Singapore is set to open a new university. The preliminary ground work seems pretty impressive.
MIT tie-up to kick-start 4th uni
By Amresh Gunasingham
‘Traditionally in Singapore, we have established universities that start off with undergraduate studies, before moving on to postgraduate studies and then research,’ Dr Tan explained. — ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
A US$100 million (S$146 million) international design centre is in the works to kick-start Singapore’s fourth university.
A tie-up with the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the centre would meld architecture, engineering and information systems to come up with, say, a must-have electronic gadget, or the best transport system for a fast-expanding Singapore.
The idea is to have research efforts firmly rooted before taking in students, said National Research Foundation chairman Tony Tan. Announcing the ambitious new proposal on Friday, he said that if all goes well, the centre could be up and running next year, a year before the university is even ready.
This would turn the current approach to university education on its head.
‘Traditionally in Singapore, we have established universities that start off with undergraduate studies, before moving on to postgraduate studies and then research,’ Dr Tan explained.
‘Under the proposed model, we will establish a research centre with a sound research base first before taking in graduate students and undergraduate students.’
Research universities around the world were no longer just education institutions, but were making their mark as key driving forces of economic growth, he added.
‘They are places where new knowledge is created by faculty members and students which facilitates the transformation of this knowledge into new industries and commercially viable enterprises.’
At MIT, for example, researchers and students have founded enterprises that produce output equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 17th largest economy in world. ‘This is significantly larger than our GDP…and underscores the importance for universities to be able to produce original research,’ he said.
Dr Tan, speaking during a visit to the Centre for Quantum Technology (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, said the design centre would add to the diversity of the tertiary education landscape here, and expects it to be well received by students and parents.