Indian Tech Billionaire Gives S$4 million to NTU for Smart City Research


Indian tech billionaire gives S$4 million to NTU for Smart City research

1 June 2018

A historic gift of S$4 million by Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures, co-founder and former CEO of Indian IT giant Infosys, was announced today to support postdoctoral and student research activities at NTU. Of the S$4 million, S$2 million will go towards creating the Gopalakrishnan-NTU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship that will enable some of the world’s most promising postdoctoral candidates to carry out their research at NTU.

Of the other S$2 million, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras will each receive about S$1 million, which will fund research collaborations for their students at NTU.

Mr Gopalakrishnan said, "I have been impressed with the quality education and experience that NTU Singapore provides. I am more than delighted to partner NTU in this transformative Fellowship programme that aims to attract the brightest postdoctoral researchers to NTU. The new Fellowship is an exciting endeavour that will inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers and leaders to push forward the boundaries of knowledge, leading to life-changing discoveries and policies that will shape the world’s future."

NTU is also appointing Mr Gopalakrishnan as the university's Nanyang Visiting Professor of Practice, in recognition of his distinguished career and outstanding contribution to the information technology industry. As a visiting professor, Mr Gopalakrishnan will be at NTU several times in a year to give lectures and to mentor students and faculty in innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and the creation of new businesses.

NTU will also have new joint PhD programmes with IIT Madras and IIT Bombay, as well as a research programme with the IISc. These will leverage the complementary strengths of the partner institutions in key areas, such as science, engineering, design and management.

NTU, which already has seven satellites orbiting the Earth since 2011, is also collaborating with Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) in space science and technology, including joint satellite projects. Both parties are also keen to develop a sustained exchange programme on space research.

In the area of digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI), NTU will enter into a research partnership with the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), a policy think tank of the Indian government. Application areas include healthcare, cybersecurity and e-governance.

NTU’s ties with Indian partners reach a new high

The new agreements will build on the already strong areas of collaboration between NTU Singapore and India's leading institutions. Faculty from NTU and their colleagues in India have co-authored almost 800 publications in the past 5 years from 2012 to 2017. Five subjects stand out as having the most number of joint publications – engineering, chemistry, physics, materials science and computer science, Prof Suresh said.

"NTU is committed to working together with our Singapore, Indian and global partners to train students, scholars and leaders who will contribute to the betterment of our society and create a better future for everyone, especially in Asia."

India is also embarking on its ambitious Digital India programme and is creating a network of smart cities across the country to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

The NTU Smart Campus is already a living testbed for smart technologies developed by NTU researchers, students and industry partners, such as Alibaba, Volvo and Singtel to develop and test tomorrow’s technologies before they are deployed in the market.

"Through engagement and partnerships with India, NTU researchers and students will have an opportunity to apply their cutting-edge research in a diverse society of 1.3 billion people," Prof Suresh said.

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