NTU’s Earth Observatory of Singapore receives endowment from the AXA Research Fund
The AXA Research Fund, a global initiative of scientific philanthropy supported by the worldwide insurance group AXA, is awarding 3 million Euros (S$5M) to the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU) to create a permanent Chair in Natural Hazards held by Prof Kerry Sieh. This is the first AXA Chair in Asia.
Inspired by the need to build sustainable societies
The enormous growth of the human population in Southeast Asia over the past six decades has exposed millions of people to natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, changing sea levels, climate change and other geological hazards. To build sustainable societies, it's become crucial to have a comprehensive panorama of natural hazards in the region combining both solid geological and social sciences.
With the endowment awarded by the AXA Research Fund, Nanyang Technological University will establish the AXA-NTU Chair in Natural Hazards at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS). These funds will strengthen the Observatory's ability to become an enduring pillar in the application of earth science to create safer and more sustainable societies in the region. The Observatory will apply the support from the endowment to focus on the areas of risk assessment and management, policy and economic issues, and education. These integrations will occur largely through joint appointments and engagements with other NTU departments and institutes.
Engaging the Community
The AXA Research Fund encourages its supported researchers to have a voice in the public debate, sharing their knowledge with their peers and improving their analysis through a multidisciplinary approach. This includes working with journalists and the media to help them inform people about the risks they are exposed to; providing government agencies with the necessary information to make accurate public decisions and working with risk experts of multiple industries – including insurance. This ensures the ongoing growth of the scientific knowledge base.
Beyond the long-term financial resources the AXA Research Fund provides, the Chair is also given the opportunity to connect to the research community of more than 300 supported researchers around the world. Tapping on this extensive worldwide network, the AXA-NTU Chair can also further disseminate its research and enrich the public’s scientific knowledge for a better awareness and mitigation of natural hazards in South East Asia.
A partnership built on shared ideals
On AXA’s generous support to bolster earth sciences at the university, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson said: “EOS rates as one of the best research institutes of its kind in the world. It is making great strides in the field of sustainability with its unique blend of geoscience and social science excellence blended into a single institution. We are proud to find a partner who has faith in our research capabilities. We are confident that NTU is a good match for AXA’s aspiration in this partnership and together, we can achieve great things for a sustainable earth.”
Prof Kerry Sieh, Chair holder and Director of the Earth Observatory, declared: “Creating connections with industry partners such as AXA will be critical to our success in contributing to a ‘Sustainable Earth,’ one of NTU's five strategic, inter-disciplinary Peaks of Excellence. These partnerships will help governments, communities and businesses anticipate and adapt creatively to environmental challenges, as well as develop and implement visionary policies to mitigate risks that Nature poses to human infrastructure."
Commenting on AXA’s commitment to this Chair, Denis Duverne, AXA Group Deputy CEO said: “The AXA Research Fund is committed to supporting countries that make academic research a cardinal point of their economic development, and that’s the case for Singapore. Therefore, in addition to supporting two Singaporean researchers working in Europe and one outstanding and innovative research project at the National University of Singapore, we are now funding the first Asian AXA Chair at the Nanyang Technological University. I think it acknowledges the international recognition and academic excellence of the Singaporean research institutions as well as AXA's long term commitment to the region. This new Chair is exactly the kind of excellence that the AXA Research Fund wants to support and to partner with to better understand and prevent risks for society at large.”
Gaëlle Olivier, CEO of AXA Asia General Insurance and sponsor of the Chair, added: “As the AXA sponsor of this Chair, I look forward to developing a fruitful and long-term relationship between AXA and the EOS. Indeed our business is to protect people against those risks to which they are most prone, and we see the research conducted by the EOS as an opportunity to bring to the debate a new approach to and analysis of mid to long-term trends. This partnership will also enhance the awareness AXA experts and management have of emerging risks. We will strive to further disseminate Prof Sieh's research throughout AXA's worldwide network in order to enrich the public’s scientific knowledge as well as contribute to the mitigation of natural hazards in South East Asia.”
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AXA Asia operations are located in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, India, Vietnam and Philippines. A total of 17,000 AXA employees, serve 6.4 million customers with a wide range of life, savings and general insurance products.
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About the AXA Research Fund
Created in 2008, the AXA Research Fund (AXA RF) provides philanthropic support for research focused on understanding and preventing the risks threatening the environment, human life and our societies. As of February 1st, 2012, Euro 76 million have been committed and the AXA RF has given its support to 289 research projects, implemented in 24 countries by researchers of 47 nationalities. In Asia and for Asian researchers, it has so far committed a sum of Euro 7 million for various projects. The funds are granted based on a decision by the Scientific Board. More details on www.axa-research.org.
About Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. In 2013, NTU will enrol the first batch of students at its new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on 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).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and is setting up a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
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