NTU to set up centre on environmental management to train university students in Laos
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will set up a new Centre of Excellence for Environmental Management, in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in partnership with the National University of Laos (NUOL).
This new centre will serve as an integrated teaching and research facility for 2,600 environmental science undergraduates from the National University of Laos, the most established university in Laos.
Known for admitting the best students in the country, NUOL offers a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate curriculum and provides skilled manpower and resources to support Laos’ economy.
Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) will leverage NTU’s expertise in environmental engineering to support NUOL develop an environmental management curriculum for undergraduates and a research programme for post graduate students.
NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, said this tie-up will allow both universities to collaborate on research projects and to share knowledge and expertise in the areas of environmental engineering and management for sustainable development.
“As the world’s largest engineering college and the fastest-rising university in the Top 50 universities worldwide, NTU is well-known for its deep expertise in environmental and water technologies, and we are proud to share our knowledge and expertise with our partners at NUOL,” Prof Andersson said.
“This collaboration demonstrates our shared goal of furthering research in environmental science and engineering to harness its practical applications for the benefit of society, extending beyond geographical boundaries.”
The collaboration agreement between NTU and NUOL was inked last week in Vientiane, witnessed by Professor Andersson and Associate Professor Phetsamone Khounsavath, Vice President of National University of Laos. Professor Andersson was in Vientiane to lead an NTU delegation on a three-day trip to NUOL.
The partnership, the first between NTU and a Laotian university, will allow joint research projects on wastewater treatment, water quality management, and health and sanitation, as well as student and staff exchanges between both universities.
In addition, NEWRI is leading a community effort supported by the Lien Foundation, to train NUOL faculty and staff on methodologies for measurement of water quality as well as in setting up a food waste digester at the NUOL dormitories.
A local water quality test had earlier found that water at the university’s Dongbok campus is likely to be contaminated by inadequately treated wastewater. Such wastewater is also being discharged into the neighbouring wetland, threatening the supply of fresh water to local villages.
The pilot wastewater digester project is expected to improve the living conditions of some 400 students living in two campus dormitories, through better wastewater treatment and improved sanitation. The digester will produce biogas which will be used as fuel for cooking in the dormitory pantry, while the remaining waste will be composted for use at the university’s nursery and used as fertilisers for plants.
NTU student volunteers have been conducting various recycling drives and environmental workshops on composting to help increase awareness and knowledge among their Laotian counterparts.
Professor Ng Wun Jern, Executive Director of NEWRI, said a key aim of the collaboration with NUOL is to inspire the local community to take ownership and to lead efforts to improve their own local environment.
“While we develop advanced environmental and water technologies at NEWRI, we should keep in mind the need to share appropriate technologies with our neighbours, to help them improve their own environments. Sustainability is a concern for all of us,” said Prof Ng, who is also the Dean of NTU’s College of Engineering.
“Such community efforts allow us to send NTU students overseas for exposure to real-life situations and problems. This is a chance for them to participate in experiential education and to make a real impact by sharing and inspiring others with their knowledge gained at NTU. Simultaneously, we can inculcate in them important social values such as humility and respect for others, and the fact that regardless of where we are, there is always something we can learn from our partners.”
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About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new 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 on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
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 a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg