News Details | 18-Oct-2010

NTU President Su Guaning announces that he will not seek new term upon completion of current term on 30th June 2011

Professor Bertil Andersson will be appointed President-Designate and Professor Freddy Boey, the Provost-Designate from 1st January 2011

Dr Su Guaning, President of NTU, announced today that he will not be seeking another term of office upon completion of his current term at the conclusion of Academic Year 2010 on 30th June 2011, after putting in place a capable succession team.

To ensure a smooth transition, the current Provost, Professor Bertil Andersson, will be appointed President-Designate on 1st January 2011 and take over officially from 1st July 2011. Professor Freddy Boey, currently the Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering, will be Provost-Designate, taking over as Provost on 1st July 2011. Further announcements on the team will be made during the transition period from 1st January 2011 to 30th June 2011.

President Su has had eight fruitful years at NTU. Since joining the university as President-Designate on 1st December 2002, he has led the university through three major ascents.

First, in 2003, he began a major expansion of the university, increasing undergraduate intake by 6,300 places which significantly expanded university accessibility for Singaporeans from 20% to 25% of the cohort. This move also saw the establishment of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Art, Design and Media, thus widening considerably the range of disciplines in the university which allowed for a New Undergraduate Experience offering more choices and options as well as a broader education.

This was further strengthened by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Undergraduate Education formed in 2007, currently under implementation. This will see the development of NTU undergraduate programmes into a broad-based, liberal model that better prepares NTU graduates to tackle real world issues and problems. A fourth new school - the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering – was also set up, expanding NTU’s engineering offerings in a precursor to the establishment of a new medical school.

In 2005, President Su led the transformation of NTU into an Autonomous University, creating from scratch the corporate framework for accountability and the academic governance framework for academic excellence. He helped recruit a number of members of the NTU Board of Trustees and developed Board oversight mechanisms. Based on the Stanford University model, he established the Academic Council representing all permanent faculty with an elected Senate and faculty-led committees to advise university leadership.

He also organised NTU into an action-oriented academic structure with four Colleges and implemented a new Appointment, Promotion and Tenure process that has dramatically enhanced faculty standards. NTU students are already gaining the benefits of the hundreds of new blood, at both junior and senior levels including a Nobel Laureate, joining the faculty.

In 2006, with the dramatic increase in research funding available with the formation of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and National Research Foundation, President Su led NTU to compete successfully for a good share of the funding. In the process, research funding at NTU increased from $31 million in 2003 to $319 million in 2009.

This increase, along with the vacancies opened up by the Appointment, Promotion and Tenure process, has enabled the university to recruit 297 new full time faculty in the last three years.  With the rapid rise in research funding and productivity, research staff grew from 606 to 1,618; Ph.D students from 1,394 to 2,701; and citations per paper from 1.41 to 4.26.

NTU is now firmly on the radar screen of world class universities. As a testimony of the respect NTU commands internationally among the world’s top technology universities, President Su was elected the founding chairman and re-elected for another two-year term as chairman of the Global Alliance of Technological Universities comprising NTU, California Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, ETH Zurich, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. NTU also has joint Ph.D. programmes with top universities such as Imperial College London, Technical University of Munich and Karolinska Institutet.

President Su built up entrepreneurship education at NTU, including cementing the partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest American foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship, to establish its first overseas Kauffman Campus at NTU.

During his Presidency, he also placed alumni affairs, including relations with Nanyang University alumni, on a sound footing. He developed a strong China agenda with executive programmes complementing six Masters Programmes, including the famed “Mayors Class”. Today, NTU has 15,000 alumni throughout China spread among 16 provincial level chapters. President Su also enhanced capabilities in fund raising and the fostering of alumni spirit, most recently reflected in a record-setting 71% participation rate in giving to NTU from the Class of 2010.

Since the recruitment of Professor Bertil Andersson as Provost in 2007, besides building a top quality faculty and leadership team, achieving a common vision, strategic plan and implementation has been a major priority. In 2009, the NTU2015 Strategy and Implementation was developed, widely debated by faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees. Today, the implementation of NTU2015 which includes a total revamp of undergraduate education and a 2010 Campus Master Plan is in progress under the Su-Andersson partnership, with the next generation of NTU leadership also taking shape.

Chairman of the NTU Board of Trustees, Mr Koh Boon Hwee, said, “The Board of Trustees is grateful to Guaning for his transformational leadership from 2002 to 2011. With the opportunities provided in the 2003 Report on Expansion of the University Sector, our corporatisation as an Autonomous University and the establishment of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and National Research Foundation, Guaning has firmly established NTU as a major driver of education and research in Singapore.

“In undergraduate education, NTU now offers students a high level, holistic and broad-based education while allowing them to also specialise in their chosen field.  As we implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission initiated by Guaning, we will transform the entire undergraduate experience yet again.

