Upcoming NUS Guangzhou Research Translation and Innovation Institute to promote technological innovation and talent development between Singapore and China

Over S$550 million to be committed to the NUS Guangzhou Research Translation and Innovation Institute; and more than 3,200 talents to be trained over the next 10 years to promote innovation and enterprise gateway between Singapore and China

The National University of Singapore (NUS) will set up its fourth overseas research institute, the NUS Guangzhou Research Translation and Innovation Institute (NUSGRTII), in China. Over S$550 million (or RMB2.63 billion, which includes new funding and existing government grants) has been committed to develop R&D talents, incubate and support start-ups and offer education programmes to individuals in Guangzhou and the Greater Bay Area.

This initiative was inked by NUS, Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government and China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Administrative Committee, and announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the official signing of the Cooperation Agreement during the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation and Related Joint Steering Council Meetings held on 29 December.

The establishment of NUSGRTII follows after three other research institutes set up by NUS in China – the NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute, the Tianjin University-NUS Joint Institute in Fuzhou, and the NUS (Chongqing) Research Institute.

Expected to be operational by the first half of 2022, NUSGRTII will train over 3,200 Chinese PhD and Master’s students, post-doctoral fellows as well as professionals over 10 years. A variety of highly competitive scholarships will be offered by the Huangpu District Government, Guangzhou City Government and corporate sponsors to support aspiring Chinese students for their studies at NUS in Singapore.

NUSGRTII also leverages the University’s expertise in venture creation by matching nurtured talents with robust research, in turn enabling them to start ventures or participate in the growth of tech ventures in Guangzhou. This is a win-win collaboration for all three parties who worked together to set up NUSGRTII, tapping NUS’ research and development capabilities to address unmet Guangzhou industrial and market needs via technological innovations.

Additionally, NUSGRTII aims to promote the innovation and enterprise gateway between Singapore and China by:

  • Supporting up to 300 China and Singapore start-ups in the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) over 10 years. These start-ups could be formed by programme returnees or any Singapore start-ups which are interested in scaling up their operations to Guangzhou or across China.
  • Offering various education programmes in technology innovation and entrepreneurship, starting with the full-time NUS PhD by Innovation Programme and the NUS Technology Access Programme which will both accept their inaugural cohort in 2022. Other programmes include the Master of Science (MSc) in Venture Creation and post-doctoral training. These programmes will be conducted in Singapore.

Professor Freddy Boey, NUS Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise) said, “This is a strategic cross-border collaboration where we will draw on the capabilities of all the partners. One of NUS’ areas of focus is building a vibrant research, innovation and enterprise ecosystem that can translate theory into practice. It is exciting to ink this commitment, which will help shape future impactful solutions that will transform both Singapore and Guangzhou. We can expect to see a two-way flow of talents, technologies and start-ups where participants in China can have access to NUS research, intellectual property and entrepreneurship programmes and courses in Singapore, and at the same time, they can further leverage our market access capabilities to create their ventures in thriving Guangzhou and the Greater Bay Area.”

Located within CSGKC, the flagship Institute will collaborate on areas such as smart cities, infocomm technology, electronic science and technology, and advanced manufacturing. Its close proximity to multinational and local China companies which will add to the synergy of knowledge and ideas exchange to accelerate and strengthen the innovation landscape in Guangzhou.

NUS and Singapore start-ups looking to establish operations in the Greater Bay Area can also look forward to a new incubation facility – BLOCK71 Guangzhou helmed by NUS Enterprise to kickstart their entrepreneurial journeys in Guangzhou and across China. This new facility, housed within NUSGRTII, is also expected to be operational in the first half of 2022.

NUS Enterprise has set up various BLOCK71 nodes around the world which form NUS’ global network of entrepreneurial gateways to overseas hubs. This enables NUS start-ups and technologies to gain access to new markets, and vice-versa, to promote access to education and innovation programmes in NUS for overseas students and entrepreneurs. BLOCK71 taps the synergies derived from the deep experience of NUS Enterprise, widely acknowledged as the engine behind Asia’s leading university-based entrepreneurial ecosystem and leverages upon the business acumen and expertise of strategic partners to provide value to the incubating start-ups. BLOCK71 hubs are currently located in Singapore, United States, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.