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Singapore-China Academic Partnership Accelerates Infocomm Talent Development

Infocomm talent and intellectual capital are the focus of a three-year partnership between the Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore and China. Facilitated by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the National University of Singapore (NUS) is collaborating ...

Singapore, 30 January 2002 | For Immediate Release

Infocomm talent and intellectual capital are the focus of a three-year partnership between the Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore and China. Facilitated by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the National University of Singapore (NUS) is collaborating with 10 top universities in China to boost the development of intellectual capital and groom talent for the infocomm industry. This strategic alliance will enhance the competitiveness of Singapore's infocomm workforce and foster closer academic relations between NUS and its Chinese counterparts.

With IDA as the witnessing agency, the Memoranda of Understanding signed between the School of Computing in NUS and the 10 Chinese universities aim to facilitate research and knowledge exchange between the institutions. The signings also mark a commitment from parties concerned to develop specialised infocomm skill-sets and provide participating students and faculty members with valuable overseas exposure.

"As Singapore evolves into a knowledge-driven economy to compete in the global marketplace, such international collaboration paves the way for greater innovation through the exchange of technology and knowledge between Singapore and China. This academic partnership is certainly a positive step forward as it signals our joint commitment to work closely in enhancing the infocomm capabilities of both countries," said Mr David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and The Arts.

"NUS is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with IDA to put in place this important agreement with leading universities in China in the area of infocomm," said Professor Chong Chi Tat, Deputy President and Provost of the National University of Singapore. "Apart from creating a great avenue for scientific and technological exchange between researchers and students, this agreement will also pave the way for intense co-operation in related industries for both countries. We see enormous potential for growth in this area."

Signifying closer academic ties between NUS and the top Chinese universities, the agreements cover four key areas:

  • Joint research projects between faculty members of partner universities
  • Academic staff exchange
  • Recommendation of graduate students for NUS' post-graduate programmes
  • Exchange programme for graduate students

Leveraging IDA's Academic Exchange Programme (AEP), Singapore students travelling to China will be provided with airfare and a clothing allowance, capped at S$3,000, while faculty staff will receive a subsidy of 50% of their airfare and housing expenses.

Professor Li Xiao Ming, Head of Department of Computer Science, Beijing University, said: "The Memoranda of Understanding enable the universities to cross-fertilise our talents and increase our capabilities in R&D. This, in turn, has very direct benefits for our students who will now have more opportunities to take on a diverse range of challenging projects. The overseas experience gained will also have a positive impact on their future careers."

Professor Fu Yu Xi, Head of Department of Computer Science, Shanghai Jiaotong University, agreed: "This programme is an impressive example of internationalisation. Through this partnership, NUS and Shanghai Jiaotong will engage actively in student and staff exchanges, and jointly conduct research to expand our knowledge in the dynamic infocomm arena."

In addition, IDA and the School of Computing, NUS are working with four of the Chinese universities - Tsinghua University, Beijing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Fudan University - to explore two other areas of collaboration, namely, the establishment of dual degrees in infocomm and the setting up of competency centres in China.

"The School of Computing has been actively enhancing its Ph.D. programme and a central component of this thrust has been to continually improve the breadth and quality of its applicants," said Professor Joxan Jaffar, Dean of the NUS School of Computing. "This formal collaboration with IDA and top Chinese universities is a milestone in this direction."

The dual degree programme will allow NUS students to study for one to two semesters in one of the identified Chinese universities and graduate with double degrees (one from NUS and the other from the Chinese university). This academic arrangement targets to equip the Singapore graduates with the relevant certification and qualifications which will give them an added advantage if they choose to work in China upon graduation.

"We are very excited to work together with NUS on the dual degree programme. By leveraging the strengths and the reputation of the two institutions, we are confident that the graduates will benefit from enhanced employability and be more sought after in the job market," Professor Zhou Ao Ying, Head of Department of Computer Science, Fudan University, said.

