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​Speech by NTU President at the launch of the NTU-NUS PhD Exchange Programme

Published on: 03-Apr-2019

Speech by

Professor Subra Suresh
President, Nanyang Technological University 

Launch of the NTU-NUS PhD Exchange Programme

Reality Theatre, Research Techno Plaza
Tuesday, 2 April 2019


Good afternoon everybody and thank you for coming to NTU.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS,

Friends and colleagues from NUS,

Students, and friends from NTU, 

Welcome. I think this is an important milestone for both NTU and NUS, and I think it's also very good milestone for Singapore. 

We have two universities here in Singapore - two large universities - that in the past two decades or so have risen to become leaders, not just in creating new knowledge, educating students, and incubating technological innovation in Singapore, the region and around the world, but the two universities have also been viewed by peers worldwide, as global leaders. 

Given that each of the two universities have numerous collaborations and formal agreements for students to take classes in other universities across the world, we don't have similar arrangements in our own small country here. And this is something that is relatively easy to fix. 

Little more than a year ago, in January of 2018, Prof Tan Eng Chye reminded me that we were walking through lunch together in Davos during our first month of our respective jobs, and the idea of a collaboration between NTU and NUS was a topic of discussion and we both felt that we should do it. 

I came and spoke to NTU Provost Prof Ling San who became very enthusiastic about it. Eng Chye also spoke his leadership team and were also enthusiastic about it. NTU then had a new graduate college established and Jimmy Hsia joined us as the Dean of NTU's Graduate College and also became very enthusiastic about it. 

So, here we are today, which I think is a very good occassion. So what does this entail? It entails that if a student is an NUS student enrolled in PhD in any programme within NUS, that student can take any PhD classes at NTU, in any field, and vice versa.

Now, I know that many people in Singapore would think that the travel distance and time between NUS and NTU is very large when you compare it to the size of Singapore. But on the other hand, universities that are located much farther apart in different parts of the world have had successful arrangements like this for many decades. 

So this gives our students enormous opportunities to maximise the resources available within Singapore at both universities. We are launching this programme initially for a three-year period to see what works and the issues faced, so that we can find ways for course corrections and see how we can improve on this. 

If it is successful, we can expand this to include other exciting things as well. That is our aspirations and goal and I think its a "win-win" for both universities. I know that there are 18 PhD students in the room from NTU, and about 12 or so from NUS. I think its a big win for all our PhD students in both universities. But above all I think it's a big win for Singapore and Singaporean taxpayers as this is an opportunity to leverage resources within the nation. 

I hope that several other things will come out of this beyond just taking classes. For example, students from one university will have the opportunity to interact with other PhD students, professors and teaching assistants, that may lead to new research collaborations. For example, two professors who have not have known or met each other may collaborate through the student as they often serve as a catalyst. So that could be a beneficial outcome from this. 

I also hope that overtime, this will lead to leveraging of research facilities and resources, so that we can judiciously get the best equipment from Singapore that are shared and fully utilised at both universities. 

With that I would like to welcome NUS President Prof Tan Eng Chye, and congratulate colleagues at both institutions. I also want to thank Prof Jimmy Hsia, NTU Provost Prof Ling San, and Prof Tjin Swee Chuan from the Provost office, for the hard work over the past few months, and many other colleagues from NUS and NTU. From NUS side, besides Tan Eng Chye, I would like to thank Ho Teck Hua and Freddy Boey and their colleagues for all their hard work in this joint effort. 

So without further ado, I am extremely delighted to participate in this very important event. 

Thank you.


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