Singapore, August 29, 2023 – With a shared goal of elevating academic standards and nurturing collaborative opportunities, the leadership team from the Faculty of Science at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia embarked on a transformative benchmarking visit to two illustrious institutions in Singapore: the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). This pivotal journey, which unfolded on August 29, 2023, aimed to glean profound insights into best practices, innovative pedagogy, and pioneering research endeavours.
College of Science, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Guided by the esteemed Prof. ChM. Dr Zaiton Abdul Majid, then the Dean of the Faculty of Science, the delegation received a warm reception from NTU’s College of Science (CoS) officials, spearheaded by Dean Prof. Simon Redfern and his team of academic luminaries. The NTU leg of the benchmarking visit delved deeply into the university’s avant-garde pedagogical approaches, unveiling CoS’s ingenious teaching and learning strategies, state-of-the-art laboratories, and their commitment to infusing real-world applications into the curriculum.
One standout feature of the NTU visit was the exploration of cross-disciplinary initiatives, mainly through their research centres of excellence. Representatives from FS UTM engaged in dynamic discussions with NTU faculty members, igniting conversations about collaborative research and academic partnerships that transcend the boundaries of scientific domains, echoing the global trend towards interdisciplinary research.
The delegation was privileged to embark on an exclusive tour of CoS-affiliated centres, including the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), the Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies, and the NTU Institute for Structural Biology (NISB). Additionally, they had the opportunity to explore the remarkable facilities at various schools, such as the School of Biological Sciences, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and the School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Biotechnology. The warm welcome was extended by Prof. Dr. Simon Redfern and an FS UTM student conducting an internship under the tutelage of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rainer Dumke, working on superconducting quantum computers, further enriched the visit. Dr. Liew Chong Wai, the Program Director and Principal Research Fellow and an esteemed alumnus of FS UTM, skillfully orchestrated the NISB leg. Ms. Song Yu Qing, a faculty alumna pursuing her doctorate in plant biotechnology, added her warm greetings during a lab visit.
Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Following the enlightening visit to NTU, the delegation proceeded to the esteemed halls of NUS. They were warmly greeted by Prof. Sow Chorng Haur, NUS Faculty of Science Vice Dean for Outreach and Admissions, and embarked on an extensive tour of NUS Faculty of Science’s cutting-edge research facilities. These included advanced laboratories spanning various scientific disciplines, such as the Centre for Ion Beam Applications, the Chemical, Molecular and Materials Analysis Centre, the Centre for Quantum Technologies, and the NUS Centre for Advanced 2D Materials. This NUS rendezvous was a direct outcome of discussions held with Prof. Sow during the recent Asian Science Deans Summit 2023 in Putrajaya.
A highlight of the visit was an engaging panel discussion featuring NUS Faculty of Science, led by Dean Prof. Sun Yeneng. The discourse encompassed a broad spectrum of topics, from student exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration to fundraising and academic program cooperation. NUS Faculty of Science’s unwavering commitment to nurturing a dynamic research environment and fostering innovation left an indelible mark on the visiting delegation. The focal point of the discussion was the launch of the NUS College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS), a visionary endeavour supported by the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This College strives to offer a transformative approach to teaching and learning, breaking down silos and emphasizing interdisciplinary engagement, enabling students to explore diverse subjects and chart their unique academic pathways. This vision serves as an inspiring model for FS UTM in reinforcing our educational pathways and student development roadmap.
Key Takeaways and Collaborative Prospects
The benchmarking visit provided an invaluable opportunity to explore cutting-edge academic program development, diverse teaching and learning methodologies, research directions, and administrative practices. This exchange of ideas and experiences is poised to profoundly impact our science curriculum, research endeavours, and the overall academic ecosystem.
Prof. Zaiton expressed her enthusiasm about the prospects for future collaboration between UTM, NUS, and NTU, particularly among the three science faculties. “The insights gained during this benchmarking visit are priceless. We are excited to implement some of these best practices back home and explore potential joint academic collaborations and research projects that could significantly advance scientific knowledge and community development in Malaysia.” Armed with knowledge and inspiration from two of Singapore’s foremost academic institutions, the delegation returns with renewed dedication to strengthening institutional ties and propelling science education and research boundaries.
By: ChM. Dr. Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab, Dr. Yap Yung Szen, Assoc. Prof. ChM. Dr. Mohd Bakri Bakar
Visit to the EOS, NTU
Research briefing at CQT, NTU
At the Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies
NTU student Makespace
With CoS, NTU top management
At NUS Chemical, Molecular and Materials Analysis Centre
Dean of FS UTM Prof. ChM. Dr. Zaiton Abdul Majid and Dean of FS NUS Prof. Sun Yeneng
With Faculty of Science NUS top management