The other area of collaboration identified between Singapore and China is the setting up of competency centres at selected Chinese universities. The objective is to identify critical and emerging infocomm technologies that are of strategic interest to both China and Singapore, facilitate knowledge exchange and technology transfer, and encourage prototype development through R&D programmes.

More importantly, the centres will provide an ideal training ground with relevant hands-on experience for Singapore's infocomm professionals funded under IDA's Infocomm Training and Attachment Scheme (iTA). Under this scheme, the trainees will be equipped with stronger skill-sets in critical or emerging technology areas such as Intelligent Web Services, XML, Infocomm Security and Java.

Based on possible R&D breakthroughs facilitated by the competency centres, the Chinese universities and NUS are keen to explore joint publication and presentation of research papers in world-renowned journals and conferences respectively. The results from such research initiatives can potentially be tested and commercialised in the infocomm industries in Singapore and China.

"The competency centre exemplifies the goals of research, continuous training and education shared by Singapore and China. The objective of this collaboration is to conduct training and research in emerging technologies that will benefit the academic community and infocomm industries of both China and Singapore," said Professor Zhou Li Zhu, Head of Department of Computer Science, Tsinghua University.

"Such collaborations will further enhance R&D and academic exchanges between Singapore and China," said Professor Sun Jia Guang, Fellow of the China Academy of Engineering and the Deputy Dean of the School of Software, Tsinghua University.

The NUS has engaged its Chinese partners in active discussion since the signings and all parties are targeting to finalise collaboration plans within the next six months. For a start, the NUS is hosting three visiting professors from the Shanghai universities who are here to conduct R&D and deliver lectures to the Singapore students.

Issued on behalf of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide.

Notes to Editor :

1 More details on AEP and iTA can be found on the IDA website at under the section 'Infocomm Training Schemes'.

2 The Memoranda of Understanding were signed with the following Chinese universities:

City University

Tsinghua University

Beijing University

Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics

Guangzhou Zhongshan University
Hangzhou Zhejiang University
Nanjing Nanjing University
Shanghai Shanghai Jiaotong Fudan
Wuhan Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Xi-an Xi-an Jiatong

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

Acknowledged as one of the finest universities in the Asia-Pacific region, NUS is a comprehensive university which offers a broad-based curriculum underscored by multidisciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. It has 10 faculties, with an enrolment of 22,000 undergraduate and 8,600 graduate students. NUS actively promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, both in the classroom and research facilities. It enjoys a close teaching-research nexus with 9 national-level institutes, 14 university-level research institutes and more than 50 faculty-based research centres. The University is strongly committed to its realization as a global knowledge enterprise dedicated to the imparting, creation and utilization of knowledge.

About the Academic Exchange Programme (AEP)

The AEP was launched on 20 September 2001 at the opening of NUS' School of Computing Incubation Centre. Two million dollars were set aside for this programme to sponsor both local and overseas students for work attachments over a period of three years. The programme aims to facilitate technology and knowledge exchange with the end goal of boosting the competitiveness of Singapore's infocomm industry. The programme comprises of two components - one for local students and the other for overseas students.

About the Infocomm Training and Attachment Scheme (iTA)

The iTA scheme was launched on 20 November 2001 to offer overseas and local training and attachments for Pre-Hires/Non-employees and Existing Employees. The scheme is worth $18million and spans a period of three years. It supports companies in building the capabilities of their infocomm manpower and it is also tailored to enhance employability of fresh graduates and infocomm professionals. The scheme aims to spur project-based capability development in key emerging technology areas viewed as strategic to the industry. They include: Grid Computing, Next Generation Wireless LAN, Intelligent Web Services, Wireless LAN 802.11b, XML, Infocomm Security and Java.

For more information, please contact:

Choong Cheng Theng
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide
Phone: +65 6733 1110
Fax: +65 6733 5550

Ms Chia Sher Ling 
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211-1840
Fax: +65 6211-2227

Ms Santie Pillai
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications/Media
National University of Singapore
Tel: +65 6874-4520
Fax: +65 6775-7630