NUS is the secretariat of the Global Enterprise for Micro-Mechanics and Molecular Medicine (GEM4), a pioneering international collaboration for advances in engineering, science and nanotechnology. GEM4 brings together scientists, engineers and health professionals from institutions around the world to address global medical challenges such as infectious and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and environmental health. Besides NUS, GEM4 members include MIT, Harvard, Institut Pasteur in Paris, Max-Planck Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology, Caltech, Johns Hopkins, University of California at San Diego, and Chulabhorn Research Institute in Thailand.
NUS and nine top research universities from Asia, Australia, Europe and USA – Australian National University (ANU), ETH Zurich, UC Berkeley, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Oxford, Peking, Tokyo and Yale – signed an agreement to form the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU). The alliance will provide a platform for research and education that transcends disciplinary, cultural and geographical boundaries.
An Annual Giving Drive was launched to rally its alumni to make a difference to their alma mater and to contribute to NUS' quest to be a global university. NUS' Annual Giving campaign aims to nurture in its alumni a culture of giving back to their alma mater. It is a yearly appeal to all alumni and staff for unrestricted funds and provides steady funding for the University to seize opportunities in its mission to provide quality education, as well as meet immediate and pressing needs. Gifts received for the 2005 drive will go directly to student bursaries.
A one-stop centre for NUS education, research and enterprise activities in China, NUS@Shanghai, was set up in Shanghai. Located at the Ascendas Plaza in central downtown Xu Jia Hui district, the centre will facilitate the entry of NUS-linked and Singapore companies into the China market. Shanghai was selected because of its strategic geographical location, vibrant economy and vigorous technological environment. Occupying 300 sq metres, NUS@Shanghai offers office space for rent as well as a wide network of local industry and business contacts.
The University's year-long Centennial Celebrations commenced with an Ushering In ceremony attended by more than 300 staff, alumni, students, benefactors and partners. Held at the new University Hall, highlights of the ceremony included the raising of the new NUS flag, unveiling of the NUS Centennial Sculpture, and a rendition of the NUS song "NUS Forever". There was also a photo exhibition showcasing two major achievements by members of the NUS community – NUS Centennial Everest Expedition and a 10-marathon conquest of 7 continents in 70 days by NUS alumnus Dr William Tan to raise funds for a Professorship in Paediatric Oncology.
Some 100 events, reflecting the five themes of the Centennial Celebrations – Strengthening Global Links, Honouring Academic Excellence, Saluting Our Rich Heritage, Celebrating Cultural Vibrancy and Scaling Sporting Heights – have been lined up to commemorate this milestone. More than 50 university presidents and key officials participated in the Association of American Universities (AAU)-Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Presidents Roundtable and APRU 9th Annual Presidents Meeting. University leaders from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) also attended the Roundtable, the highlight of which was a dialogue session with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on the Role of Universities as the World Globalises. These two events were attended by the biggest gathering of top university leaders in the history of NUS.
At the Welcome Dinner held at the Istana, DPM Dr Tony Tan was presented the Centennial Torch for his visionary leadership in the development of NUS and the inaugural NUS Eminent Alumni Award. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor Lee were also presented an NUS Eminent Alumni Award each at the NUS Centennial Dinner and Centennial Medical Dinner respectively.
NUS launched several initiatives to commemorate its Centennial Year. They include:
The Education Ministry accepted the recommendations of the University Autonomy, Governance and Funding (UAGF) Steering Committee to restructure NUS into a privately-run university by mid-2006. To be run as a not-for-profit corporation, NUS will be given greater autonomy so that so that it can respond quickly to changing market needs and distinguish itself in the increasingly competitive education landscape.
The Bill to corporatise NUS was passed in Parliament – paving the way for the University to be given greater autonomy and to operate as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. NUS has also established a $1 billion multi-currency Medium Term Note Programme. Proceeds arising from the sale of Notes to investors will help finance the capital expenditure and general working capital requirements of NUS.
NUS signed an agreement with Duke University for the establishment of the NUS Graduate School of Medicine (GMS). To be based at the Singapore General Hospital, GMS will offer a four-year graduate-level entry medical programme leading to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Students will devote the third-year of their course to research projects based on either basic or clinical science. They will have the opportunity to work side by side with clinician-scientists in both the GMS and Duke University.
