Welcome Remarks by
DR SU GUANING
PRESIDENT, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON-NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL
Friday, 29 October 2010, 1.05pm
Auditorium, Nanyang Executive Centre, NTU
Dr Ng Eng Hen,
Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence,
Mr Khaw Boon Wan,
Minister for Health,
His Excellency Paul Madden,
British High Commissioner to Singapore,
Chairman of Imperial College London,
Members of the press,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us on this wonderful occasion! Today marks an important milestone in the history of Nanyang Technological University as we lay the foundation for Singapore’s new medical school. This collaboration between Imperial College London, one of the top universities in the world and NTU, Singapore’s leading science and technology university, will produce a new generation of doctors and medical leaders to reinforce Singapore’s efforts to meet our healthcare needs in the future.
In 2008, the Singapore government asked NTU to submit a proposal to set up a new medical school. For NTU, this provided an opportunity to further widen our academic offering and more importantly, to play an important role in meeting the healthcare needs of Singapore. NTU formed an Advisory Panel comprising experienced members of the medical fraternity and renowned scientists to advise us on the proposal. To effectively address Singapore’s increasing healthcare needs arising from a growing and ageing population, the new medical school must not only train highly-skilled doctors and healthcare experts but also aim to make a deep impact on the innovation of medical devices and the healthcare system as a whole.
Imperial College London is an ideal partner to complement the strengths of NTU in the setting up of the new medical school. The partnership between Imperial and NTU is remarkable for the commitment and enthusiasm from both Universities. In just two years, the project to start the new medical school has been launched from the drawing board into the realm of reality. Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, announced the setting up of the new Imperial College London-Nanyang Technological University Medical School in his National Day Rally speech in August this year.
Not only will the new medical school meet Singapore’s future healthcare needs, it will also create more opportunities for Singapore’s top students to study medicine here. Singaporeans will have more choices for quality medical education. As an added bonus, the new medical school will attract and train international students to become good doctors, living, working and contributing to Singapore.
Singapore is no stranger to Imperial, and vice versa. In 2009-2010 alone, more than 300 Singaporean students pursued academic studies at Imperial. Mr Lim Chuan Poh, the Chairman of the Medical School pro tem Governing Board and a member of the NTU Board of Trustees and Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU’s Provost, are both Fellows of Imperial College.
As one of the top ten universities in the world, Imperial is renowned for its excellence in teaching and research. The University has one of the largest medical schools in the UK and Europe, distinguished for its rigorous and innovative medical programme. Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine taps synergies in medicine, science, cutting-edge technology and inventions in bio-medical engineering.
The growing partnership between NTU and Imperial has deep roots. Both Universities are known for their strength in science and technology. We are long standing academic partners, engaging in active discussions on research and collaboration, and holding annual symposiums. The frequent exchanges resulted in offering joint PhDs in April 2009. The joint PhD programmes in bioengineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering marked the first time either NTU or Imperial had offered joint PhD programmes.
Imperial and NTU are also members of the seven-university Global Alliance of Technological Universities (GlobalTech), together with California Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. GlobalTech was formed in 2009 to build upon the strengths of all seven institutions across three continents to address global issues.
The new medical school will score another first for both Imperial and NTU. For Imperial, this will be the first programme they are establishing overseas, awarding degrees under the Imperial seal. For NTU, the medical school is a first for this young and rapidly-growing research-intensive university.
The clinical partner for the new medical school is the National Healthcare Group (NHG), a leader in public healthcare in Singapore. Tan Tock Seng Hospital which is the second largest acute care hospital here, and part of NHG’s integrated network of polyclinics, hospitals and specialty centres, will be the main clinical hospital. With its comprehensive network and medical services offered, NHG will provide good clinical training support to the new medical school. At the same time, the new medical school will collaborate with the two existing Singapore medical schools and all Singapore hospitals in our education and research activities.
I call on the entire medical fraternity in Singapore to join NTU, Imperial College and the NHG to help make this new medical school a success. We seek the strong support and encouragement of the Singapore medical community, to be mentors, role models and “godparents” to this fledgling newborn.
A world-class medical programme
As for the curriculum for this new, five-year undergraduate medical degree programme, it shall be nothing short of world-class. Adapted from Imperial’s renowned undergraduate medical curriculum and jointly developed with NTU, it will be designed to enhance the Singapore medical healthcare system, taking advantage of NTU’s strengths in engineering and business management. In line with the latest models and best practices in medical education, the curriculum will be delivered using a variety of methods, including e-learning modules, simulations, lectures, seminars, apprenticeships and problem-based learning.
Other key features of the programme include a patient-centric emphasis, early exposure to patients from the first year and real-time care delivery in multiple healthcare settings, including hospitals and polyclinics. The development of medical team leadership and use of technology are distinctive elements of the new medical programme. To ensure students learn how to coordinate care across the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, training will be carried out in multidisciplinary teams.
NTU is proud to be given the opportunity to play an important role in this next lap of Singapore’s healthcare education and medical innovation advancement, together with Imperial College London. As a national initiative, together with our partners, we look forward to the strong support and engagement of the entire Singapore medical fraternity. On behalf of NTU and our partners, I thank all our distinguished guests who are here today for taking time off their busy schedules to be part of this historic occasion.