint professorship between the two organisations is being set up, housed in the Asian School of the Environment. This appointmet will act as a conduit and coordinate research projects between NTU and Smithsonian Institution.
Some of NTU’s ambitious environmental science projects include the establishment of observation sites at the Sumatra subduction zone for seismic activity, the study of biofilms in urban waterways, the building of a comprehensive global oceanographic database and the sequencing of air microbiodome.
Collaboration with the US Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
Another major environmental partnership is with the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to develop technological solutions for energy efficiency and sustainable development in the tropics. This covers research in various areas of energy-efficiency solutions for buildings, renewable energy generation and storage, and smart grids.
The collaboration places strong emphasis in demonstrating innovative solutions in real-life settings to enhance local capabilities and accelerate the adoption of energy-saving measures in Singapore and the region.
Various research and demonstration projects will be carried out in conjunction with NTU’s EcoCampus initiative which uses the university’s 200-hectare campus and adjoining 50-hectare Cleantech Park as a super test bed for research in cutting-edge green technologies.
Going beyond research, the collaboration also aims to develop and demonstrate practical solutions to combat urban and environmental challenges while reducing energy costs.
Further savings in energy and costs can be achieved by improving data collection and analysis to guide decision making and enabling intelligent interaction of buildings with the electricity grid, including renewable energy sources, energy storage and electric vehicles.
Similar concepts can be applied to large infrastructures such as industrial parks and computer data centres, which require high amounts of power and cooling systems to operate. It will benefit from the development of highly efficient cooling systems and integration of energy systems that are based on sustainable energy and storage alternatives.
NTU’s EcoCampus initiative strives to push the boundaries of green innovation by providing opportunities for businesses to generate and test-bed new green ideas on the NTU campus.
Research efforts will be centred on six key areas: Information Management, Green Buildings, Renewable Energy, Transportation, Waste & Water, and User Behaviour for Energy Efficiency.
The EcoCampus initiative will also focus on research and development of practical solutions that can be commercialised in the near future.
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14. Collaboration with major multi-national industrial players
Building on its lengthy tradition of research which has the ultimate aim of innovation and economic development, NTU has established a wide range of partnerships with leading technologically based multi-national companies from around the World. Through joint research collaboration, the sharing access to advanced facilities and the joint supervision of research students are just three of the many benefits accruing mutually in such partnerships.
Two examples of our most recent partnerships are given below:
BMW and Electromobility
BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) today launched a new electromobility research programme, involving the all-electric BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 that runs on electricity and petrol.
This new research programme will be conducted at the Future Mobility Research Lab located on the NTU campus, which is the BMW Group’s first joint lab in Southeast Asia.
Both parties will be injecting a combined S$1.3 million to drive the new research projects, on top of the initial S$5.5 million funding allocated to the joint lab in 2013.
The new research programme will focus on two new areas, Electromobility in Asia and also Smart Materials. This is in addition to the original three research topics that the joint lab is working on: Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement and Intelligent Mobility. The main goal of embarking on the Electromobility in Asia project is to find out how drivers interact with BMW i vehicles in real life, so as to better understand user behaviours and to improve electric and plug-in hybrid technology for the future.
By conducting the research in Singapore, a densely-populated, urban city state, it will enable researchers in the joint lab to gain insights on how electric vehicles can be made more relevant for global megacities. Other study topics include how emerging technologies like fast charging, wireless charging and smart assistant driving technologies will impact the consumer.
At the launch ceremony today at NTU, the BMW Group announced that the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will be provided as research platforms to the Future Mobility Research Lab.
NTU is one of the eight top universities across the globe that BMW has established a strategic partnership with. The BMW i3 and i8 will be used by BMW and NTU scientists to develop and test innovative technologies in real-life conditions and this new research programme extends NTU’s efforts in developing future mobility solutions with global impact.
NTU receives BMW i3 and BMW i8 as research platforms
NTU and the ST Engineering group have set up a joint research lab to develop advanced robotics and autonomous systems that will improve airport operations and disaster rescue efforts.
ST Engineering-NTU Corporate Laboratory is supported by the NRF Singapore under its Corporate
Laboratory@University Scheme which supports the setting up of key corporate laboratories via public-private partnerships. A sum of S$53 million has been made available.
This partnership will generate new products and services through the development of new technologies, increase employment opportunities for researchers and scientists and provide greater exposure for students in industrial R&D.
The two main research areas of the ST Engineering-NTU Corporate Lab will be in airport precision and airside technology (such as baggage transfer systems, aerobridges and aircraft tow trucks) and in enhancing intelligence support for crisis management.
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15. NTU in Africa
University of Johannesburg
NTU has partnered the University of Johannesburg in the Republic of South Africa to create the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Studies. The JIAS is the first fully-fledged institute of advanced learning in South Africa’s political and economic heartland. It is a joint initiative of NTU and the University of Johannesburg. Although the JIAS will borrow from the long experience of the NTU’s own experience with a highly successful IAS, it has its own unique features.
In its early stages, JIAS is funded by a grant from the University of Johannesburg with funding for exchanges being carried by the NTU.
The JIAS operates under the guidance of an advisory board with leading academics from both universities. This initiative provides opportunities to unite African and Asian thought and research in both the human and natural sciences.
NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies to expand Singapore-Africa business links
This new Centre for African Studies, jointly established by NTU Nanyang Business School and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), forms an intensive series of activities to foster closer business and investment ties between Singapore and Africa.
The Centre, the first of its kind in South-east Asia, holds seminars and fora and other activities to present Africa’s investment opportunities to Singapore business circles and further develop bilateral business and trade.
The activities include seminars on doing business in Africa and also offers insights into Africa's environmental business scene. Leading figures will give public lectures to the business community. There are also lectures comparing African and Asian mindsets towards public and private sector engagement.
The activities are part of the Centre’s three-pronged strategy to develop thought leadership, expand Asian businesses’ capacity for doing business in Africa, and grow the network of people who hold deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia.
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16. Interdisciplinary Graduate Education @ NTU and Interdisciplinarity
The research strategy adopted by NTU during the last few years has a strong flavour of interdisciplinarity in its past and new Peaks of Excellence.
About 280 students and 500 faculties are today enrolled in interdisciplinary projects across the university – the Interdisciplinary Graduate School (IGS). The Sustainable Earth peak alone has about 190 PhD students and the New Media peak has about 45 PhD students. The Future Healthcare peak was launched in 2013 to support translational research – from engineering to medicine. This is a rapidly growing peak and involves 50 students many of which are working on highly interdisciplinary projects within the Nanyang Institute of Technology for Health and Medicine (NITHM), as well as on special initiatives related to focus areas of the medical school including e.g. skin research. NITHM also has been very successful in attracting Singaporeans to higher education. About 50% of the students admitted to NITHM projects are Singaporeans, which is exceptional given that the average number across NTU’s schools is around 20%.
The first cohort of IGS students that were admitted in January 2012 will submit their theses in early 2016. Thus, spring 2016 will be a busy period for IGS with about 25 oral PhD presentations, examinations. Convocation in July 2016.
The IGS office also assists in the admission of EDB-IPP scholarships to locals for higher education involving both companies and academia. One can say that IGS serves as a match making organization trying to help companies in finding faculties that are interested to work with them on translational/applied research projects. In this particular case the PhD student is an employee of the company and he/she spends about 50% of the time at NTU doing course work and research. So far 55 EDB-IPP students have obtained scholarships to work with companies and faculties at NTU.
The Interdisciplinary Graduate School (IGS) has been instrumental in connecting the university. Joint workshops within as well as across the peaks, study visits, lecture series and courses have stimulated faculties and students to work together on new projects within NTU’s Peaks of Excellence. With the new peaks there will be excellent opportunities for NTU to become the interdisciplinary hub of Singapore by complementing the already existing peaks in science and engineering with new ones that require contributions from business, humanities and social science.
The IGS and Graduate Student Offices are jointly involved in establishing PhD programmes with well-established overseas universities. MoU’s and/or implementation plans have been signed with the following universities in interdisciplinary areas of science and technology – BOKU, Vienna, Austria (Bionanotechnology); Linköping University, Sweden (Nano/materials science and engineering); Dresden University, Germany (Nanoscience, environmental/water science and engineering, medicine); Medical University of Vienna, Austria (Medical Imaging); Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden (Sustainability, Urban systems, Health); Sorbonne Universities, Paris, France (Bioinspired materials, biointerphases, chemistry).
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17. NTU in Space
NTU successfully launched two satellites in December: a climate monitoring and navigation satellite, and the university’s first satellite with a commercial payload.
These two latest satellites are the fifth and sixth respectively from NTU since 2011.
The 123-kg climate monitoring and navigation satellite, named
VELOX-CI, will orbit the Earth for the next three years. Its mission is to study Asia’s tropical climate and to test a new navigation system. The smaller 12-kg
VELOX-II is carrying an experimental “communication-on-demand” technology that will be tested over one year.
The two NTU satellites were launched from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the Indian Space Research Organisation's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C29) rocket, together with Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite TeLEOS-1 and three other Singapore satellites.
