MOU Signing Ceremony between NTU and WUR on Food Science and Technology

Published on: 25-Jan-2013

Opening Remarks by





Signing Ceremony

MOU between NTU and WUR on Food Science and Technology


Reception Room, NTU Administration Building

Friday, 25 January 2013, 10.15 am

Your Excellencies
Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands,
His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange,
Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of The Netherlands,
Ministers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me extend a very warm welcome to the Dutch Royal family. It is a great honour to have Your Excellencies here with us today in Singapore at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

I would also like to thank Your Excellencies for your strong support of the visionary partnership between Singapore and The Netherlands, and in particular, between NTU and Wageningen University.

Today, we are gathered here to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between our university and Wageningen in Food Science and Technology. This partnership is inspired by our shared objectives in promoting and accelerating the progress of research, education and training in this increasingly important area. It is our shared hope that what we do can contribute to the future security and sustainability of the world's food supply.

Even though Singapore’s agricultural sector is almost non-existent, the food industry here has been a significant component of the economy. According to IE Singapore, Singapore's food and beverage exports grew almost 20 per cent on-year to over S$10 billion in 2011. And that could increase at similar rates going forward.

Many multinational food companies from the Netherlands have set up their manufacturing and R&D facilities in Singapore. They include global brands like Heineken, Unilever, FrieslandCampina, Avebe, Royal Cosun,Vitablend, Purac and DSM.
And now we are glad that Wageningen University, recognised as one of the leading research centres in Food Science and Technology in Europe and the world, is also having its presence here in Singapore via this collaboration with NTU. NTU, the largest engineering college in the world, will also bring our expertise and experience into this partnership to make it a success.

NTU is a global top-ranked university and going into new research areas with partnerships with top universities such as Wageningen will fuel our ascent further. NTU made a quantum leap in 2012, jumping to 47th place in the QS World University ranking and rocketing 83 places to the 86th position in the Times Higher Education ranking of the world’s top 100 universities. Among the world’s young universities below the age of 50, NTU was ranked 4th globally by QS and 16th by Times Higher Education.

The School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at NTU and the Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences at Wageningen are currently exploring the possibility of allowing NTU undergraduates to take up modules so as to enable them to specialise in food science and technology.

In the next few years, NTU aims to develop full-fledged programmes in food science and technology at both the undergraduate and Master’s level, involving more schools and departments from both NTU and Wageningen. This will contribute to a critical mass of trained manpower for the food industry both locally and regionally.

On the research front, the initial area of collaboration will be focused on the conversion of agricultural raw materials into high-value food ingredients, as well as sustainable food production including conversion of waste to food supplements. As human health depends strongly on the diet, many endemic diseases are closely related to an unbalanced diet. Thus, our research efforts will also aim to establish a deeper understanding of the link between the intake of food products and ingredients and their effects on health.

These areas have strong relevance for Singapore and helped to shape the long-term, visionary partnership between NTU and Wageningen. And because of the inter-disciplinary nature of Food Science and Technology, other schools in NTU are well positioned to be part of this collaborative effort and will bring our strategic partnership to greater heights.

We look forward to many years of meaningful and fruitful partnership with Wageningen University.

Thank you.



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