A new residential colleges project was launched to add a new dimension to learning and living at NUS. Expected to be completed by 2009, this development will have eight residential colleges and graduate housing to accommodate some 6,000 students. Each college aims to have its own character with a multi-disciplinary mix as well as integration of seniors and freshmen. There will also be facilities which will act as common ground for developing social and intellectual bonds. Residential colleges will be located at the former Warren golf course and linked to Kent Ridge campus by a multi-tiered vehicular and pedestrian bridge.
Three of the University's most generous benefactors, the Yong Loo Lin Trust (YLLT), Lee Foundation and The Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, donated a total of $159m to help elevate the quality of NUS education and research.
In honour of the donations from the Lee and Tan Chin Tuan Foundations, NUS named one of the two interlocking wings of its new University Hall, the Lee Kong Chian Wing, and the other, the Tan Chin Tuan Wing.
The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy was officially opened by Minister Mentor Lee. A conference on 'Managing Globalisation: Lessons from China and India', with Mr Lee as keynote speaker, was organised to mark the occasion. Launched in August 2004, the LKY School has 50 students studying master's degree courses in public policy and public management.
The Government announced that the historic Bukit Timah Campus will be returned to NUS. NUS will move its Faculty of Law to the Bukit Timah Campus in 2006.
NUS continued to build up and diversify joint degree programmes with overseas institutions. New programmes initiated during the year include:
Students will be given more exposure to cross-disciplinary learning through several initiatives. They include the:
Ongoing efforts by the University to strengthen its curriculum and provide more diverse learning opportunities include:
NUS signed an MOU with Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) to establish the NUS College in Stockholm – the first in Europe and fourth worldwide. About 30 NUS students will be selected each year to work at technology-based start-up companies in Stockholm while studying entrepreneurship and technology-related courses. Courses will be conducted by KTH and the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, a joint initiative of several Swedish institutions including KTH, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm School of Economics and the University College of Arts, Crafts & Design. The first batch of NUS College in Stockholm students will start their year-long internship in July 2005.
The second phase of the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) initiative, SMA-2, was formally announced. Under this phase, three new graduate engineering programmes and a fourth in the life sciences will be introduced. Students will be able to earn a dual degree in three of the new programmes – a Master's degree from MIT and a Master's from either NUS or NTU, or a Master's degree from MIT and a PhD degree from either NUS or NTU. All four programmes will offer either an NUS or NTU PhD degree through co-supervision of thesis by NUS or NTU and MIT faculty.
New professorial chairs established include:
A university-level Centre for Maritime Studies was launched to reinforce Singapore's efforts to establish itself as an international maritime hub.
The NUS High School of Mathematics and Science shifted to its new campus at Clementi Avenue 1. A five-minute walk from Kent Ridge campus, the NUS High School campus is entirely wireless and its students can access NUS' online teaching and information resources. The 4.7 hectare campus houses nine laboratories, 46 classrooms, three eco-gardens, an observatory, a hostel for 430 students, and sports facilities such as a running track and tennis courts.
NUS was placed in the top quartile of the world's best 100 universities – 22nd in the world and amongst the top three universities in Asia – by Times of London. In rankings by discipline, NUS was placed 9th for Technology, 13th for Social Sciences and 15th for Biomedicine. The London newspaper's annual rankings are based on measures like the number of citations for academic papers generated by each staff member, faculty-student ratio, and the proportion of international staff and students. A key measure in which NUS scored well is peer review which is an indicator of global reputation.
NUS Business School's Asia Pacific Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes were ranked 30th in the world by Financial Times. The EMBA programmes, in English and Chinese, were ranked according to criteria such as intellectual output and research, diversity and international experience offered, and career progress of alumni.
A team from NUS reached the summit of Mt Everest, the world's highest mountain. The team comprised Mechanical Engineering student Teo Yen Kai, Associate Scientist Lindley Zerbe (Centre for Remote, Imaging, Sensing & Processing), Arts & Social Sciences graduate Ee Khong Lean, Applied Science graduate Ernest Quah, and Mechanical Engineering graduate Stefen Chow.