TeLEOS-1 is built by ST Electronics (Satellite Systems) Pte Ltd, a joint venture between ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) Pte Ltd, NTU and DSO National Laboratories.
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18. NTU in China
To mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), three universities from each country signed three Memoranda of Understanding with each other building on existing strong collaborations between the universities in student and faculty exchanges, and joint research and development.
The collaborations between the Singapore and Chinese universities is funded through a donation of RMB 150 million (S$33 million) from the family of Mr Ng Teng Fong, with each pair of universities receiving RMB 50 million (S$11 million).
NTU and Peking University
NTU and Peking University (PKU) will establish a Joint NTU-PKU Research Institute whose research areas include multi-modal big data analytics technologies for smart cities and human-centred technologies for healthy living and lifelong learning. The joint research institute will support Singapore’s Smart Nation vision that harnesses technology and data to improve living standards, strengthen communities, and create more business opportunities.
It will work closely with NTU’s Rapid-Rich Object Search (ROSE) Lab, which is also an NTU-PKU collaboration that aims to pioneer next-generation visual and object search technologies, and the Research Centre of Excellence in Active Living for the Elderly (LILY), which develops digital solutions for the elderly. The new partnership will also involve joint research, student, faculty and research staff exchanges, and the organisation of conferences and workshops.
NTU sets up Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute
NTU Singapore is setting up a joint research institute in Guangzhou, China that aims to develop new technologies ranging from electric vehicles and sustainable urban development to nutrition and food science.
The Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute is set up in partnership with the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (SSGKC) Administrative Committee, the SSGKC Investment and Development Co., Ltd. and South China University of Technology (SCUT).
The joint institute will focus on research that translates to technological advances for Guangzhou City and Guangdong Province, especially the Guangzhou Development District, Luogang District, and the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.
Several research areas have been identified including next-generation electric vehicles and intelligent urban transportation systems; nutrition and food science; sustainable urban development; pollution control and environmental restoration; as well as biomedical materials and medical instruments.
The institute is expected to involve a funding request of RMB200 million (about S$44 million) for the first five years and to occupy up to 20,000 square metres at the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.
NTU has a long history of successful collaboration with our counterparts and industry partners in China. Apart from leveraging NTU’s expertise in areas such as electromobility, urban engineering, sustainability and food sciences, the new partnership is also an excellent platform for faculty, students and the industry to interact and learn from one another. More importantly, this transnational research initiative can also help to solve common issues related to research and development faced by both Singapore and China.
This collaboration is one of NTU’s many fruitful partnerships with China in recent years.
NTU has worked with Guangzhou to set up the Centre of Excellence for Software Transfer (CREST) by the end of this year, fostering bilateral trade by training business executives of both countries.
NTU also signed two research agreements with Tsinghua and Fudan Universities to develop crowdsourcing technologies and smart liveable cities.
In addition, NTU has active MOUs with 30 of its China counterparts, promoting interactions between students and faculty of both countries. It also has strong and vibrant alumni association chapters in China.
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THE 2015 ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHTS ALSO SPECIFICALLY FEATURES THREE DEVELOPING AND EXCITING AREAS OF THE NTU BROADENING PORTFOLIO
19. The S. Rajaratnam School of Strategic and International Studies
The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) was established in January 2007 as an autonomous school within the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). It was previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) when the latter was set up in July 1996. The renaming of IDSS served to honour the late Mr S. Rajaratnam, Singapore’s first Foreign Minister. At the same time, it also reflects the progress and development of IDSS, a modest research institute, to become RSIS – a professional graduate school of International affairs. RSIS’ mission is to become a leading research and graduate teaching institution in strategic nd international affairs in the Asia Pacific. This it will accomplish by providing a rigorous professional graduate education with a strong practical emphasis, conducting policy relevant research in defence, national security, international relations, strategic studies and diplomacy, and fostering a global network of like-minded professional schools. It plays an important role in developing a community of scholars and policy analysts at the forefront of Asia-Pacific security studies and international affairs. With its objectives in research, teaching and networking, policymakers develop comprehensive approaches to strategic thinking related to Singapore’s interests. RSIS serves as the Secretariat for the Singapore National Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, contributing to Track 2 discussions on regional security. It is also the Secretariat for the Track II Network of ASEAN Defence and Security Institutions (NADI).
The Institute organises several conferences on security which include the annual Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers (APPSMO), the annual Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers (APPSNO) and the biennial Asia-Pacific Security Conference and International Maritime Security Conference.
