Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)


There are six universities in Singapore.
When I checked the recent articles that I have already written in the Global New Light of Myanmar, it was found that I have inadvertently failed to write two universities.
Universities in Singapore
•    National University of Singapore
•    Nanyang Technological University
•    Singapore Management University
•    Singapore Institute of Technology
•    Singapore University of Technology and Design
•    SIM University
I have already contributed the first four universities, and now the author has taken up the fifth university.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
The university is the fourth autonomous university of the Republic of Singapore. SUTD’s mission is to advance knowledge and nurture technically grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs. At SUTD, design as a discipline cuts across the curriculum and provides a novel framework for the research and educational programmes.
SUTD undergraduate students are granted either a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degrees with a major in (1) Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD), (2) Engineering Product Development (EPD), (3) Engineering Systems Design (ESD) and (4) Information Systems and Technology Design (ISTD). It also offers an MIT-SUTD (the Singapore University of Technology and Design and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Dual Master’s degree Programme; a full-time programme leading to a degree from both MIT and SUTD. SUTD also offers PhD in each of its four areas of focus (pillars). SUTD is the only institution in Singapore apart from Yale-NUS College to follow a holistic admissions process.
The university opened its doors at its Dover Road interim campus in April 2012. Its permanent campus at Changi (Airport Area) opened in January 2015. It is the only university to be located in the eastern part of Singapore. The new campus is located next to Upper Changi MRT Station on the Downtown Line Stage 3 which will be operational in 2017. The founding president is Thomas L. Magnanti, who is a Professor with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been developing an undergraduate curriculum suited to the local context since the two universities signed the collaboration agreement in January 2010. The curriculum offers a modern engineering and architecture education that crosses traditional departments enabling students to finish 8 terms in 3.5 years thus graduating 9 months earlier than National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University. SUTD provides a common curriculum for all students in the first 3 terms also referred to as “freshmore” terms. (It means a student in his/her second year of high school who has failed too many classes to be considered a sophomore).
Graduate Programmes
A two-year full-time MIT-SUTD Dual Masters’ Degree Programme will be offered in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to talented graduates with a keen interest in research in one of the following areas: Civil and Environmental Engineering; Supply Chain Management Programme; Master of Engineering in Manufacturing. Graduate opportunities also include the SUTD PhD Programme. Candidates will spend up to one year in USA, and the other year in Singapore, receiving master’s degrees from both MIT and SUTD.
Academic Pillars
Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD):
ASD prepares students for the immediate present and future needs of architecture and sustainable design through an innovative approach that concentrates on technology and design, design creativity and cultural sensitivity. Students will be trained to deal with the important issues of future cities, such as the rapid urbanization in Asia, the digitalization of practice, and the transformation of fabrication by algorithms (a set of rules that must be followed when solving a particular problem) and robots. ASD prepares students for positions in architectural design, construction, and real estate management and development, as well as for various graduate programmes.
Engineering Product Development (EPD):
EPD covers the conception, design, analysis, implementation and operation of technology- intensive systems and products in the fields of electronics, chemical systems, defence, energy, machinery, robotics, aerospace, transportation, and bio-engineering. It prepares students for leadership, entrepreneurship, and industrial positions in engineering and product development, as well as for various graduate programmes.
Engineering Systems Design (ESD):
ESD focuses on the modeling, design, optimization and management of large scale complex systems whose performance and function depend both on their technology and on the socio-economic context within which they operate. Examples include supply chains and logistics, financial services, health care delivery systems, transportation systems, security and defence systems as well as energy production and distribution systems. It prepares students for positions as system analysts or project leaders in a wide range of private and public sectors, for careers in consulting, and for various graduate programmes.
Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD):
ISTD focuses on “Information Systems” that includes all areas of computer science and computer engineering, particularly the design and interaction of information systems for the physical world that includes humans and machines. It prepares students for positions as software engineers adept at designing, building, and testing complex software and software/hardware systems in all areas of human endeavors including social media, banking and finance, transportation, health care, and games. ISTD prepares students for challenging jobs that advance technology for human benefit, graduate programmes and subsequent careers in education and research.
