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December 15, 2020 Tuesday 04:29:53 PM IST

NTU Singapore’s joint research institute in China receives S$61m funding boost

Policy Indications

Two Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) agreements to deepen research and talent development in China were announced at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting, the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore.  Present at the virtual meeting were Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and China’s vice premier Han Zheng, co-chairs of the JCBC meeting. The first is a S$61 million (RMB300 million) funding for the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI) in Guangzhou, China’s hub for IT, biomedical science, and robotics.

In the second initiative, NTU will set up the NTU China (West) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base in the Yubei District of Chongqing to develop next-generation entrepreneurs. It will leverage the University’s brand of world-class entrepreneurship education and create an innovation-driven ecosystem, while tapping on the city’s resources as a burgeoning entrepreneurship and innovation hub.

As part of a new agreement, the SSIJRI will receive S$61 million (RMB 300 million) funding for its next phase of development over the next five years.This includes setting up at least three research and development (R&D) centres that will focus on emerging industries such as digital technologies, new energy, and biomedical-related areas.

Co-founded by NTU, the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) Administrative Committee, the South China University of Technology (SCUT), and the CSGKC Investment and Development Co., Ltd (GKC Co.), the joint research institute promotes research innovation and aims to turn scientific and technological achievements into marketable solutions for the society at large. It is expected to play a pivotal role in the Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

It was incepted in 2015 through an agreement witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and established two years later. SSIJRI has since embarked on 45 innovative projects, yielding over 90 research papers published in renowned scientific journals. Aside from over 70 patent applications, the Institute has facilitated the licensing of five patents – with a total value of S$1.7 million (RMB 8.6 million) – from NTU to Chinese companies. The Institute’s research teams have also set up three joint research centres, and collaborations with other industry partners are underway.

Going forward, the SSIJRI aims to launch at least 40 new research projects and file at least 100 new patent applications by 2025.  The new NTU China (West) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Base in Yubei, Chongqing, is an industry-academia collaboration between NTU and the Chongqing Yubei District People’s Government (YDPG) that aims to jointly develop talent and create an ecosystem driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.

It will be set up in the Xiantao International Big Data Valley, where more than 700 companies have set up offices, including big names such as Microsoft and Qualcomm. Under a joint talent development platform, both parties will explore setting up a new joint MiniMasters™ programme on technopreneurship, where students attend hybrid classes on the NTU campus in Singapore and at the Innovation Base in Chongqing.  NTU will also introduce certification courses to groom entrepreneurial leaders to meet the needs of western China, and to raise the quality of entrepreneurship education in the region.

This builds on an NTU-YDPG internship programme launched in May, through which NTU students can experience the vibrancy and agility of the tech companies in Yubei and build up expertise in fast-growing fields such as big data and artificial intelligence. Aside from talent development, the Innovation Base also aims to develop a thriving ecosystem that brings together innovative ideas and resources from Singapore and around the world.

(Content Courtesy: https://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=373d1dae-f323-4744-8585-0abc085c0430)