The 15-year manifesto sets bold targets for NTU’s reduction of its environmental footprint and will chart the direction of wide-range of efforts that will solidify its commitment to sustainability.
It will draw together a wide range of existing and new activities and aspirations, and encompass the actions of all employees and students, and spans all aspects of the university:
- Education & Community Engagement: Enhance education and community engagement across disciplines to address relationship with environment by bringing together approaches that examine areas such as ecosystem resilience, energy-food-water security, climate science, sociology and business
- Research: Develop strategic research domains and initiatives that serve to promote the advancement of sustainable development
- Smart & Sustainable Campus: Halve NTU’s net energy utilisation, water usage, and waste generation each by March 2026, compared to the levels of 2011
Education & Community Engagement:
To produce a new generation of scientists with leading-edge knowledge and skills to address critical global environmental challenges, a wide range of sustainability programmes at a range of levels will be offered, including:
- Over 200 elective courses in Sustainability
- New MSc degree programme in Sustainability
- New FlexiMasters in Environmental Earth Systems Science, Sustainability, and Energy
- A new Sustainability track in the MBA programme
- Bachelor of Science degree programme in Environmental Earth Systems Science
- Bachelor of Engineering degree programme in Environmental Engineering
- Interdisciplinary Minors in Environmental History, Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Management, Environmental Humanities, and Sustainability
- 2nd Majors in Environmental Science and Sustainability
- 12 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Sustainability
NTU’s commitment to developing innovative solutions to global sustainability challenges runs deep. The University has dedicated research centres focusing in the areas of sustainability such as the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N), Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Science and Engineering (SCELSE) and the Earth observatory of Singapore (EOS).
These institutes have developed numerous industry and government partnerships and are well-positioned for breakthroughs in sustainability. A few examples are highlighted below.
- Circular Economy: NTU has partnered France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to set up the NTU Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in the Circular Economy (SCARCE) to focus on innovative electronic waste (e-waste) recycling research, including the toxic plastics found on e-waste.
- Ending Plastic Waste: The NTU Institute for Science and Technology for Society (NISTH) interdisciplinary approach brings experts from the STEM and non-STEM disciplines together and spurs research to tackle important societal challenges such as the eradication of plastic waste.
- NTU has recently partnered with Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) and together have committed to S$1.2 million to fund innovative solutions for the global plastic waste problem, and will look to expanding its partnership with industry, government, research institutes and academia.
- Future Ready Food Safety Hub (FRESH) was officially launched on 27 April 2021. It is a tripartite collaboration programme between NTU, A*STAR and Singapore Food Agency (SFA), with NTU being the host organisation. FRESH is set up to drive food safety research for ‘Food Safety Science & Innovation’ under the Singapore Food Story (SFS) R&D Programme. It will also build local food safety science capabilities in support of Singapore’s growing food innovation ecosystem.
- Sustainable Agriculture SCELSE’s microbiome and biofilm approach is enabling sustainable solutions for intensive and low-impact food production through a circular economy and high protein stock feed; root-associated soil microbiomes for enhanced crop plant growth and health; and safe/sustainable poultry farming in South and Southeast Asia. This is supported by SCELSE’s strong R&D ties with industry through its SNBC alignment, and international recognition for novel multidisciplinary research.
- Agriculture Technology: NTU Centre for Optical & Laser Engineering (COLE) partners with Panasonic to research and develop real-time crop health monitoring and nutrient analysis system for waste reduction and productivity improvement in hydroponic cultivation. The project has received S$1.4M of support from A*STAR and Singapore Food Agency under the Singapore Food Story R&D Programme. The project aims to optimize crop protection and production by providing a solution for automated crop health monitoring and nutrient supply by leveraging the latest Hyperspectral Imaging (HIS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) technologies.
NTU Smart Campus:
The NTU Smart Campus is a living testbed for innovative technologies and sustainable solutions that deploy the latest digital tools and technologies.
Innovations currently undergoing research, development and testing include the following:
- NTU’s Waste to Energy research facility processes all solid waste on campus into energy.
- The Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERIAN) runs a variety of energy-related projects including green building systems for the tropics, sustainable urban mobility, energy information analytics and user behaviours for sustainability.
- Autonomous vehicles are tested at the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles at NTU (CETRAN).
- NTU’s Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator - Singapore (REIDS) testbed on Semakau Landfill is a living lab for the design, demonstration and testing of sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions for off-grid and urban communities.
- NTU’s Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) researchers, in collaboration with researchers from other institutes and government agencies in Singapore, have developed an approach using to detect COVID-19 and other viral pathogens in wastewater. By monitoring sewage from urban areas or complexes such as residential blocks, dormitories or medical facilities, they aim to rapidly identify COVID-19 outbreaks without invasive procedures involving human interactions, and in a cost-effective manner.
- The Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) at NTU is linking new insights from the life sciences with expertise from the emerging technologies in engineering and natural sciences to understand, harness and control microbial biofilm communities and microbiomes. With air sample collectors set up on the NTU campus, SCELSE scientists have discovered at least 725 different microorganisms in tropical air, and the composition of the microbial community in the tropical air changes predictably, with bacteria dominating in the day and fungi at night. This day-night pattern and the diversity of airborne microorganisms was previously unknown.