Research Initiatives
SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC):
The IDC is engaged to become the world’s premier scholarly hub for technologically- intensive design. It is a multi-million dollar centre based both in Singapore at SUTD, and at MIT, with academic and industrial partners from around the world. IDC faculty, researchers and students work together to design devices, products, systems, services and the built environment that address strategic needs of Singapore, the greater Asian region, the US, and the global community. At the same time, the IDC studies and advances the design process and design science, seeking to develop new tools and methods for design practice and education. The IDC has more than 100 projects that involve approximately 270 faculty, researchers, and students.
IDC is part of a collaboration agreement between SUTD and MIT.
Lee Kwan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (CIC)
LKY CIC is one of the first university centers to focus on the integrated use of technology and design to derive solutions for urban planning, design, development and management. The Centre will study the confluence of governance, social management frameworks and technology and design innovations. It is one of five research centers in the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The pioneering model of SUTD, a university without boundaries extends to how it is organized to cross disciplines, and the research strength of LKY CIC is drawn from the multi-disciplinary faculty working closely with a core team of research fellows at the Centre.
SUTD-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I 3 Center)
The SUTD-JTC I 3 Centre is set up to spearhead research efforts in design, architecture, engineering, and social science that will create value for industry, investors and Singapore. This new partnership platform aims to forge closer collaboration to scale up the industry’s innovation, facilitate the development of the next big idea, and build new local capabilities in the field of industrial infrastructure development.
“iTrust” Research Centre
“iTrust” is a multidisciplinary research centre located at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), established collaboratively by SUTD and the Ministry of Defence, Singapore (MINDEF).
The focus of iTrust is on cyber security. Systems of interest include large infrastructure of national importance (such as power grid, water treatment, oil refineries) as well as cyber-devices used in health care, examples the pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps, and VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) implants.
Through academic research O-Lab is developing and validating effective approaches to collaborative design across Asia. O-lab comprises academics and practitioners interested in understanding and enhancing design practices. They work with diverse local and international partners including NGOs, Government Agencies, Academic Institutes and Community Bodies to develop and run participatory design projects. These participatory projects are conducted as action research where O-Lab members, project partners and other stakeholders come together to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct, and evaluate their decisions and actions.
Temasek Labs (TL) at SUTD
TL at SUTD undertakes cutting-edge research and development while building up both technical and human talent capabilities in vital fields. The current focus is on areas of defence system design and development, such as Unmanned Systems, Information Systems, Soldier Systems and Engineering Systems.
TL at SUTD harnesses the potential of science, technology and design for Singapore’s defence, and complements the work that is currently undertaken at the National Laboratories, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and other research establishments.
The interim campus for Singapore University of Technology and Design from April 2012 was at Dover, Singapore. SUTD’s permanent campus recently opened in January 2015 at Changi, near Changi Business Park. SUTD has appointed DP Architects Pte Company to design the academic building cluster of its permanent campus in Upper Changi, and in collaboration with UN Studio from Amsterdam, through an open selection process.
In the space of just a few generations, Singapore has transformed itself from an impoverished colonial outpost into a country with a higher per capita gross domestic product than the US.
Something similar appears to be happening to its academic sphere. Singapore’s two strongest research universities have leapt from the “Fourth Division to the Champions League” over the past decade.
One analyst was of the view that Singapore’s university system is explicitly planned by the government to serve the needs of the economy in a way that would be unthinkable in the UK.
Another educational observer opined that one current concern for policymakers is that the city state’s graduates too often get stuck in the middle ranks of multinational corporations because they are seen – or are stereotyped. They are hardworking graduates yet lacking in creativity.
Education has evolved into more than the lessons and assignments given in the classroom, instead it can be seen as a way of experiencing the world and communicating with it in order to broaden the horizons.
There may be motley assortment of assessments and evaluations from different angle and perspective.
However, the aim and purpose of the author is to present about the recently opened SUTD in April 2012 in plain and simple form to the esteemed readers of the Global New Light of Myanmar and to the interested professionals in the field of education.

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