Environmental challenges such as natural disasters and climate change threaten the sustainability of life on Earth. Billions of lives are lost every year to natural disasters while climate change is reportedly the biggest threat facing humanity today, according to the United Nations. The ability to produce sufficient food also depends on geographical factors such as the area of land available for agriculture.
Through fundamental and applied research, NTU scientists are mitigating the effects of natural disasters and climate change as well as meeting the demand for food with alternative food sources.
Mitigating natural disasters and climate change
The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) was established to conduct fundamental research on earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and climate change in and around Southeast Asia, towards safer and more sustainable societies.
Through the study of sediment samples from around the island, research at EOS has unveiled the longest record of sea-level history in Singapore, helping to predict sea-level rises in the future.
Using remote sensing and cloud computing technologies, the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) system, a collaboration with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that is established at NTU’s Earth Observatory Singapore (EOS) maps the impacts of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region so that aid can be provided in a timely manner.
The Asian School of the Environment (ASE) is NTU’s interdisciplinary school that integrates earth and environmental life science, ecology, engineering and technology, human ecology, humanities, and the social sciences to address key issues in the environment and sustainability.
Research at the school focusses on global environmental change and geohazards that threaten resources, and environmental predictability, which human societies rely on. A recent study from ASE found that even modest sea-level rise will limit the growth of corals, which protect coastlines from storms and erosion, and reduce biodiversity.
Innovative and sustainable ways to meet the growing demand for food
Food security is an important priority in land-scarce countries like Singapore that have limited space to grow food.
NTU is well-positioned to be a key partner in achieving this national priority, through research such as the production of alternative proteins.
In 2019, the F&N-NTU F&B Innovation Lab, spearheaded by the Food Science and Technology programme (FST) and Fraser and Neave (F&N)’s Research & Development (R&D) department, was set up to develop new beverages with additional health benefits. Other research projects will also look into maintaining the freshness of products as well as developing new solutions for environmentally friendly packaging.
More recently, the Future Ready Food Safety Hub (FRESH), a partnership between NTU, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), was launched in 2021 to drive food safety research for ‘Food Safety
Science & Innovation’ under the Singapore Food Story (SFS) R&D Programme. It is also tasked with helping build local food safety science capabilities in support of Singapore’s growing food innovation ecosystem.
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