NUS and SUTD to collaborate on innovation and enterprise

First entrepreneurial alliance between the two universities to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs and further advance innovation and enterprise in Singapore and the region

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to collaborate in the areas of innovation and enterprise. The MOU underscores the two universities’ shared efforts to cultivate new ideas; nurture entrepreneurial, research translation and innovation talents; and create opportunities for technology commercialisation and co-sharing of facilities and expertise. This is the first such partnership entered by both universities to collectively groom the next generation of talents to further build momentum in innovation and enterprise.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and SUTD President Professor Chong Tow Chong signed the MOU during InnovFest, the official start-up event of Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG).

Prof Tan said, “For entrepreneurs to realise their full potential, it is essential for universities to provide support for a dynamic ecosystem, and help these budding entrepreneurs catalyse ideas and bring them to fruition. Both universities bring strengths to the partnership and NUS is delighted to partner with SUTD to create more opportunities for their students and professors to be exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship. By opening up our programmes, this collaboration will help to foster greater vibrancy in our start-up ecosystem and facilitate sharing of information, resources and access to technology innovation. Through this initiative, we hope to seed and nurture new ideas, groom talents in research translation, and advance innovation in Singapore and beyond.”

Prof Chong said, “SUTD has partnered NUS in the past to establish education programmes such as the SUTD-NUS Joint PhD Programme and the SUTD – Duke-NUS Special Track. We are pleased to further deepen our educational, research and enterprise collaboration with NUS. Through this new partnership, the two universities will capitalise on both our strengths in entrepreneurship and innovation to provide an enriched ecosystem for students to cultivate their interests, knowledge and skills in these areas. This will help us develop the next generation of talents who have the technological know-how and business acumen to identify gaps, challenge the status quo, seize opportunities and chart the way forward for Singapore and the world using technology and design.”

Entrepreneurship education

From Academic Year 2022/2023, SUTD students will be able to take credit-bearing entrepreneurship- and innovation-related electives offered by NUS Enterprise. SUTD undergraduates will also get to participate in the NUS Overseas Colleges programme to promote stronger cross-institutional start-up teams among NUS and SUTD students.

In addition, NUS and SUTD faculty members will co-supervise students in the NUS PhD by Innovation, NUS Master of Science in Venture Creation and SUTD Master of Engineering (Innovation by Design) programmes.

There will also be an increase in the number of exchange students between the two universities under the Singapore Universities Student Exchange Programme.

Research and innovation

SUTD faculty members will participate in translational research and commercialisation at the NUS Guangzhou Research Translation and Innovation Institute (NUSGRTII) in China.

Located within Ascendas OneHub Guangzhou Knowledge City, NUSGRTII was established in November 2019, in collaboration with the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality and the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Administration Committee. The Institute conducts research translation, pioneers technological innovations, incubates start-ups and offers education programmes to train R&D talents in Guangzhou and the Greater Bay Area.

Venture creation

Both universities will collaborate on the research translation and commercialisation of SUTD’s technology and intellectual property through the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme, the University’s flagship programme for producing deep tech start-ups.

Facility and expertise sharing

Both universities will leverage on each other’s equipment and facilities for innovation and product development. In particular, SUTD’s signature advanced rapid prototyping facilities and interdisciplinary maker spaces will provide good infrastructures for the NUS-SUTD enterprise ecosystem as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students. SUTD students and start-ups looking to venture overseas or require incubation support may also tap NUS Enterprise’s BLOCK71 network that currently has seven locations in five countries – Singapore, United States, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In addition, budding student entrepreneurs and start-ups can look forward to tapping a wider pool of mentors from among NUS and SUTD faculty members who have the relevant experience and expertise.