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New Centre for Aerospace Engineering to groom talent and advance research

22 March 2013

Minister Teo (centre) with key representatives at the launch of the new Centre for Aerospace Engineering

In response to surging interest in the aerospace sector within Asia, particularly to the development of Singapore's position as a premier aerospace hub, the NUS Department of Mechanical Engineering launched a new Centre for Aerospace Engineering (CAE) on 20 March. With an initial funding of S$1 million over three years, the centre will carry out cutting-edge research with its industry partners, DSO National Laboratories, SIA Engineering and ST Aerospace, as well as equip students with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in the field.

According to Guest-of-Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, the thriving aerospace industry - a key pillar of Singapore's economy - has an output of S$8.7 billion in 2012 which is double the amount as compared to ten years ago. The industry provides close to 20,000 varied, exciting and high-valued jobs for the workforce.

Speaking at the launch, she noted that the centre's establishment was timely, as it offers a platform for industry and academia to work together to groom young talent for the aerospace sector.

With the aeronautical specialisation, students will be able to read modules such as aircraft structures, aeroelasticity and experimental methods in fluid mechanics. The current intake of students for the specialisation will be doubled and at steady state, the Department of Mechanical Engineering will admit around 50 students per year into this specialisation.

In terms of research, Minister Teo said that she looks forward to the CAE being "an effective bridge between industry and academia - a place where industry can tap on the expertise of NUS' academics and budding researchers, making clear and tangible contributions to the aerospace sector and our economy".

On its external partners, Professor Tay Tong Earn, Director of CAE and Head of the NUS Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: "It is indeed very gratifying to work with three premier organisations with excellent R&D capabilities as well as competitive technologies and practices recognised worldwide as state-of-the-art. We have experienced a considerable surge in aerospace activities in Asia."

He noted that at NUS, they have been in the forefront of such innovative research, such as more fuel efficient, cooler and quieter engines as well as the design, use and repair of new lightweight composite aircraft structures and materials.

A virtual centre, the CAE is supported by eight physical laboratories at the NUS Faculty of Engineering. Projects that CAE is already working on include the Wigcraft for Design Centric Programme and the Flapping Wing UAV Design Projects Competition.