Collaboration with other professional schools of international affairs to form a global network of excellence is a RSIS priority. RSIS maintains links with other like-minded schools so as to enrich its research and teaching activities as well as learn from the best practices of successful schools.
Graduate Education Programmes
RSIS offers a challenging graduate education in international affairs taught by an international faculty of international and local specialists, and leading thinkers and practitioners, some of whom are world renowned in their areas of expertise. These programmes, which attract students from some 64 countries around the world, prepare the students to respond to current global challenges by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge.
• Masters of Science programmes specialising in Asian Studies, International Political Economy, International Relations and Strategic Studies.
• Double Masters Programme with Warwick University launched in 2010.
• Doctor of Philosophy programme for advanced students.
RSIS conducts research which focuses on issues relating to the security and stability of the Asia Pacific region and how these issues affect Singapore and the region. These include areas such as terrorism, homeland security, non-traditional security, multilaterism and regionalism, maritime security, contemporary Islam, military transformations, international political economy, inter-religious relations, and country and area studies.
Research on these topics is conducted at RSIS via its five research centres:
• Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies
• International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research
• Centre of Excellence for National Security
• Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
• Centre for Multilaterism Studies In addition to these research centres, RSIS International Political Economy Programme and Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme also have research elements.
Recent Significant Developments
Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme was launched by President Tony Tan Keng Yam on 9 June 2014. This programme aims to study the different models of how religious communities develop their teachings to meet the contemporary challenges of living in plural societies, deepen the study of inter-religious relations, develop models for the positive role of religions in building peace, and produce knowledge to strengthen communities’ social ties amongst each other. During this inauguration, the
Peter Lim Professorship in Peace Studies, which was established through a generous gift of $3 million from Mr Peter Lim and the Governments matching grant, was also launched. Through this endowment, the SRP Programme will be able to appoint a professor who will lead the programme in researching and teaching Peace Studies. In order to continuously engage and communicate with RSIS graduates, the RSIS Alumni Association (RSIS AA) was officially launched on 22 August 2014 at the 11th RSIS Alumni Dinner. The Executive Committee was formed by a group of dedicated alumni with Mr Phillip Ee Kwang Yong leading as the AA President. The RSIS AA will serve to connect RSIS’ global community of alumni, which has more than 1,200 members across more than 60 countries. It was also during the RSIS AA launch event that the then RSIS Dean Ambassador Barry Desker announced the inauguration of the Science, Technology and Security Programme. This new programme was established after some years of work on cybersecurity, biosecurity and nuclear safety.
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20. Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
New Leadership for the Medical School
In July 2014, prominent medical leader and endocrinologist Prof James Best was appointed LKCMedicine’s Dean. Formerly the Head of Melbourne Medical School, Prof Best brings with him more than 30 years of experience in research, teaching and medical leadership.
Prof James Best
Dean, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s Buildings Foundation Stone Ceremony
The medical school hosted the President of the Republic of Singapore Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam in January 2015 at the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony of its two new buildings – the Experimental Medicine Building and Clinical Sciences Building. Some 180 guests, staff and students from LKCMedicine and its founding institutions, NTU and Imperial College London, gathered to witness the foundation stone laying of LKCMedicine’s two new buildings that form the medical school’s dual campus. The seven-storey Experimental Medicine Building, connected via a linkbridge to the School of Biological Sciences and is part of NTU Life Sciences Cluster, will be ready by July this year to welcome the next cohort while the 20-storey Clinical Sciences Building, which is at the heart of the upcoming medical hub HealthCity Novena, will open its doors to students next year.
Dr Tony Tan (centre) accompanied by LKCMedicine Chairman Mr Lim Chuan Poh (second from right) and Presidents of the School’s parent universities Prof Bertil Andersson(left) and Prof Alice Gast (right) during the launch
Third Undergraduate Student Intake
LKCMedicine admitted its third intake of 90 undergraduate medical students in August 2015, 12 students more than its second cohort of 78 who matriculated in 2014. In November 2014, over 800 students interested to apply to LKCMedicine sat for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), part of the criteria for entry to the LKCMedicine MBBS programme. After applications closed in April 2015, shortlisted students participate in multiple interviews to be held between 11 and 21 April 2015, the last hurdle potential students had to tackle before being offered a place at LKCMedicine.
LKCMedicine PhD Programme
LKCMedicine started its PhD programme which will address the needs of 21st century medical and healthcare research. The School is seeking to admit the brightest students from a variety of backgrounds – natural science, medicine, social science and engineering - and expose them to a range of topics and disciplines. On completion, all graduates will have a deep knowledge and appreciation of both basic and translational medical and biomedical research methods. The programme will leverage our research excellence and international partnerships, especially with Imperial College London, to equip our students with the scientific, interpersonal and management skills required of the next generation of leaders in health policy, medical research and industry.
