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Welcome Address by Professor Subra Suresh, President, NTU, at the POWERS Panel Discussion

Welcome Address by

Professor Subra Suresh

President, Nanyang Technological University

POWERS Panel Discussion
Thursday, 7 April 2022, at 12:35-12:40 AM
NEC Auditorium, NTU Yunnan Garden Campus

Guest of Honour, Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower,

Distinguished Guests,

Friends and colleagues,


Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon and welcome to NTU. I am pleased to welcome all of you who are attending in person and online to today’s panel discussion, organised by POWERS. 

POWERS is an acronym for Promotion of Women in Engineering, Research and Science. It is a programme hosted by Women@NTU and funded by the Ministry of Education. Since its launch last year, which was also the Year of Celebrating Singapore Women, POWERS has been pushing boundaries at NTU and beyond. Its co-founder and co-chair, NTU Associate Professor Sierin Lim will later in this programme describe the history and progress of POWERS.

As part of the NTU 2025 strategic plan which charts out the University’s ambitions and goals over the next several years, NTU strives to foster a diverse, inclusive, and cohesive community. We are committed to ensuring that our One NTU community continues to be a place of respect, fairness, and equal opportunity for everyone.

Last week, we hosted Minister Indranee Rajah to discuss issues that women face in the workplace and at home. Despite the progress that women have made through the decades, there are still more men than women in many STEM fields, and in senior positions in most sectors in the world. Yet, various studies have shown that diversity in corporate leadership often results in increased company performance and productivity within research teams, and lead to higher returns on investment. Likewise, many academic institutions have also benefited from diversity. At NTU, I am glad that we are seeing more women appointed to leadership roles in both academic units and administration in the last four years as vice presidents, Deans, heads of administrative divisions and school chairs. We still have a long way to go and should continue to work in this regard.  

In the 21st century, where nearly every aspect of our lives is being shaped by technology and Industry 4.0 era, women will play increasingly important roles, especially in the STEM sectors. As a training ground for future leaders in STEM, NTU has an obligation to provide a conducive environment for our students – both women and men – to pursue their passions in STEM, and the University remains committed to providing providing integrated structural support system that our students need to thrive and develop their full potential.

As a research-intensive university, NTU is aware of the challenges and opportunities for women in STEM. I am optimistic and confident that we can continue to achieve progress. NTU and Singapore can be at the forefront of this push toward gender diversity and inclusivity. In this regard, NTU aspires to be the university that serves as a model for the rest of Asia and beyond.

Today’s panel discussion is certainly timely as the Singapore government had published the white paper on women’s development just last week. At today’s session, we will be discussing two whitepapers that were recently published by the Singapore Government on women’s development, and the findings of a research study by POWERS on “Closing the STEM Gender Gap in Singapore”.

Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower will touch on the opportunities in the workplace that are essential to women’s career progression in STEM. The panel will also highlight the importance of the close working relationship among academia, industry, and government in preparing future women leaders for Singapore. I also thank the Minister for his commitment to support the POWERS programme, personally, through an endowment named after his late father Mr. Tan Seow Chiap. Thank you very much.

I welcome all of you to join in this important conversation on Singapore women’s development, and I hope that we can continue to work closely together to make positive changes happen in the STEM workforce at NTU and beyond.  

Thank you very much.