NUS Overseas Colleges and BLOCK71 to head to Chicago with NUS and University of Illinois System MOU

NUS and the University of Illinois System have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to set up NUS’ fourth NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) destination in North America.

NOC students can look forward to the opportunity to enrol in innovation and entrepreneurship courses at the University of Illinois System (UIS) in Chicago, which now joins the list of NOC’s prestigious partner universities such as Stanford and the University of Toronto. The other NOC destinations in North America are in Silicon Valley, New York, and Toronto.

The MOU also aims to leverage both universities’ innovation ecosystems by mentoring aspiring and new entrepreneurs among students and alumni. In addition, the joint partnership will explore Thrivability, FoodTech and AgriTech as the potential focus areas to showcase the strengths of both ecosystems.

“NUS is delighted to partner with UIS to launch our presence in the Midwest US. Chicago, Illinois has an excellent reputation for producing financial, agricultural and logistical unicorns. This presents NUS students and the Asian start-up ecosystem with vast opportunities to explore the possibilities available”, said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye. “Chicago is an economic powerhouse, rich in culture and diversity, which promises our students and companies an enriching and fruitful experience”.

The agreement was signed on 1 June 2023 during Prof Tan’s visit to the UIS campus. He was accompanied by NUS senior leaders including Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and 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 Illinois-Singapore Innovation Partnership opens an exciting new chapter in the long relationship between UIS and NUS, and creates new opportunities for our faculty and students, and for the people of both Singapore and Illinois,” said President of the University of Illinois System Professor Timothy L. Killeen. “Such partnerships allow us to combine our strengths and leverage them to meet the challenges of our time, offering a prosperous future for us all, one in which opportunity is available for everyone.”

As part of the MOU, NUS will also build its BLOCK71 presence in Chicago, to allow its network of start-ups to access the Midwest, while UIS will encourage its start-ups interested in exploring Asian markets to be located at NUS’ BLOCK71’s global network. This will be the second BLOCK71 North American location after San Francisco.


By NUS Overseas Colleges