Published on 18 July 2017
Le président de l’Université Paris-Saclay, Gilles Bloch, avec Low Teck Seng, le président de la NRF

The President of Université Paris-Saclay met the President of the National Research Foundation of Singapore.

On 4 July 2017, the president of the NRF, Low Teck Seng, with the ambassador of Singapore to France, Zainal Arif Mantaha, and Eugene See, head of CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise, NRF campus in Singapore), met Gilles Bloch, the president of Université Paris-Saclay, at the IRT SystemX, with Guillaume Garreta, director of international relations, and Armelle Regnault, deputy director of research, within the framework of an exploratory mission to identify partnership opportunities. The visit follows on from several missions by representatives of the French state to Singapore in 2017 such as that of President François Hollande who, on this occasion, signed 15 agreements of which 7 directly involve UPSaclay laboratories.

The National Research Foundation

Created in 2006 as a department of the Office of the Prime Minister of Singapore, the mission of the National Research Foundation is to facilitate and coordinate the development of fundamental research within universities, with the establishment of campuses and research clusters integrating centres of excellence.

Strong links between Singapore and Université Paris-Saclay

There are many existing and potential areas of collaboration between the players of Saclay and Singapore, such as, for instance, 3 international joint units (unité mixte internationale - UMI) in medical imaging, quantum physics, and nanotechnology in electronics, 1 international research network (groupement de recherche international-GDRI) on renewable energy, and 1 joint research program (projet international de coopération scientifique - PICS) in nanoparticles applied to bioscience and biotechnologies. Furthermore, several members of Université Paris-Saclay have agreements with Singapore institutions, in particular for dual degrees, joint PhDs and student exchange. Building on these relations, the mission of Prof. Low Teck Seng was the opportunity to formerly meet the representatives of Université Paris-Saclay as well as players from the ecosystem who are strongly involved or have connections with education or research institutions from Singapore, such as the CNRS, the CEA, the LSCE and the IRT SytemX.

Productive meetings with players from the Paris-Saclay ecosystem

The CNRS formerly set up in Singapore in 2006 (with the “IPAL” UMI) where it has, to date, 4 UMI, 1 GDRI as well as its regional office for Southeast Asia. These UMI and GDRI serve as a basis for collaboration for many scientific partner laboratories, of which a great many are within the Saclay ecosystem (LPICM, III-V Lab, Thales TRT, C2N, LPS, GeePs, NIMBE, L2S). The CNRS is currently discussing the opening of CNRS@CREATE with the NRF, a structured partnership within the CREATE campus of the NRF, whose first programme, named SILVER (Singapore Innovative Living Environment) for the support of dependent people, between IT engineering and human and social sciences, involves a dozen French partners.

The CEA signed a collaboration agreement in June 2016 with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on materials, imaging and biotechnologies which gave rise to a doctoral exchange programme in materials, and constitutes a first milestone in relations with Singapore, with other collaborations currently under study, in particular in the area of circular economy.

The research activities of the LSCE (Laboratory for Sciences of Climate and Environment) are directly linked to the research activities of Singapore. Discussions with Prof. Low Teck Seng enabled the parties to identify three themes conducive to future collaboration: research on smouldering fires in Indonesia that have an impact on air quality and carbon emissions, coastal areas and the impact of climatic change on corals and, finally, rising sea levels and their influence on freshwater resources. These discussions should give rise to subsequent meetings in the near future.

Finally, the IRT SystemX is working on an establishment project in Singapore (SystemX@Singapour) destined to become a partner research and innovation center, which will be based, among others, on the academic partnership between UPSaclay and NTU (joint PhD agreement) and will focus on sustainable development, mobility of the future and smart urban solutions. This project should be implemented early 2018.

At the end of the meeting with Gilles Bloch and UPSaclay representatives, Prof. Low Teck Seng underlined with great interest the strong ties between the university, the laboratories and the companies of the ecosystem, and expressed the wish to reinforce collaborations between the universities of both countries ahead of the France-Singapore year of innovation in 2018.

De gauche à droite : François Stephan, Guillaume Garreta, Armelle Regnault, Gilles Bloch, Low Teck Seng, Zainal Arif Mantaha, et Eugene See

From left to right: François Stephan, Deputy CEO, International & Development (IRT SystemX), Guillaume Garreta, director of international relations (UPSaclay), Armelle Regnault, deputy director of research (UPSaclay), Gilles Bloch, president (UPSaclay), Low Teck Seng, president (NRF), Zainal Arif Mantaha, ambassador (Embassy of Singapore in France) and Eugene See, head of CREATE


Legend main picture : The president of Université Paris-Saclay, Gilles Bloch, with Low Teck Seng, the president of the NRF.