An Innovative MBBS Programme
Built upon an ethos of patient-centred care and innovation, the MBBS programme led by Vice-Dean (Education) Assoc Prof Naomi Low-Beer and Vice-Dean (Clinical Affairs) Assoc Prof Pang Weng Sun, takes advantage of key strengths at Imperial and NTU in Science, Engineering, Business, Education and Humanities. Patient-centred care and innovation is core throughout the course and the programme is delivered by means of Team-Based Learning (TBL), seminars, clinical postings, and apprenticeships. LKCMedicine emphasises the scientific basis of medicine but its clinical relevance is exemplified at every stage by the use of clinical scenarios in all parts of the programme.
The IT-enabled basis for the curriculum and its delivery will be extensive and innovative. New technological approaches to learning are explored, the School being the first in Southeast Asia to do virtual dissection on the Anatomage Table, which offers an interactive 3D experience. We are pioneering the use of plastinated bodies for medical education in Singapore. Clinical training is enhanced by maximal use of the simulation technology (SIMTAC) facilities of the National Healthcare Group (NHG). For example, students participate in haemorrhage, abdominal pain and jaundice simulation at SIMTAC, Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The School has chosen to use TBL as its anchor pedagogical approach in order to maximise teaching time and interaction with students. It is a student-centred educational approach that is facilitated by educators, clinicians and scientists and incorporates multiple small groups of five to seven students within a single classroom and has been used effectively with both large (>100 students) and smaller classes (< 25 students). Watch the pedagogical highlights here:
New Medical Education Research Unit (MERSU)
In 2015, LKCMedicine launched its new Medical Education Research & Scholarship Unit (MERSU), a boost to efforts in medical education research and scholarship here and globally. More than 80 medical education researchers and scholars attended the opening seminar at LKCMedicine’s Novena Headquarters, which featured local and international medical education research experts. MERSU will take a programmatic approach to medical education research and scholarship. Its research will focus on four key themes: Assessment of Competence; Professionalism and the Development of Professional Identity; Use of Technology-rich Pedagogical Approaches to Enhance Learning and Teaching; and Student and Faculty Experience. It will also focus on building capability through the development and mentorship of individual faculty and clinicians. Assoc Prof Katharine Boursicot, Assistant Dean (Assessment & Medical Education Research), is Director of MERSU.
New Buildings and the Future Classrooms
The medical school’s seven-storey Experimental Medicine Building, opened in July 2015, and is the first to showcase LKCMedicine’s future classrooms. Built around interactive team-based learning, the “Learning Studio” at the EMB will further enhance the student experience at LKCMedicine. Research laboratories and intuitively designed breakout areas housed in the EMB will encourage students, researchers and staff from different faculties to meet up and ignite partnerships across disciplines.
Over at the Novena campus, work on the 20-storey Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) is well underway. To be completed by middle of 2016, it too will have a “Learning Studio” and additionally, an “Alcove Cluster” at its heart. Additional facilities in the CSB include dedicated House Rooms for LKCMedicine’s five houses – Lim Boon Keng, Wu Lien-Teh, Sir Alexander Fleming, William Osler and Marie Curie – as well as recreational and community spaces, including a sports’ hall and rooftop library.
LKCMedicine’s Research Strategy
Professor of Developmental Biology Philip Ingham, FRS was appointed Vice-Dean (Research) in 2014. Prof Ingham is also the School’s inaugural Toh Kian Chui Distinguished Professor. The latter is the first donor-endowed professorship at LKCMedicine. The School also appointed the following Scientific Directors to head key disease-based research themes:
Scientific Directors||Research Themes|
|Prof Bernhard Boehm||Metabolic Disorders|
|Prof George Chandy||Infection and Immunity|
|Prof Balazs Gulyas||Neuroscience and Mental Health|
|Prof Artur Schmidtchen||Dermatology and Skin Biology|
The integrated translational and clinical research strategy draws on Imperial College London’s and NTU’s research strengths and technology resources as well as track record of reaping synergies between medicine, science and technology; and the unique patient and case mix of our primary healthcare partner, NHG, and the sister hospitals.
There is an epidemic of obesity and related disorders, in particular Type 2 diabetes, engulfing the world. To develop preventive measures and effective therapies, a clearer understanding of the genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying disease progression is urgently needed.
