News Details | 23-Jul-2008

Temasek Foundation, NTU team up with Indonesian university on earthquake-resistance project

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Temasek Foundation (TF) have joined hands to bring earthquake-resistance technology to West Sumatra, Indonesia, an area prone to earthquakes.

The project is a joint endeavour between NTU’s Lien Institute for the Environment (LIFE) and Indonesia’s Universitas Andalas Padang (UNAND). The project, costing about S$313,000, is co-funded by LIFE and Temasek Foundation. 

The project, which takes place at Lasi Polyclinic in the Candung Sub-District of Agam District of West Sumatra, consists of three parts – strengthening Lasi’s main polyclinic to improve the building’s earthquake resistance, improving sanitation and clean water supply, and training the locals in good construction practices. The training facility will be used as a model building to showcase good construction practices for other local masons in West Sumatra and beyond  (Please refer to the attached factsheet for project details). 

The six-month training programme began with a group of 20 faculty members from UNAND’s Department of Civil Engineering who were selected to form a core group of master trainers.  Training for these master trainers started in March 2008.  To further transfer this knowledge to the local community, 45 local masons will also learn proper construction techniques and canvas strengthening techniques.  A demonstration of the newly learnt techniques and skills by the master trainers and masons was witnessed today by Temasek Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Benedict Cheong, Professor Pan Tso-Chien LIFE Chairman and Dean, College of Engineering at NTU, LIFE Director Associate Professor Li Bing and UNAND Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Dr Febrin Ismail.

“Temasek Foundation is pleased to support such a meaningful programme. We hope that this capability building training will help the community with the skills and knowledge needed for the construction of structures with greater earthquake resilience,” said Mr Benedict Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Foundation.

Eventually, 450 more local masons in West Sumatra are expected to learn these techniques when the first group of trainees begin to impart their knowledge.

Professor Pan Tso-Chien, LIFE Chairman and Dean, College of Engineering at NTU mentioned that this project is part of the University’s outreach programme in an effort to ‘bridge the last mile’. NTU has been using its technological expertise to develop simple, affordable and easily applicable technologies for strengthening of structures especially health centres and schools in seismically active places. These technologies help to increase resilience of buildings thereby giving the occupants enough time to move to safety during an earthquake, thus saving precious lives.

LIFE Director, Associate Professor Li Bing, says, “Over the years, NTU has served many institutions and communities throughout Singapore and around Asia in the development of seismic protective systems and improvement of seismic resilience. NTU’s Earthquake Engineering Research Group is dedicated to the study of earthquakes, their effects on building structures and methods of preventing or reducing losses from their damaging effects. This three-party partnership is an excellent example of how we can work together to bring our technological know-how to where it is needed most. NTU, through LIFE, provided the technology. UNAND provided the local knowledge and contacts. And of course, the project could not have been done without the support of Temasek Foundation. We are pleased to be able to share our know-how and proud to be part of this meaningful project. ”

Dr Febrin Ismail, Dean, Faculty of Engineering at UNAND adds, “Our team from UNAND has had the opportunity to become Master Trainers and we look forward to continually passing on our knowledge and promote sustainable development here.”  

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Media contact

Ms Jackie Yu
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
DID: 6790 5417 / Mobile: 9688 4269

Ms Caroline Tan
Associate Director, Communications
Temasek Foundation
DID: 6828 6739 / Mobile: 9768 4628

About Nanyang Technological University

About the NTU Lien Institute for the Environment (LIFE)
LIFE is an entity under the Lien Foundation - NTU Environmental Endeavour, a joint initiative between NTU and Lien Foundation that aims to improve living conditions in developing communities. LIFE is housed at NTU’s School of Civil and Environmental engineering (CEE) and draws on the School’s faculty expertise. LIFE will explore, develop and promote the use of a portfolio of low-cost, small scale, culturally acceptable environmental technology and techniques that can be deployed in developing countries. To grow its portfolio of environmental technology, LIFE's R&D staff will continuously aggregate and evaluate relevant research being done both locally and overseas. Promising research will be used to develop and produce the appropriate technologies. Working with NGOs, these technologies and ensuing products will be deployed in the field. Through LIFE, CEE’s world-class environmental technologies will be translated into sustainable solutions for developing communities. It will focus on disaster prevention as well as provide disaster relief support. Some of the areas include: providing innovative solutions for water production, sewage treatment and strengthening of masonry structures and rapidly deployable structures.

For more information, please visit

About Temasek Foundation
Temasek Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organisation anchored in Singapore that seeks to contribute to sustainable growth and a bright future of hope and opportunities for people in Asia.  The foundation works with partners to support programmes that develop people through health care, education and research, programmes that build bridges between peoples, programmes that build institutions of excellence through good governance and ethics, and programmes that rebuild lives and livelihoods affected by natural disasters.

For more information, please visit


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