NTU eyes global campuses to help students thrive

NTU eyes global campuses to help students thrive

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - recently named the fastest-rising young university in the world - is looking to set up satellite campuses in international research hubs to build a global mindset in its students.

Plans are under way to launch its first base in London by the end of this year to boost its research and teaching collaborations with British universities.

Other cities being considered over the next two to three years include San Francisco, Chicago, Stockholm and Shanghai.

NTU has already partnered Imperial College London in its joint medical school and its premier Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP).

Its other British partners include Cambridge in semiconductor and energy research, and Southampton University in photonics.

NTU's American partners include Northwestern University in Chicago and University of California, Berkeley in San Francisco, and its European partners include Linkoping University and Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

NTU president Bertil Andersson said these hubs will provide students with more opportunities for overseas experience, such as to study, do research, go on internships and take on community projects.

It will also facilitate collaborative projects by NTU professors, PhD students and researchers with their overseas counterparts.

Last year, 5,500 NTU undergraduates gained experience overseas. They included REP students who spent their third year at either Imperial or UC Berkeley, journalism students on overseas practicum and students working on humanitarian projects.

Professor Andersson said: "In a global marketplace, it's not good enough to prepare our students for jobs in Singapore.

"Increasingly, companies are looking for graduates whom they can send out of Singapore into the region or further away in uncharted territories to grow their businesses."

NTU provost Freddy Boey said to thrive in such an environment, graduates would need the "global mindset" - such as the flexibility and openness to other cultures, the ability to navigate cross-cultural issues and understanding of the nuances of operating in a different environment.

Citing the NTU-Northwestern Research Institute for Nanomedicine as an example, he said the two universities are bringing together their respective strengths in 3D printing and nanomolecular research to come up with a molecular 3D printer, to produce designer molecules and microscopic materials for use in healthcare.

Ng Ang Hui, 22, a final-year chemical engineering student, spent nine months at UC Berkeley before an internship at pharmaceutical company Baxter in the United States. Her higher-ups there were so impressed with her work that they recommended her for a second internship, this time with Baxter Singapore.

Ms Ng said: "I got to experience first-hand the workings of a global pharmaceutical company, but more importantly, how to thrive in a different and culturally diverse environment.

"These are things that one cannot learn in the classroom, only by being thrown into an unfamiliar foreign environment."

The London-based Times Higher Education magazine declared last month that NTU is the world's fastest-rising university under 50 years old, rising more than 108 places in its ranking in four years.

sandra@sph.com.sg


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