The Singapore Phenome Centre at NTU was established in Dec 2014 to catalyse the research between genetic and phenotypic variation at the level of the metabolome, as well as interaction with the microbiome (LKCMedicine/SCELSE).
A Memorandum of Understanding between NHG and NTU/LKCMedicine was signed on 13 January 2015 for the establishment of a BioResource for multi-relational collection of clinical, socioeconomic and -omic information of volunteer patients with metabolic conditions of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia in Singapore.
The clinically based research is complemented by research in model organisms on fatty acid and lipid metabolism, and pancreatic islet cell biology and pathology. The latter exploits a unique in vivo imaging approach whereby islet-cell function and survival can be studied non-invasively, longitudinally and at single-cell resolution. The establishment of this technique at LKCMedicine provides opportunities to analyse non-human primate islet function in models of metabolic disease that are unparalleled anywhere in the world.
Neuroscience and Mental Health
Among the main healthcare challenges in Singapore, neurological and psychiatric diseases play a significant role. Neurodegenerative diseases, pathological ageing, psychiatric disorders, brain trauma and cerebrovascular catastrophes, including stroke, as well as other mental health disorders require complex solutions and coordinated actions of clinicians, nurses, health care managers, policy makers and biomedical researchers.
The School’s research in neuroscience and mental health focuses primarily on ageing-related neurological and mental disorders. The identification of novel biomarkers for earlier detection and ultimately prediction of neurodegenerative diseases will enable monitoring of therapies designed to stop, slow or reverse neurodegeneration, as well as generating new approaches to patient population stratification, allowing more effective targeting of therapy and providing highly profiled cohorts for clinical trials. Development of new therapies for neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders requires a better understanding of the genetic basis of these diseases.
The development of the proposed Human Brain Imaging Centre@NTU with NTU Schools and the Human Brain Bank jointly with National Neuroscience Institute and Imperial College London will provide the state-of-the art multi-modality platforms to catalyse translational neuroscience research at the School, across NTU schools and with healthcare partners.
Patient-derived induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells provide a powerful new approach to the functional analysis of disease causing genes. Expertise in this approach will be established in the School’s ES and iPS Cell Technology Unit.
Infection and Immunity
Increasing microbial resistance to commonly used drugs and the emergence of novel viral strains pose a growing threat to global health. As with the other disease themes, a key approach to this problem will be genetics-based, taking advantage of Singapore’s unique population structure and its exposure to specific pathogens such as Dengue virus. The genetic factors that mediate pathogen transmission within host populations, as well as the role of interaction between invading pathogens and the host microbiota in the progression of infection, will be identified. Another important approach will be epidemiological analysis and transmission surveillance of infectious agents, such as Dengue virus and Plasmodium, as well as the design and implementation of vaccine trials.
A second focus of the research theme is the use structure-driven high throughput screening to identify and develop small-molecule inhibitors for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis, hospital-acquired infections due to Gram-negative bacteria, and Dengue virus infection. These studies will also contribute to vaccine development.
Prof Wilder-Smith currently leads an international research consortium funded by the EU Commission-DengueTools to investigate the air-travel interconnectivity of travellers with dengue returning from Angola in South West Africa to six countries on four continents.
Dermatology and Skin Biology
As part of Singapore’s strategy to broaden the biomedical sciences sector, translational skin research has been singled out as a new strategic research thrust for the Singapore Biomedical Sciences Initiative.
The Skin Research Institute of Singapore was established in Sept 2013 jointly with A*STAR, the National Skin Centre (NSC)/NHG and LKCMedicine/NTU. This tripartite partnership aims to integrate basic and applied research with the needs and expertise of the clinical communities, forming interdisciplinary teams to address new frontiers in skin research with the aim of developing innovative technologies and therapies here in Singapore. The joint A*STAR-NSC/NHG-LKCMedicine/NTU Skin Research Grant Call was launched with the first grant awards given in August 2014.
LKCMedicine’s major research focus in this area is on wound healing, especially non-healing leg ulcers, a major complication of diabetes. The innate immune system’s role in wound healing and the skin’s response to microbes is also being investigated, together with the impact of biofilms and their effects on wound healing. Other active areas of research include basal cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and inflammatory and immune skin disorders.
While medical science and technology have advanced at an unprecedented rate, the health care delivery systems have fallen far short in their ability to translate new knowledge into practice. Singapore’s outstanding healthcare system, like all around the world, faces many new challenges including ageing society, increased multi-morbidity, medical advances, rapidly growing population health needs and expectations. The challenge of these is immense and in response, the Singapore government is tripling healthcare budget in just seven years.
