Published on 31 Mar 2021

The 5th TCTF-NTU Advanced Leadership Development Forum

The 5th TCTF-NTU Advanced Leadership Development Forum, hosted by Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA), was held online on 12 and 13 March 2021. The Forum on 12 March 2021 featured keynote speeches by academic leaders of well-known universities from China and Singapore sharing their insights on the practice and thinking of technological innovation and talent nurturing from universities' perspective and analysing the interdependent and mutually reinforcing relationship between the two. It also featured business leaders who spoke on the supply and demand of talent training from the other end of the talent chain. The Forum was sponsored by Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, NTU Singapore's Vice President for University Advancement, and Professor Cham Tao Soon, Council Member of TCTF and President Emeritus of NTU Singapore, delivered opening speeches on behalf of the organisers. 

In his opening speech, Professor Liu Hong, Director of NCPA, said that with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world, effective control measures and the invention and wide use of vaccines are paramount for ending the pandemic. The world has already witnessed the power of technological innovation in the post-COVID-19 era. Technological advancements, including vaccine research and development, AI technology, and electronic payment, have penetrated people's daily lives and have become important factors affecting human survival and development. It is foreseeable that the future trend would be the competition of scientific and technological strength.

Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, NTU Singapore’s Vice President for University Advancement,  believed that technology and talents complement each other. Technological innovation needs the support of talents, and the advancement of science and technology also puts forward higher requirements for talent nurturing. Universities are not only highlands of technological innovation but also platforms for talent nurturing. In terms of talent nurturing, universities need to cooperate with sectors where talents are needed, especially enterprises, to cultivate innovative talents that enterprises need.

As the first keynote speaker, Professor Fan Liming, President of Shandong University, used the development of the new liberal arts programme as an example to share the practice of Shandong University in advancing the cultivation of interdisciplinary talents. She believed that there are four prerequisites for the integration of the new technological revolution and liberal arts. These are the demands for new technology, demands for new industries and new business models, demands for new research breakthroughs and new talents. Shandong University promotes new liberal arts majors, establishes micro-specialisations, and creates a new liberal arts model.

In his keynote speech, Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU Singapore’s Senior Vice President for Research, spoke on how NTU Singapore advances innovation and entrepreneurship. He also spoke on the five strategies the University has adopted to prepare itself for the globalisation of its research. Prof Lam believed that forming a cooperative network is an organic process that requires strong "top-down" leadership and "bottom-up" support. The strong support of public institutions plus generous donations from the society are the driving force behind the globalisation of scientific research.

The keynote speakers on the first day of the forum included Dr Ma Weihua, Member of UNDP SDG Impact Steering Group, Chairman of National Fund for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (NFTTC), and NCPA Adjunct Professor; Professor Tan Zhemin, Executive Vice President of Nanjing University; Professor Xie Weihe, Vice Chairman of the University Council, and former Vice President of Tsinghua University; Professor Yang Xiaobo, Vice President of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China; Professor Zheng Shaonan, Party Secretary of Dalian Maritime University; Professor Wang Linfa, Professor in Emerging infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore; Professor Jiang Biao, Director of Chinese Academy of Sciences Innovation Cooperation Center (Bangkok); and a few other local business leaders. 

The second day of the forum, themed “Innovation of Science and Technology in the Post-Pandemic Era: Governance of AI Socialisation”, was organised in partnership with the Singapore-China Association for Advancement of Science and Technology (SCAAST). Dr Dai Shiyan, Deputy Director at NCPA and Professor Guo Gongxin, President of SCAAST, delivered opening speeches. Speakers include Professor Hong Yongmiao, Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries and faculty members of NTU Singapore and the National University of Singapore.

The one-and-half day Zoom webinar attracted more than 300 online attendees. Many participated in the discussion through the Q&A feature of the platform.