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NUS opens first overseas research institute in China

29 May 2013

Mr Jiang (left) and Minister Heng unveiling the plaque at the NUSRI official opening

Prof Tan (4th from left), Mr Jiang (5th from left), Minister Heng (5th from right), Mr Wang Xiang (4th from right) and Mr Wang Hongsheng (3rd from right) were among the distinguished guests at the ceremony

The National University of Singapore (Suzhou) Research Institute (NUSRI), a partnership between NUS and the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (SIPAC), had its official opening in Suzhou, China, today.

The ceremony was attended by Singapore Education Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat; Mr Jiang Hongkun, Member of the Standing Committee, CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee, Party Secretary of Suzhou Municipal Committee; Mr Wang Hongsheng, Vice Mayor, Suzhou City; Mr Wang Xiang, Party Secretary, Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP); Mr Yang Zhiping, Director, SIPAC; and guests.

Funded by SIPAC, NUSRI represents the first such institute in China to be independently set up and managed by an overseas university. It is also NUS' inaugural research institute out of Singapore.

Sited within the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District in SIP, the new complex has some 21,000 square metres of space, about half of which houses research laboratories.

In his speech, Minister Heng noted that NUSRI is driven by a shared desire to drive research, education and enterprise; the platform will provide greater support and opportunities for such partnerships, as well as expand NUS' research and internationalisation efforts.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said: "The completion of NUSRI's physical facilities will provide a significant boost to the research, education and entrepreneurship activities that it has been actively spearheading."

Mr Wang Hongsheng pointed out that the Institute's activities are aligned with the local economic development needs, and it epitomises a new model of research collaboration between China and its overseas partners.

NUSRI's research efforts span diverse disciplines: advanced electronic devices; biomedical science and engineering; energy and environment technology; agricultural and food science and technology; interactive multimedia and software development; as well as nanomaterials and applications.

Prof Tan highlighted that these research programmes were selected in close consultation with the University's partners in SIP and Suzhou, to ensure complementarity that will benefit the local research and innovation ecosystem. In addition, the Institute's research is designed to be integrated and truly multidisciplinary. Eleven research projects headed by NUS investigators have been set up.

NUSRI will also focus on creating stimulating and strong education programmes for students in China, such as seminars and workshops for business executives. Exchange and immersion opportunities will also be available for NUS students.

Another key thrust will be the development of the enterprise. The Centre for Technology Transfer and Enterprise comprises the NUSRI Incubator that nurtures promising NUS start-up companies in China, and a technology transfer centre that provides technology services and facilitates the commercialisation of research breakthroughs. Four incubatee firms are currently based at the Institute.

In conjunction with the official opening, NUSRI signed four collaborative agreements with Suzhou-based education institutions and industry partners:
  • A joint centre on Singapore studies with Renmin University of China Suzhou Campus;
  • Pre-master programmes with Wuhan University Suzhou Research Institute; and
  • Partnerships with Suzhou Great Elevator and Jurong International Constructors (Suzhou) in various fields which encompass product development, executive training and student internships.