On 16 July 2020, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) signed an MOU to collaborate on faculty and student visits, collaborative academic activities and joint research activities, and an agreement with the Shenzhen Technology University (SZTU) to collaborate on a joint immersion programme for faculty and students. The signing ceremony, which took place virtually, was attended by SUTD President Professor Chong Tow Chong, SUTD Associate Provost for Research and International Relations, Professor Yeo Kiat Seng, SZTU President Professor Ruan Shuangchen and SZTU’s Distinguished Professor & International Affairs Officer of Sino-German College of Intelligent Manufacturing Professor Julian Chan.

The joint immersion programme between SUTD and SZTU will translate into a one-week joint programme in SZTU for up to 50 SUTD and SZTU students. Slated to begin in 2021, the programme ties in to SUTD’s first-year courses and will fall under the Freshmore Asian Cross-curricular Trips (FACT) programme that SUTD launched in 2019. SUTD partially funds students to go on these short immersion trips in ASEAN countries and Asia to expand their learning beyond the classroom. These trips not only provide experiential learning and enable students to better appreciate the notion of applying what they have learnt in the classroom into the real world, they serve as a pre-cursor for students to better understand the region, build networks and prepare for the future after they enter the workforce.

SZTU’s President, Professor Ruan Shuangchen, said that this collaboration between the two universities is synergistic as there are many similarities between SUTD and SZTU. Both schools place great importance in leveraging science, technology and innovation to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators’ practical abilities to solve problems. Professor Ruan added: “SZTU and SUTD are two young universities with great potential for development in the area of faculty-student exchanges and scientific research collaboration.

SUTD President Professor Chong Tow Chong also acknowledged SZTU’s unique insights into the maker culture and anticipates the collaboration will integrate both universities’ pedagogical approach to continually improve the curriculum and promote knowledge creation and innovation.

Professor Chong added: “SUTD is steadfast in our mission to provide students with overseas exposure as we strongly believe such experiential learning will truly widen students’ mindsets and better develop leaders and innovators with foundation in STEM, design thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit to contribute to society and solve real-world problems. Nonetheless, we will proceed with these immersion trips, and any overseas programmes, only when the pandemic situation has improved, when it is safe to travel again, hopefully in 2021.”

As of 2019, SUTD has established partnerships with 45 academic institutions from 15 different countries and regions. Partners include MIT, Zhejiang University, National Taiwan University, KAIST University and University of California, Berkeley.

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