Boosting ties with Tsinghua

07 December 2015 | Education
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Representing Tsinghua and NUS respectively, Prof Yang (left) and Prof Tan Eng Chye signed an MOU paving the way for more student exchanges and collaborative academic, research and scientific initiatives

NUS and Tsinghua University (Tsinghua) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 7 December to further build on the strong existing ties between both universities. The partnership will be funded through an $11 million donation from the family of Mr Ng Teng Fong. NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye and Tsinghua's Vice President and Provost Professor Yang Bin signed the MOU, witnessed by Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Mr Ong Ye Kung, at The Fullerton Bay Hotel.

In his address, Mr Ong said that the exchange of knowledge and wisdom had the most profound and long-lasting benefits for societies. Highlighting the relationship between NUS and Tsinghua, which began 24 years ago, Mr Ong said, "Under the new MOU, NUS and Tsinghua will conduct joint research and development in areas of mutual interest and complementary expertise. One such area is data science and data analytics. The universities would also identify opportunities to commercialise echonolgy",he added.

Student exchanges and entrepreneurship education and research, such as enhancing new and existing student exchange programmes to include technology entrepreneurship, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, are also in the works.

Prof Tan shared that currently, about 15 to 20 students between the two universities participate in student exchange programmes annually. "We're looking at hopefully increasing this number", he said. He also highlighted the NUS Overseas College in Beijing, saying "That's a programme that we think there's a lot of potential, especially now to include graduate students we need more entrepreneurs to have a very deep knowledge in science and technology". He expressed confidence that both NUS and Tsinghua universities have this group of students.

In addition, both universities will organise and participate in joint academic, research and scientific activities such as seminars and conferences on various topics and issues, particularly innovation and enterprise.

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Flanked by Prof Yang (left), NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan (2nd from right) and Prof Tan Eng Chye (right) is Mr Robert Ng, Chairman of Sino Group, representing the family of Mr Ng Teng Fong

The students at NUS and Tsinghua have benefitted from mutual exchange over the years, with about 100 NUS students going on student exchange programmes to Tsinghua, and more than 80 Tsinghua students coming to NUS in the past five years. Since the NUS Overseas Colleges programme in Beijing was established in collaboration with Tsinghua in 2009, NUS has sent over 30 students on this one-year programme. The students attend part-time entrepreneurship classes at the highly prestigious School of Economics and Management in Tsinghua while interning full-time with technological start-ups in Beijing.

NUS and Tsinghua, together with the Media Development Authority of Singapore, are also working together on the NUS-Tsinghua Extreme Search Centre. The Centre combines the strengths of the universities to research large scale issues of extreme live information and media search. It also tackles the challenging issues of indexing, integrating, fusing and searching for live data generated by millions of sensors, online forums, blogs and mobile devices.

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Prof Tan Chorh Chuan (left) and Mr Ng during the reception

Two other MOUs were also signed at the event between Nanyang Technological University and Peking University; and Singapore University of Technology and Design with Zhejiang University. Similar to the NUS-Tsinghua MOU, each pair of universities will receive $11 million from the family of Mr Ng Teng Fong. These three MOU signings mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the People's Republic of China.