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​NTU President Suresh announces plans and priorities for the University’s next wave of major growth

Published on: 27-Aug-2018

Professor Subra Suresh, President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), has outlined strategies, priorities, and plans for the next five years to achieve the vision for the university presented in his February 2018 Inauguration address: to propel NTU in its next wave of major advance as one of the greatest global universities.

Speaking to more than 2,000 faculty and staff at a university town hall meeting, he announced specific targets and pathways that focused on:
• attracting top faculty, post-docs, staff and students to NTU Singapore;
• developing new academic and research entities and programmes that build on NTU’s unique and existing strengths;
• streamlining and enhancing administrative services and infrastructure; and
• fostering new models for inter-College collaboration and campus-wide community engagement.

Prof Suresh said: “NTU’s next phase of major growth as one of the leading global research universities will critically depend on people: the recruitment and retention of top talent among faculty, staff, post-docs and students. We are therefore very pleased to present a vision, and a means to achieving this vision, through a number of “moonshot” projects over the next five years.”

A bold five-year plan for attracting talent at all levels

Over the next five years, NTU will significantly add to its investment in people with new schemes targeted at talent recruitment. 

Starting this year, NTU will support 350 new two-year ‘post-doc’ positions to attract the best and the brightest young researchers. These post-doctoral researchers are a highly sought-after, globally mobile pool of young research stars, who not only contribute significantly to NTU’s research enterprise, but also represent a critical pool of talent for academia, industry and government in Singapore and beyond. In the past few months, the university has received two major gifts from overseas to establish funding support for a portion of this scheme.

NTU will also embark on a coordinated plan to recruit about 300 faculty members over the next five years. New mechanisms to support PhD scholarships and undergraduate internships have also been identified, along with a renewed commitment to support the recruitment of top undergraduate students through scholarships and bursaries. 

“No deserving Singaporean student will be denied a world-class education at NTU because of financial or other impediments,” Prof Suresh said.

Prof Suresh also announced plans for schemes to create up to 100 new named professorships over the next five years, with funding commitments for several new “Faculty Chairs” secured within the past few weeks. This effort will seek to increase named professorships available at NTU by ten-fold over the next five years, thereby providing a critically-needed mechanism to attract and nurture top faculty.

The university has also established a task force to identify areas for the creation of major pan-university entities for education and research that build on NTU’s globally-recognised strengths. These hubs will transform education, research, innovation and societal impact over the next decade.


NTU’s newest academic building

The university’s flagship infrastructure development will be a new $180 million academic building that will be Asia’s largest wooden building at 40,000 gross square metres (about 400,000 gross square feet) when completed in 2021.
Designed by RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, the six-storey building will be the new home for Nanyang Business School and for the activities of several other colleges and schools. Constructed using an innovative technology known as Mass-Engineered Timber, material for this building will be procured from renewable forests and prefabricated for installation on site, making it less polluting and requiring less manpower than traditional construction methods.

Prof Suresh said: “NTU’s new academic building will be our most ambitious sustainable construction project to date. Ninety-five per cent of our buildings are already certified Green Mark Platinum, and we are seeking to be the greenest university campus in the world. Bringing together our approaches to innovation and sustainability, the new academic building will be the largest wooden building in Asia, and it will exemplify our distinctive NTU Smart Campus and show that we “walk the talk” of our commitment to sustainability.”
It will feature 25 smart classrooms equipped with the latest technologies to support NTU’s flipped classroom pedagogy, where students learn course content online, and devote face time with professors, classmates and industry partners to collaborative learning.
Other major infrastructure projects outlined by Prof Suresh include doubling the solar energy harnessed to power NTU to 9.9 mega-watts by 2019. This will supply between 7 and 10 per cent of the university’s electricity needs.

Prof Suresh also announced that the rejuvenation of Yunnan Garden is on schedule and is expected to reopen at the end of 2019. Celebrating NTU’s heritage, the revitalised Yunnan Garden will be a reflective and inviting community space, taking its place alongside other campus landmarks such as The Hive, The Wave and The Arc.

Focus on creating new linkages and greater efficiencies

To encourage greater interdisciplinary collaboration between the various schools and colleges in NTU, Prof Suresh announced launch of the Accelerating Creativity and Excellence (ACE) Programme with a $10 million fund. This programme will support faculty members to catalyse bold and unconventional cross-disciplinary research across Colleges and provide seed funding for research in new areas.

Administrative and academic services will be streamlined to ensure greater support for all community members and improve efficiency of operations in work, play, living and healthy dining.

Launch of the oneNTU initiative: ECHO

At the end of the town hall meeting, Prof Suresh launched the oneNTU initiative “ECHO” which stands for NTU’s “Eco-friendly”, “Connected”, “Healthy” and “oneNTU”. ECHO will address several transformative programmes that exemplify the university’s values and research efforts.

The first programme is to enable the University to meet its commitment to reduce energy, water and waste intensity by 35 per cent in 2021, and by 50 per cent by 2025, from the levels of 2011.

From 1 October 2018, in order to encourage the use of biodegradable and recyclable materials, plastic bags will no longer be issued free of charge at all campus events, retail and food outlets. Proceeds from the sale of any plastic bags at these outlets will be channelled to NTU’s assistance fund for students. A task force comprising faculty, staff and students will also identify healthier food options at the University.

Following the meeting, 500 students joined faculty and staff to kick off the ‘oneNTU 10-Billion Steps in 53 Days Challenge’ to commemorate Singapore’s 53 years of independence through their commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

Prof Suresh said: “I’m delighted to share these strategies, priorities and ‘moonshot’ thinking that all of us at NTU can contribute to and engage with. My first eight months have been a wonderfully stimulating time listening to colleagues, learning about their ideas and aspirations, and absorbing the unique culture of our campus. Now it is exciting for all of us at the university as we come together as ‘oneNTU’ to make good on our collective vision for the next five years.”

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Media contact:

Shireen Yeo (Ms)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 12th in the world, NTU has been placed the world’s top young university for the past five years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects comprising more than 230 buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Singapore’s healthcare district.

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