Keio University partners the National University of Singapore to set up joint research centre

Dated: 25 July 2008

Singapore’s Interactive Digital Media (IDM) sector gets a shot in the arm with Keio University, one of the top universities in Japan, jointly setting up an IDM research centre with the National University of Singapore (NUS). It is Keio University’s first full-scale international research centre located outside of Japan. The research centre, called Keio-NUS CUTE Centre (CUTE stands for Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments) will have a presence in both Singapore and Japan and it will focus on connected lifestyle media and embodied interactive technologies. This was announced by RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Senior Minister of State for Education and Information, Communications and the Arts today at the 14th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA).

Keio-NUS CUTE Centre will be jointly funded by Keio University, NUS and the multi-agency Interactive Digital Media Research and Development Programme Office (IDMPO) hosted by the Media Development Authority (MDA). IDMPO also announces its latest initiative to set aside S$70 million to attract more international institutes to partner local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) to set up research centres in Singapore;with Keio-NUS CUTE Centre being the first to kick off the initiative. Prior to Keio University, Singapore has successfully attracted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct research addressing the challenges faced by the global digital game research community and industry through the setup of the GAMBIT Gamelab and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Automation’s China-Singapore Institute of Digital Media (CSIDM) which focuses on language mediation.

Mr Michael Yap, Executive Director, IDMPO said: “The IDMPO aims to establish a network of world-class IDM research centres to reinforce Singapore’s position as a preferred location for innovation and R&D in IDM. These centres not only augment and complement the local IDM sector;they are also a boost to our strategic collaborations with the international research community, providing the opportunities for technology and knowledge transfer. ”

Keio-NUS CUTE Centre will start operating within the next few months and will involve some of Japan’s top researchers who are also world-leading experts in their fields such as Vice President Professor Jun Murai, globally known as 'Internet Samurai' for his long-standing contribution to technological development and its deployment in Internet protocols and operation;Professor Masa Inakage, an internationally-renowned digital artist and creative director and producer of digital entertainment including Hollywood blockbuster film Spawn;and Professor Keiko Okawa, best known for the SOI Asia, School on the Internet Asia that is connecting Southeast Asian universities for research and education. Singapore researchers will include Associate Professor Adrian Cheok, Deputy Director of Research at NUS' Interactive and Digital Media Institute and a world renowned local researcher who specialises in mixed reality and embodied media. In all, the Keio-NUS CUTE Centre will involve more than 50 researchers from Japan and Singapore.

Professor Masa Inakage, Dean of the Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University said: “We are experiencing the emergence of a "creative society", a world in which creativity, rather than productivity or efficiency, is the driving force of the global economy. The creative society is a connected society, both the Internet and ubiquitous network are in place, to redistribute resources on a global scale and to expand human creativity in everyday life. This research centre will focus on innovative researches around the theme of “5 Seconds of Fun”, to reshape our lifestyle in the connected society. We bring in experts from various disciplines including technologists, designers, and ethnographers."

The research centre will focus its research efforts in pervasive content for wearable and body media based on the principle that digital computing devices and media will no longer just be in a personal computer or mobile phone in the future. Instead of carrying digital media, one will be able to wear it, or even have it embedded directly in the body. For example, a necktie may become a display and antenna;a person’s ears could become a media controller and receiver.

Professor Hang Chang Chieh, Chairman of the Interactive and Digital Media Institute, NUS said: "The collaboration with Keio University will enable our academic staff and research students to spend quality time at a leading Japanese university. This will widen their horizon of creative media design and technologies. It will build up invaluable personal networks which are important in our effort to rapidly build up our research capability and reputation in this new area of interactive and digital media. The collaboration will also help us to recruit international talent and also promote joint research with companies."

Mr Yap added: “The move to partner international IDM research institutes with Singapore IHLs will serve to enhance Singapore’s IDM research capabilities and it is envisaged that these centres will become world-leaders in their respective research areas, drawing talented researchers from all over the world, and fuelling more innovation in the IDM industry.”

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Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 to champion Media 21, a blueprint to transform Singapore into a global media city. Media 21 seeks to create a vibrant media environment by establishing Singapore as a media exchange, exporting Made-by-Singapore content, internationalising local media companies, nurturing local media talent and developing digital media. More information on MDA can be found on

Interactive & Digital Media (IDM) Sector
The development of the IDM sector requires the collaboration of a diverse range of public sector agencies, educational institutions, industry players and other stakeholders. To achieve this, the National Research Foundation has allocated $500 million over the next five years from 2006 to fund the development of a strategic IDM research programme and the set-up of a multi-agency IDM R&D Programme Office within the Media Development Authority of Singapore to oversee R&D initiatives in the IDM space. This multi-agency team is accountable to the IDM Executive Committee and coordinates a cross-disciplinary effort to deepen Singapore’s research capacity in IDM.

Keio University
Keio University has a proud history as Japan's first private institution of higher learning, which dates back to the formation of a school for Dutch studies in 1858 in Edo (now Tokyo) by founder Yukichi Fukuzawa. Since the school's inception, the students of Keio have risen to the forefront of innovation in every academic field, many emerging as social and economic leaders. It currently has 10 undergraduate and 14 graduate schools. Keio University Graduate School of Media Design (KMD) was established in April 2008 to foster "Media Innovators" and creative global leaders who understand the core creative skills of design, technology, management, and policy in the field of media design. Its education takes a practical, hands-on, and global approach to offering various projects grounded in practice by collaborating with international partner institutions and research facilities.
President Yuichiro Anzai was elected Chairman of Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) this year. Associations of world universities that Keio University is a member of include Community of European Management Schools and International Companies (CEMS) and Top Industrial Managers Europe (T.I.M.E.). Keio University has been acting as a host of global research consortium in Asia such as Opencourse Ware (OCW). World Wide Web Consortium(W3C) and Auto-ID Center.
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National University of Singapore (NUS)
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is a multi-campus university of global standing, with distinctive strengths in education and research and an entrepreneurial dimension. Its diverse and cosmopolitan community of over 30,000 students from 100 countries contribute to a rich learning and living environment across three campuses –its principal 150-hectare Kent Ridge campus, Bukit Timah campus and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore in Outram.

NUS offers a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. There are 14 faculties offering courses from architecture to medicine to music. A special feature of NUS education is the global dimension of its courses in partnership with some of the world’s best institutions. NUS also enjoys a close teaching-research association with 14 national-level, 20 university-level and more than 80 faculty-based research institutes and centres. Research activities are strategic and robust, and a ‘no walls’ collaborative culture forms the bedrock of NUS’ research-intensive vibrancy. A spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation promotes creative enterprise university-wide. This is aided by a venture support eco-system that helps students, staff and alumni nurture the development of start-ups into regional and global companies.
NUS plays an active role in international academic networks such as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU). It is ranked amongst the best universities in the world, and is well-regarded for disciplines such as Technology, Biomedicine and the Social Sciences.
More information on NUS can be found at