2015 marked a fundamental shift in the healthcare landscape in Singapore as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced four shifts in Singapore’s approach to healthcare. These more than ever require population health management. The proposed Institute of Population Health, to be established jointly with NHG will be a unique concentration of interdisciplinary research and education responding to Singapore’s and the world’s grave population health triple challenge to: 1) promote healthy living, 2) support active ageing, 3) improve healthcare – with a distinctly Asian emphasis.
Assoc Prof Josip Car leads the Population Health research concentrating on the three forces of healthcare change: personalisation, integration and industrialisation with the aim to improve healthcare both in Singapore and globally.
Chromosome Biology and Genomic Instability
The disruption of genome integrity has multiple consequences, giving rise to a variety of human diseases, including those of the central nervous system, the skin and musculoskeletal system, as well as to premature ageing and cancer. The research in Chromosome Biology and Genomic Instability is bolstered by:
Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Developmental biology has revolutionised biomedical science over the past three decades, providing unprecedented insights into pathological processes, and pioneering the stem cell techniques used in cell replacement therapies. In addition, models of human disease in organisms such as the fruit fly Drosophila and the zebrafish Danio rerio are now well accepted. LKCMedicine has world leading strength in the analysis of key intercellular signaling systems, particularly the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway. Such research will continue to inform the development of tissue engineering and cell replacement therapies. The School plans to develop zebrafish models of infection, inflammation, behavioural disorders, metabolic, neurodegenerative and skin diseases to provide the basis for screens of FDA approved drugs, as well as uncharacterised chemical libraries.
LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship
The LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship was launched in year 2013, with the inaugural award won by Dr Hou Han Wei. Dr Hou undertook postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and brought his expertise in microfluidics/ “organ on a chip” technologies to the School, with the potential for collaborations between LKCMedicine and other research groups at NTU.
The LKCMedicine Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014 was awarded to Dr Lim Shu Hui and Dr Rathi Saravana. Dr Lim obtained her postdoctoral training at IMCB and the IFOM-p53 Joint Research Lab at A*STAR. Hosted at the laboratory of Professor of Molecular Medicine Dean Nizetic, Dr Lim proposes to study the non-mitotic roles of cell cycle proteins in neurological disorders. Dr Lim’s fellowship will commence on 1 April 2015. Dr Saravana obtained her postdoctoral training at NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering and will be hosted at the laboratory of Professor of Dermatology and Skin Biology Artur Schmidtchen where she plans to investigate endogenous peptides for wound healing and infection. Dr Saravana’s fellowship commenced in January 2015.
Publications and Citations
A total of 159 peer-reviewed journal publications affiliated to the School had been published since FY2012 (see Figure below). The number of publications with impact factor greater than five is 88. The number of publications with impact factor greater than 10 is 28.
Research Competitive Grants
From year 2012 to date, the total number of competitive grants that has been awarded is 18, with total awarded grant value of $12.5m. The breakdown according to different grant types is described below.
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21. College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
The College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) has always striven to attract the best students, for whom there are many options, including studying overseas. Fortunately, more top students are joining HASS, as evident from the scholarship numbers. In 2009, HASS had only 9 scholars. In 2014, however, the number had increased more than 16 times to 132 scholars. Top students will help raise the overall intellectual tenor of the College. HASS has introduced several interdisciplinary Minors and joint programmes with other colleges have been introduced or will be introduced shortly. These include a joint programme with Engineering in Society and Urban Systems, and a significant component of the curriculum of the new Asian School of the Environment in the College of Science.
HASS has been entrusted with developing the University Scholars Programme (USP), designed to attract top students into the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The USP, which has a strong liberal arts orientation and emphasizes leadership development, will come under College ownership from Academic Year 2015. The Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) and CN Yang Scholars Programme, premier programmes for engineering, and science and engineering students, respectively, will also be integrated more fully with USP.
To develop talent for academia and attract future faculty, a postdoctoral fellowship scheme has been established. Up to six fellowships may be granted each year. In 2014, over 200 applications were received. To encourage more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents of Singapore to pursue an academic career in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, a special programme called HASS International PhD Scholarship (HIPS) was launched in 2014. Under HIPS, top students will be selected and supported for their entire PhD studies overseas. Fresh local PhDs can also be considered under this scheme for a postdoctoral fellowship overseas. Upon their return, they would be appointed as tenure-track assistant professors.
The College hosted its Visiting Committee (VC) on 8 to 11 March 2015. The Committee comprised eminent academics, all of whom with senior academic leadership experience, and prominent representatives from government and the private sector.
School of Art, Design and Media
The School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) took in its first cohort of MA (by Research) students in August 2014. ADM now offers a full suite of degree programmes leading from the BFA to the MA and PhD.
