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​NTU President receives National Day honours ​

Published on: 09-Aug-2017

Professor Bertil Andersson, President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and an internationally renowned scientist has been conferred Singapore's prestigious Meritorious Service Medal for leading NTU to global distinction and for his contributions to the nation. 

The first European recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal in the past 10 years, Prof Andersson is recognised for his exceptional leadership and service to NTU, and bringing honour and prestige to the University through his commitment, foresight and distinguished accomplishments. Prof Andersson was also lauded for his outstanding contributions to the nation's higher education and research sector.

Prof Andersson said, "It is a great honour to receive this National Day Award and I appreciate all the support from Singaporeans and the Singapore government in the last 10 years of my time here. I share this huge honour with everyone on the NTU Board of Trustees, my fellow NTU colleagues, students, alumni, partners as well as the education and research fraternity in Singapore, whom I have had the privilege to work with."

"For a small country with few natural resources, Singapore is an exceptional international success story, and NTU as one of the two largest public universities here has contributed to the country's growth and development, and I am proud to have been able to play a part in that progress.

"Singapore universities are up there in the global league, with both NTU and NUS in the global top 15. So Singaporeans have much to celebrate this National Day."

In this year's Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, NTU was ranked 11th worldwide. NTU was also ranked first among the world's young universities (aged 50 and below) for the fourth consecutive year by QS.

Transforming NTU into a global university

First appointed as NTU's Provost in 2007, Prof Andersson became its President in 2011. Under Prof Andersson's strategic leadership, NTU revolutionised its education programmes, research and administration through university-wide reforms in line with best international practices. He also helped to implement an ambitious campus master plan to transform the campus' landscape and infrastructure, designed to encourage interdisciplinary interactions, and spur the creation of new knowledge and innovation.

Ardent ambassador for NTU and Singapore 

Prof Andersson has been a strong advocate of Singapore, as a place for doing cutting edge science and technology. He also expanded NTU's engagement with a host of leading institutions and companies. 

Under his leadership, NTU has established joint labs on its sprawling 200-hectare campus with leading international players such as Rolls Royce, BMW, Johnson Matthey, Lockheed Martin and Singapore's ST Engineering. These complement NTU's academic and research partnerships with some 400 institutions worldwide.

Nurturer of young talents 

A talent magnet, Prof Andersson made NTU the choice institution for top young investigators keen to pursue research and he successfully attracted to NTU a host of world class academics prominent in their fields of study.

A key talent flagship programme is the Nanyang Assistant Professorship, which has successfully attracted a new generation of promising educators and researchers to NTU, who represent NTU's future.

Today, NTU has become a choice destination for top young researchers from some of the world's best universities, and the professorship is regarded as one of the most rigorous young scientist schemes worldwide. NTU's young and upcoming scientists make up 8 per cent of the faculty, but they account for 40 per cent of the high impact publications.

He was also a key driver of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a partnership between NTU and Imperial College London. The School made history when during its inception, it received a record philanthropic gift of S$400 million with enhanced government matching, making it the largest gift ever made to a tertiary institution here.

Prof Andersson also led the A*STAR Talent Search in the last six years to nurture Singapore's brightest young minds in science and technology. The annual competition rewards students aged 15 to 21 years old who have a strong aptitude for science & technology by enabling them to showcase their innovative projects in front of distinguished scientists and Nobel Laureates, and encourages them to further explore science and technology as a career.  

Multiple award-winning Professor

Professor Bertil Andersson is stepping down as NTU President at the end of this year, and will be succeeded by American scientist Professor Subra Suresh from 1 January 2018. Throughout his illustrious career of more than 40 years in research and academia, Prof Andersson is no stranger to awards and accolades. 

Prof Andersson won the Singapore President's Science and Technology Medal and the prestigious Austrian Wilhelm Exner Medal -- both top honours in recognition of his lifetime achievements. 

The President's Science and Technology Medal conferred on Prof Andersson last year, recognised his distinguished contributions to the development of Singapore's research capabilities and his visionary transformation of NTU, which is today internationally renowned for excellence in research and education.

He also became a Fellow of the Singapore National Academy of Science in 2016, for his role in Singapore's development of science.

Over the past decade, Prof Andersson has contributed actively on the boards of Singapore's major institutions, such as the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, as well as A*STAR and the Building and Construction Authority.  He has also served on the boards of several Swedish and international foundations and learned societies.  

The Wilhelm Exner Medal, awarded to Prof Andersson in 2010, paid tribute to his research related to artificial leaves and its creation, as well as his contributions to European and Austrian research. The Medal has an illustrious list of laureates including more than a dozen Nobel Prize winners.

Among the other honours Prof Andersson has received since 2011 are ten honorary degrees from various institutions worldwide, including the University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of New South Wales and University of Southampton.

A former commando in the Swedish Armed Forces, Prof Andersson was a competitive skier who won several sports medals, before clinching medals for his globally impactful pioneering research in plant biology and photosynthesis. 

Professor Andersson, who has over 300 scientific papers published, researches on how plants cope with light and heat stress to understand how the photosynthesis process can take place under extreme conditions.  By better understanding and replicating how energy is stored and utilised through photosynthesis, it can lead to new scientific breakthroughs to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of solar technologies.

The National Day Awards will be presented to recipients at the National Day Awards Investiture at the end of this year.

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Media contact:

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director ​
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687
Email: feisalar(at)


About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world's top young university for the last three years running. The University's main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's medical district.
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