NUS-ISS celebrates 40 years of excellence in nurturing digital talent

The institute unveiled, at a gala dinner, a refreshed logo and brand identity to capture its new purpose in bridging opportunities towards a digital future

The NUS-ISS (formerly known as the Institute of Systems Science at NUS) commemorated its 40th anniversary with a gala dinner held on 30 November 2022 graced by Guest-of-Honour, President Halimah Yacob, Chancellor of NUS. Themed “Accelerating Digital Excellence”, the event was attended by 250 industry partners, stakeholders, alumni and distinguished guests including Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and National Development, and Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Education and Manpower.

Established in 1981, NUS-ISS was a pioneering effort in developing talent for Singapore’s digitalisation roadmap. To date, the institute has trained over 166,000 digital leaders and professionals, 8,060 corporate client organisations, and 7,600 graduate programme alumni.

In her address, President Halimah commended NUS-ISS for its immense, multi-faceted contributions which played an instrumental role in helping Singapore develop a competitive digital workforce. “Today, thanks in part to your (NUS-ISS’) efforts, we are proud to call ourselves a Smart Nation. The alumni from the institute have fuelled the country’s economic growth and elevated our competitive advantage. Many of them have in turn contributed to accelerating the development of digital talent.”

“Beyond skills training, the institute offers a myriad of services such as career advisory, job placement support, mentorship clinics and communities of practice … Since its formative partnership with IBM, all NUS-ISS programmes have borne a deep understanding of industry needs and strong partnerships with ecosystem players. This reflects the broader approach across Government, of working closely with industry partners to develop tech talent,” added President Halimah. 

Telling the story of the transformation and progress of Singapore and NUS-ISS

In marking the momentous anniversary milestone, NUS-ISS commissioned a series of paintings by local mural artist Mr Yip Yew Chong showcasing the transition and growth of the nation, as well as NUS-ISS, over the last 40 years. Bringing to life the stories and familiar local scenes both old and new in vibrant colours, the paintings, known as the NUS-ISS Heritage Project, took four months to complete.

The paintings also tell of how NUS-ISS has been part of Singapore’s transformation and progress, and how the institute will continue to play a vital role in the next 40 years to come, as it guides individuals and organisations in bridging future opportunities in the digital economy. The series will be permanently exhibited in NUS-ISS’ premises from 2023. (Read more about NUS-ISS’ milestones and accomplishments from 2019 to 2022 here)

Renewed purpose towards a future of digital excellence

The institute also unveiled a new re-imagined logo, which was officially launched by President Halimah. Incorporating dynamic curves, it signifies the institute’s forward-thinking spirit and innovation, as it leads the way in creating multiple pathways for digital talent to thrive in the future workplace.

The logo refresh marks NUS-ISS’ brand transformation as it phases out the use of its former name, Institute of Systems Science at NUS. Moving forward, the institute will go by its abbreviated name “NUS-ISS”, as it repositions itself with a bold, new brand promise to be the best-in-class guide shaping learners and organisations for the next phase of the digital economy. (Read more about NUS-ISS’ new brand and logo here)

“We stand on the shoulders of giants, leaders who have envisioned and built NUS-ISS. The institute’s purpose has been to play a critical role in the nation’s digital development. We have pioneered many firsts, and will continue to innovate. I am confident we will carry on this torch with much renewed vigour for the next 40 years, and continue to be a key pillar for spearheading digital talent development strategies in Singapore and beyond,” said Ms Janet Ang, Chairman of NUS-ISS, in her opening speech.   

Among the industry partners that joined NUS-ISS at the gala dinner was Mr Antoine Ting, Co-Lead of NCS Dojo. “NUS-ISS has been a key partner in NCS’ talent development journey, and we are happy to be here to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Since 2019, more than 700 of our colleagues have benefited from the NUS-ISS X NCS Nucleus Programme, by participating in unique, stackable courses that equipped them with important skill sets that helped advance their careers. Every year, this number is steadily increasing. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with NUS-ISS to nurture an even more competitive digital workforce at NCS,” said Mr Ting.

Affirming the close working ties with NUS-ISS, Mr Goh Eng Kee, Senior Director, Corporate Information Technology, VISA, said, “There has been a lot of synergy in the way VISA and NUS-ISS worked together, as we collaborated on the Visa Technology Traineeship Programme, which is also supported by IMDA. We want to thank the NUS-ISS team for the excellent support and their unwavering dedication to developing more dynamic skills and talent for the industry.”  

Inspiring the next generation of leaders and digital talent

NUS-ISS concluded its anniversary celebration with the award presentation for the NUS-ISS Digital Futurist Challenge which kicked off in July this year. The challenge rallied youths from local institutes of higher learning to envision a desired future scenario of Singapore in 2060, and design creative, digital-focused solutions to propel Singapore towards this envisioned state, across three imperatives: Green & Sustainability, Health & Well-being, and Work & Learning.

Three first-prize teams each received $5,000 cash, and six runner-up teams each received $2,500 cash. All finalists received a complimentary enrolment to NUS-ISS’ Digitalisation Passport Programme, worth up to $7,500 for each team. This Blended Learning programme enables them to develop essential digital capabilities in data, digital agility and digital innovation, helping them pursue digital excellence. (Read more about the finalist entries here

Watch this video for key highlights of the gala dinner.