ADM hosted the First International Conference on Heritage Science as a Complex System. This annual conference, organised by ADM Associate Professor Andrea Nanetti and SPMS Assistant Professor Siew Ann Cheong, is a collaboration between ADM and the NTU Para Limes.
On February 19 - 22, 2014 ADM hosted the conference on “British Empire and the Great War: Colonial Societies / Cultural Responses”. The event, organised by ADM Associate Professor Michael Walsh, included keynote speakers from Yale University and the University of Oxford.
During 2014, ADM held six exhibitions in its Gallery. This included "S. Sudjojono: Lives of Pictures" from January 18 - 1 March, 2014 which featured artworks by the late Indonesian painter, S. Sudjojono (1913-1986), considered as the father of modern painting in Indonesia. Other exhibits included "FAITH and FAIRY TALES: New Media Art for Thailand," an exhibition of works by eight Thai artists, from March 15 - April 17; "ADM Grad Show 2014" which showcased graduating ADM BFA student FYPs, from May 10 - 18, 2014 ; "Perception and Delusion," a collaborative exhibition by prize winning water color painter Ng Woon Lam and character painter Don Low Chee Mun, from September 6 - 19, 2014; "SENSE & SENSUALITY: The Art & Aesthetics of Wearable Technology" from October 24 - November 8, 2014; "[RE]CONNECT: Post-Modern Documentary Photography Exhibition" a collaboration between ADM and Purdue University in the United States, from November 20 - December 20, 2014.
In 2014, ADM Assistant Professors Peer Sathikh and Gul Inanc initiated a multi-year series of special events on Islamic Art and Design, starting with Defining Contemporary Islamic Art in Asian and European Contexts symposium.
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In the 10 years since its founding, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) has developed into an international centre of intellectual activity. HSS hosted five major international conferences in 2014 that were attended by scholars from all over the world. Numerous more specialised workshops were also organised that were well attended by both local and international participants. HSS has continued to develop its academic offerings with a new Philosophy programme and a minor in Chinese Creative Writing.
Over the last year, HSS hosted several international conferences.
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
i. The Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) offers a multiple-course sequence on digital media entrepreneurship. Courses will concentrate on business models and law applicable to digital media, and give students practice in generating and developing creative ideas into business proposals.
ii. The Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) launched a new undergraduate concentration in Information Analytics in August 2015. The IS Data Analytics concentration aims to address the need within today’s society for the skills necessary to understand, interpret and act upon large volumes of data from a variety of sources.
iii. The Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI), together with School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Asian Consumer Insight (ACI)/Nanyang Business School (NBS) and School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), Institute of Media Innovation (IMI), and Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE), has obtained university grant of $2.2M to set up a multidisciplinary research hub that will take research in cognitive, psychological, behavioral and social sciences to a new frontier.
Physiological, BehAvioral and
(COGPASS) Research Hub will equip researchers with cutting edge technologies and research lab facilities to explore and expand research horizons in the cognitive, physiological, behavioral and social sciences through three main laboratories: (i) Cognition Research (CR) Lab; (ii) Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) Lab; and the Integrated Multi-Sensory Research (IMSR) Lab. The expert technologies and facilities offered through the integration of these laboratories will spearhead a holistic and cutting-edge environment for scholars and researchers in the social and behavioral sciences.
Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)
The Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Singapore is a major research centre of NTU. It was formed in 2013, with the support of the Economic Development Board of Singapore, in the art belt in Gillman Barracks. Professor Ute Meta Bauer, the Founding Director of CCA, is a distinguished scholar and curator of contemporary art.
The work of CCA intertwines three distinct areas: exhibition, artist residency, and education and research under an overarching focus on “Spaces of the Curatorial”. Several critically acclaimed exhibitions have already been presented at the CCA Exhibition Centre in Gillman Barracks, including “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia,” which was part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art initiative and which has won the 2015 Prudential Eye Award for Best Exhibition of Asian Contemporary Art.
The Artist Residency Programme facilitates the production and creation of works by established and emerging international and Singaporean artists to establish Singapore as an important art production centre in the region. With studios located in Gillman Barracks, the resident artists of CCA also interact with students and the public. To date, CCA has hosted 18 artists under this programme; up to 36 are expected to have made CCA their home before the end of 2016. Though the visits may be for varying duration, together the artist residency programme will help create a vibrant community which would contribute significantly to the life of Gillman Barracks and the regional contemporary art scene at large.
The exhibitions, residencies and all related public programmes have brought in close to 30,000 visitors.
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