Initiatives and Programmes

Iniatives and Programmes


NERI is the NUS Point-of-Contact for government agencies, industry, and institutions for environment and water research. The Institute plays a pivotal role: engaging government agencies, industry and institutions to understand their research needs and bringing together researchers and expertise from across NUS to propose possible research initiatives and solutions to address these needs.

Programmes and Partnerships

Some of the Key Initiatives/Programmes are:

A) Singapore Peking Oxford Research Enterprise (SPORE) Programme, a collaborative initiative hosted under NERI and supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation through the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office (EWI), the National University of Singapore, The University of Oxford, and Peking University. The Programme focuses on research, education, and commercialisation of technology in water eco-efficiency.

B) Shanghai Jiao Tong University and National University of Singapore Joint Programme on Energy and Environmental Sustainability Solutions for Megacities (E2S2). This Programme, hosted by NERI and supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) scheme, focuses on the challenges facing megacities.

C) Centre for Climate Change Studies, C3S at NUS. A multidisciplinary research programme initiated by NERI, focusing on:
- Vulnerability to Climate Change
- Methods of adapting to Climate Change
- Climate Change Mitigation Options, and
- Plans and solutions to respond to Climate Change

NERI collaborates with Singapore and Regional government agencies, institutions and industry to promote awareness and develop projects of mutual interest.

At NUS, NERI works closely with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) and the Centre for Remote Imaging Sensing and Processing (CRISP) on advancing climate change research. TMSI is a NUS research institute focusing on excellence in research, development and consultancy in tropical marine as well as aquatic science. CRISP operates a high-tech remote sensing satellite ground station at NUS and conducts active research programmes on optical, infrared and microwave remote sensing with emphasis on monitoring the regional environment. NERI also collaborates with the Singapore Delft Water Alliance (SDWA), NUS and LIPI, Bogor and University of Jambi, Indonesia on peatland studies.

D) NERI and the Singapore Centre of Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), Singapore's fifth Research Centre of Excellence, are collaborating on developing infrastructure and capability in biofilms and environmental metabolomics research.

E) NERI and Yale-NUS College
Leveraging on each party’s expertise and resources for research, NERI and Yale-NUS College have established a collaborative framework to foster research synergism through developing initiatives and conducting activities to promote research relating to the environment at NERI Laboratory at NRF CREATE.

Academia - Industry Collaborations

NERI looks forward to working with industry to leverage on mutual interest, expertise and resources to stay relevant and current. Some of our collaborations include:

A) NERI Agilent Environment Research Alliance (NAERA)
NERI and Agilent Technologies have collaborated to equip a part of NERI's new research laboratories with instruments for environmental research. These include chemical, bioanalytical, and electrical measurement instrumentation. Under the NERI Agilent Environmental Research Alliance, the parties will also work closely on joint seminars, manpower development and training, as well as scientific publications on environmental topics. New and novel biological and analytical methodologies resulting from this partnership will be further developed into joint R&D projects.

B) NERI GE Master Research Collaboration Framework
collaborates with the GE Singapore Water Technology Centre at NUS on research on water treatment processes, joint seminars, and development of student training programmes. This Technology Centre helps to develop advanced water technologies to address environmental and water challenges faced by the world.

C) NERI collaborates with Lab Science Solution to promote research on areas of metabolomics, chemical analysis and emerging contaminants. Lab Science Solution, the exclusive distributor of Bruker mass spectrometers, has provided NERI with a Bruker gas chromatography triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer and relevant data analysis software that has allowed NERI faculty and staff on the targeted screening of volatile compounds in the above three areas.

D) NUSDeltares Alliance brings together the best minds from two leading institutions — the National University of Singapore and leading Dutch applied research institute Deltares — to address the most pressing water and soil issues confronting the world today. The Alliance offers high-impact contract research and specialist consultancy services to help governments, businesses and communities make vital decisions on these important issues.

E) Singapore-based Shimadzu (Asia Pacific) and NERI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, designed to further strengthen our collaborative efforts on environmental research. Shimadzu, a global leader in the manufacturing of analytical instruments will be contributing instruments such as a Mass Spectrometric (MS) system that can be used for microorganism analysis and identification and a Triple-Quadrupole Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (GCMS-TQ) for trace analysis of environmental contaminants during the initial phase. These instruments allow for quick identification and quantitation of volatile metabolites and microorganisms in the various environmental samples, which is key in investigating and understanding the relationship between these metabolites, microorganisms and the environment.

Additionally, NERI and Shimadzu will develop and apply fully automated and solvent-minimised sample preparation procedures that have been integrated with mass spectrometry for water quality monitoring. This analytical platform can be operated on site with minimal human intervention.

These instruments are housed under a joint facility called the NUS-Shimadzu Advanced Facility for Ecoanalytics (NUSAFE) at NERI will further enhance our laboratory’s analytical capability and advance our environmental research.

F) NERI Thermo Fisher Scientific Collaboration on Metabolomics Study of Urban Water Systems
This collaboration focuses on the study of how metabolism in plants and bacteria affects water quality and the ecosystem in and around Singapore. Researchers from NERI and the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), an interdisciplinary Research Centre of Excellence (RCE), funded by the National Research Foundation, Singapore Ministry of Education, NUS and Nanyang Technological University, will examine how metabolomes (all the metabolites present in an organism at a given time) relate to the functioning of microbes in the urban water cycle. The team will employ a wide range of analytical tools including state-of-the-art liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS) systems to identify and measure metabolites in samples. One of the goals is to better understand and enhance the self-purification capacity of urban waterways that use natural processes to reduce or remove nutrient and contaminant loads in surface water. Another goal is to understand the metabolic basis of wastewater purification in order to improve the processes involved.

G) NERI and Waters Technologies Corporation collaborate under a research framework relating to Environmental Microbial Metabolomics. To support this collaboration, Waters Technologies has contributed a Waters Synapt G2-S HDMS mass spectrometer and beta data analysis software. Waters Technologies Corporation has also co-organized with NERI and participated actively in training programs, seminars, research projects and workshops to encourage networking between academia and industry partners and stimulate sharing of ongoing research in the field of metabolomics.