“In research, some of our programmes are already creating an impact internationally. For example, in earth sciences (in the field of paleoseismology), the Earth Observatory of Singapore at NTU is fast acquiring a reputation as a leading authority. Our new Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering is set to be at the forefront of research in the field of metagenomics. Guaning contributed significantly to putting NTU on the world map in research, and for that, we are grateful.”

 Mr Koh added: “On Guaning’s retirement from the Presidency, it is the intention of the Board of Trustees to appoint him as President Emeritus of the university in recognition of the significant contributions he has made to NTU.  As the elder statesman of NTU, we expect to see Guaning continue to play a role in enhancing NTU’s reputation internationally, and to focus on something that is close to his heart, the institutional development and alumni activities of NTU, both at home and abroad, especially in China.”

President Su’s designated successor, Professor Bertil Andersson, a world-renowned plant biochemist who joined NTU as Provost in April 2007, said, “Guaning has set the university on an accelerated path since 2003 and my job is to continue to grow the university even further. We have enjoyed a fruitful relationship and worked well as a team. Internationally, NTU is seen as one of the fastest growing universities in the world and we will continue in this direction. The next exciting development for NTU is the new medical school in partnership with Imperial College London which will bring a new dimension to medical education and research in Singapore.”

As the university's chief academic officer, Professor Andersson has been instrumental in helping to redefine education and research at NTU by championing key thrusts in science and engineering. In domains such as sustainability, healthcare, new media and innovation, he has spearheaded institutional changes that have led to bold new programmes as well as increased funding support.

A Visiting Professor and Fellow of Imperial College London (ICL), Professor Andersson is the key driver of the new medical school to be established by NTU and ICL which will train a new generation of skilled doctors to help meet Singapore’s healthcare needs. The new medical school will admit its first intake of students in 2013.

An acclaimed scientist himself, Professor Andersson has made NTU the choice institution for top young investigators keen to pursue research, having successfully attracted to NTU a host of world class academics renowned in their fields of study. They include the earth sciences dream team comprising Professor Kerry Sieh, Professor Chris Newhall and Professor Paul Tapponnier; Professor Nadia Thalmann (3D animation); Professor Rudolph Marcus (Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry); Professor Par Nordlund (structural biology); Professor Staffan Kjelleberg (microbiology); Professor Yehuda Cohen (microbiology) and Professor Vibeke Sorensen (animation).

No stranger to leading change within complex, global environments, Professor Andersson was the President of Linköping University from 1999 to 2003 and prior to his appointment as NTU Provost, the Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation from 2004 to 2007.  From 1989 to 1997, he was a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry (serving as Chairman in 1997) and from 2000 to 2006, a member of the Nobel Foundation. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nobel Foundation and as such, engages and participates in the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings.

“Through my central engagement with the Nobel Foundation, I have gained first hand insight into world-leading knowledge creation. This has also allowed me to cultivate a network of top echelon scientists which will have a positive influence on the work we do at NTU,” said Professor Andersson.

In November, Professor Andersson will receive the prestigious Wilhelm Exner Medal in Vienna, joining an illustrious list of laureates which includes 15 Nobel Prize winners. The award is in recognition of his research related to artificial leaves and its creation as well as his contributions to European and Austrian research. This Medal has been awarded since 1921 to scientists and inventors whose work has opened new possibilities in industrial applications that have shaped the world we live in today.

Taking over the role of Provost from Professor Andersson is Professor Freddy Boey, currently the Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering. Professor Boey has a string of breakthroughs in commercial biomedical applications to his name. Several of his patents are licensed to US biomedical companies and he has also founded four start-ups based on patents from his research teams. His research in biomedical devices and nano-materials includes active collaborations with the Mayo Medical Center at Rochester, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Northwestern University and the UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute.

As Principal Investigator, Professor Boey has won more than S$30 million in research grants in the last three years, with the latest being a S$10 million individual grant from the National Research Foundation’s Competitive Research Programme Grant on Fully Biodegradable Cardiovascular Implants and a joint $20 million NRF CREATE grant on Regenerative Medicine Initiative in Cardiac Restoration Therapy.

Professor Boey, who joined NTU in 1987, said, “I have had the privilege to see for myself how, in two decades, NTU has evolved into the research-intensive university of international repute that it is today. Guaning has laid a good foundation for NTU to scale even greater heights in the years ahead. I look forward to working closely with Bertil to continue the rapid growth of NTU as a research-intensive university of international repute.”

Sharing a personal note, President Su said, “It will be difficult for me to put down a burden that has also been a joy and a source of energy for me over the last eight years but renewal is a crucial stage in the life cycle of universities. Building a world class university is a marathon relay that requires the passing of the baton.

“During the remainder of my term, I will work on continuity and a seamless transition to help Bertil to build his team to continue our steep ascent. I look forward to devoting more time to my family and my personal interests, as well as focusing more on our students and the grooming of our future leadership, as a professor in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and through my continued engagement in Nanyang Business School.”

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Media contact

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Publicity, Media & Account Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6687



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