Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU’s third President, introduces new appointments in his senior management team today
A new chapter began for Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Friday, 1 July 2011, when Professor Bertil Andersson took over the reins as its third President. Succeeding Professor Su Guaning who spent nine years at the helm, Professor Andersson today introduced eight key new appointments in his leadership team. His running mate will be NTU’s Deputy President Professor Freddy Boey, who succeeds Professor Andersson as NTU’s second Provost.
Both the new NTU President and Deputy President are ideal exemplars of the global trend in higher education where education, research and innovation are integrated holistically. Professor Andersson, with a longstanding association with the Nobel Foundation, is an award-winning, world leading scientist who has authored more than 300 papers covering topics from photosynthesis research to biological membranes.
A champion of interdisciplinary research, he is known for forging solid ties between industry and research, encouraging the development of innovations built on basic research findings. Since joining NTU, he has been instrumental in wooing major international industry players such as Rolls-Royce, Bosch, Microvision and Fraunhofer to set up research facilities at NTU.
Like him, his deputy, Professor Boey, the former Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering, is a “poster boey” of education, research and innovation. Professor Boey has published 295 papers in top journals, won S$36 million in competitive funding for research and developed 25 original patents, the majority of which have been licensed. These patents have also resulted in five spin-off companies. About 15 of his past and current students and staff have been or are now involved in their own or his start-up companies.
Professor Andersson said: “A university is a living organism. Its role is not just to transfer knowledge to the younger generation but to also be at the forefront of knowledge creation and innovation so as to expand our collective knowledge as a society and make the world a better place.”
At a media conference today, he outlined his broad vision of how he will further fuel NTU’s continued growth and success by building on the strong foundations laid by his predecessors. But it is not all work and no play, as the Swede talked about how to turn NTU into a place where students, professors and researchers socialise after lessons and bounce great ideas off each other.
To help him chart the course, Professor Andersson has assembled his counsel of accomplished academics to support him.
“The job of steering a dynamic university like NTU is a mammoth undertaking that I cannot do alone,” said Professor Andersson. “Fortunately, I have the full backing of an extremely capable senior management team. I have great confidence in my team members and together, we will achieve greater heights in education, research, innovation as well as in corporate governance and administration.”
Two of the hallmarks that will emerge during his presidency will be greater internationalisation of NTU and the development of the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a project that the 62-year-old plant biochemist has been personally driving from its very first day.
“At this stage of NTU’s evolution and growth, having a medical school will bring so many untold opportunities that will further strengthen NTU as a university,” said Professor Andersson.
A major scoop that the new President has scored is attracting Professor Stephen Smith, one of Britain’s most respected clinical scientists, to join the new leadership team as Vice President (Research). Professor Smith plans to get people from different faculties and disciplines to work together for more breakthrough discoveries.
Professor Smith, who is also the founding dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, has published 230 research papers and is acclaimed for major innovations in the country’s health-care system. He is respected globally for developing and implementing a new healthcare model between universities and hospitals in the United Kingdom and will be a tremendous boon to the new medical school.
The mission of strengthening NTU’s international partnerships will be undertaken by Professor Er Meng Hwa, a man with 26 years of experience on Yunnan Campus. Prof Er will help to nurture new ties with leading universities and organisations worldwide to extend the frontiers of knowledge. He will also continue to build on NTU’s excellent relationships in China. NTU will open its first campus in China, the NTU Tianjin College, in 2013.
Under the Blue Ribbon Commission which was announced in Feb 2011, the revamp of the undergraduate programme will begin with the newest cohort of freshmen next month. Students will have far greater flexibility to design their curriculum according to their interests and strengths in order to broaden their learning experience and better tackle real world issues and problems.
Driving these goals is Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education), Professor Kam Chan Hin, the previous Chair of the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, which is also one of the world’s largest electrical and electronic engineering schools.
NTU’s Campus Masterplan was unveiled earlier this year, laying out the blueprint for infrastructural development to support interdisciplinary collaborations, new pedagogies and enhanced student life. Taking on the role of Associate Provost (Student Life) is sociology don, Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon. He is working on ideas to jazz up life on this residential campus, to turn it into a vibrant hive of activity with various opportunities for greater entrepreneurship, personal development and learning for students.
Professor Boey said: “The new president and I have plans to enhance NTU’s vibrancy with new infrastructure and cross-campus activities where students and faculty can meet, have fun, build networks and share ideas and ideals.”
The university’s increased intensity in research has also widened opportunities for graduate students. As the new Associate Provost (Graduate Education), Professor Peter Rainer Preiser, a biologist, will be looking to enlarge NTU’s portfolio of joint PhD programmes with top universities.
There is also an emphasis on recruiting and retaining world-class faculty to keep the momentum growing in NTU’s growth. The job of talent management will be handled by Professor Angela Goh, who will work with the management team to develop the university’s brain trust.
Assisting Professor Andersson and Professor Boey in the President’s Office is Professor Lam Khin Yong, who as Chief of Staff will ensure that decisions made by senior academic leaders are well-implemented. He was the previous Associate Provost for Graduate Education & Special Projects where he grew NTU’s graduate programmes, including spearheading joint PhD programmes with top universities overseas.
Professor Andersson added: “I am privileged to be able to build on the solid foundation of my predecessors. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, students and alumni to make NTU a global university that all Singaporeans will be truly proud of.”
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Wang Meng Meng
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6681
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