NUS and University of Toronto to foster greater innovation, education and research collaborations

NUS and the University of Toronto (UofT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that underscores both universities’ commitment to strengthen collaboration in the fields of innovation, academia and research.

The partnership also aims to enhance both cities’ innovation ecosystems through the Toronto-Singapore International Entrepreneurship Superhighway, anchored on the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme in Toronto. The agreement was inked by NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and UofT President Professor Meric Gertler on 30 May 2023 during Prof Tan’s visit to the UofT campus. He was accompanied by Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and NUS Provost Professor Aaron Thean; Vice President (Innovation and Enterprise) and Director of NOC Professor Chee Yeow Meng; and Associate Vice President (Enterprise) Associate Professor Benjamin Tee.

“The UofT and NUS are truly peer institutions”, said Prof Tan during the signing ceremony. “We are flagship universities in thriving global cities, creating innovators and change-makers that will shape society and the world to come. We are committed to working together to create opportunities and networks for our students, faculty, alumni and the start-up community.”

Prof Gertler said, “Over the years, our two universities have built a strong foundation for partnership, based on academic exchange, research collaboration and diverse pathways for student mobility. We were delighted to welcome President Tan and his colleagues to Toronto, and we look forward to fostering even closer ties as strategic institutional partners in the years to come.”

Paving the way for a future of innovation and knowledge exchange

NOC, NUS’ flagship global entrepreneurship programme was established in 2002. In 2018, NOC extended its footprints in Toronto. Close to 100 NUS students have interned in start-ups across the Greater Toronto Area. They work alongside founders in North America’s top start-up incubators, such as MaRS and the DMZ, and excel in various fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Engineering, FinTech and MedTech.

“Toronto is a top global start-up ecosystem, and the UofT is one of the top five university-managed business incubators in the world”, said Prof Chee. “Here, our NOC students can immerse themselves in a dynamic and diverse city, where they can learn and network with inspirational innovators. I look forward to expanding our presence here, and welcoming UofT students on a reciprocal innovation programme in Singapore.”

Clara Khoo, a third-year NUS undergraduate in Communications and Economics, interns at TRIYO, a start-up that delivers real-time data intelligence. “At TRIYO, I work hand in hand with my CEO to create impact for our clients. I am privileged to have a mentor who entrusts me to lead projects and manage teams. Our company is based within OneEleven, a hive of start-up activity in downtown Toronto, so I get to meet founders and like-minded entrepreneurs every day.”

Clara’s batch-mate, Justin Tan, a third-year undergraduate in Computer Science, echoed Clara’s views. “Many of my computing peers in NUS chose Silicon Valley for their internships, but I recognised Toronto as the city with the highest number of AI start-ups globally. As a developer at Quincus, I work closely with the Vice President of Research to create innovative machine learning solutions to solve real-world logistics challenges.

At UofT, our entrepreneurship courses are located downtown, amidst sporting and cultural events, buzzing restaurants and neighbourhoods. In my free time, I compete in prestigious hackathons with my housemates, challenging the brightest students from UofT and Waterloo. All these experiences contribute to an exhilarating and fulfilling adventure.”

The partnership also aims to foster academic programme collaborations through joint courses and dual-degree programmes, student exchanges and global classrooms such as via the NUS GEx in Toronto. The Toronto GEx is a new programme launched by NUS College, NUS’ recently established honours college. It also serves to develop strategic and sustainable research partnerships between NUS and UofT by identifying synergies and creating opportunities for researchers to connect through academic matchmaking, as well as promoting and supporting graduate mobility between both institutions through International Doctoral Clusters.


By NUS Overseas Colleges