Deeper and stronger research and academic collaborations with French institutions

NUS strengthened its partnership with leading French institutions in the areas of scientific research and education through the signing of four agreements at the third meeting of the France-Singapore Joint Committee on Science and Innovation (JCSI), which aims to deepen cooperation in science and technology between the two countries. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Chairman of National Research Foundation, and Ms Sylvie Retailleau, France’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, who were Guests-of-Honour at the meeting, which was held on 23 October 2023 at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).

During her visit to the NUS Kent Ridge Campus, Ms Retailleau spent some time at NUS College where she interacted with students at the College as well as students from NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) Paris programme and the NUS French Double Degree Programme (FDDP). She also met French students from Université Paris Cité and ESSEC Business School who were on exchange at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUS Business School respectively.

Advancing women’s health, quantum technology and international collaboration

The four partnerships between NUS and French collaborators in areas such as healthcare and quantum technology were part of eight research agreements and collaborations signed at the JCSI meeting.

The Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (GloWNUS) and Faculty of Health, Université Paris Cité (UPCité) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct research, education and outreach activities on women’s health concerns across their lifespan, with a focus on Asians. One area of interest for the collaboration would be to study common pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, hypertension and preeclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder.

NUS and UPCité also renewed their commitment to work together. NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and UPCité President Professor Edouard Kaminski signed an MOU, extending the existing MOU between NUS and UPCité for another three years, until 2026. Under the MOU, both universities will continue to foster international collaboration by facilitating the exchange of scientific, academic, and technical information; identify opportunities for cooperation and joint research; explore technology commercialisation prospects; and organise joint academic and scientific events. NUS and UPCité will also continue with existing student exchanges and promote research collaborations in academic fields of mutual interest.

Another agreement was signed by NUS, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Agency for Science, Technology and Research - Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, CNRS@CREATE and French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Sorbonne Université (SU) and Université Paris Sciences et Lettres for an intra-CREATE project on Nanophotonics GAtes with exciton-Polaritons.

NUS also signed a renewal agreement of MajuLab joint laboratory with NTU and France’s CNRS, SU, Université Côte d'Azur, to conduct cutting edge research in quantum information science, quantum-controlled systems, quantum matter, and quantum thermodynamics, energetics, and resources.

Boosting academic ties and friendships

Over the years, NUS’ close collaboration with French institutions has opened up more global pathways for NUS students to gain overseas experiences.

Amongst them are NUS College (NUSC) students who now have the opportunity to spend the summer in Paris as part of the College’s flagship Global Experience Course (GEx).

Ms Retailleau and her delegation met the inaugural batch of GEx Paris students who were in the French capital for four weeks in June this year to learn more about arts, diplomacy, culture, and social innovation. Apart from sharing their experience and demonstrating the French language that they picked up, the students also presented creative works they had developed as a result of their experience in Paris. These include an agamograph of Parisian Bouquinistes (booksellers) showing how they have evolved over time, a ‘Snakes and Ladders’-inspired board game reflecting social innovation in Paris, and a video comparing the dancescapes in Paris and Singapore.

Dr Mariana Losada, GEx Paris Lecturer and Paris-NUS programme director, said: “GEx Paris offers students an extraordinary opportunity to immerse themselves in the city, establish connections across various disciplines and engage with distinguished figures from the course's themes. This course owes its success to our strong collaboration with French institutions such as Inalco, Université Paris Cité and Sciences Po.”

Three NOC Paris students, who returned from their six-month internship that commenced in January 2023, also had the opportunity to share their experiences with Ms Retailleau. The visit also showcased the shared values of entrepreneurial learning and a commitment to further enhance the NOC programme, which serves as an important conduit to facilitate the flow of innovation and entrepreneurial talents, ideas and opportunities. The programme also provides access to even bigger markets, investors and funding opportunities for both Singapore and France.