President Tony Tan officiates at celebrations at the Inauguration Ceremony of SUTD

07 May 2012

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) marked the official commencement of its undergraduate academic year with an Inauguration Ceremony today. The Inauguration Ceremony was officiated by the President of Singapore Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also the University’s Chancellor, before a rousing gathering comprising SUTD’s pioneer batch of undergraduate students and faculty members.

SUTD faculty members, including the Chancellor, Chairman of SUTD’s Board of Trustees Mr Philip Ng, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Associate Provost Professor Philip Khoury, Zhejiang University’s Vice President Professor Wu Ping, SUTD President Professor Thomas Magnanti, were robed in academic regalia and led the university’s very first academic processional at the ceremony. There were speeches made by the President of Singapore, and also SUTD’s Chancellor, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, SUTD President Professor Thomas Magnanti, MIT’s Associate Provost Professor Philip Khoury and Zhejiang University’s President Professor Yang Wei via a video broadcast, and President of SUTD Student Council, Ms Sharlene Wong. An SUTD Student Honour Code, written by the students themselves, was recited by the inaugural batch of students, led by the Student Council President.

Speaking at the university’s Inauguration Ceremony, Dr Tony Tan said: “SUTD provides a curriculum and pedagogy that is both multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary, to develop its students with both the breadth and depth of knowledge to handle cross-cutting issues in this globalised environment.”

Incorporated as Singapore’s fourth publicly-funded university in July 2009, SUTD is positioned as a top-tier research-intensive institution, which will focus on technology-intensive design education and research. Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and China’s Zhejiang University (ZJU), SUTD will be a university of transcontinental reach. It is expected to serve as a new engine of knowledge creation and talent attraction that will help boost Singapore’s economic vibrancy.

Becoming a World-Class, Research-intensive University

SUTD is setting its sights to become a world-class, research-intensive university. It aims to set up a system and organisation that encourages all faculty and students to come together to work on design and technology projects. Besides the set-up of the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre and the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities to design devices, systems and services that address strategic needs of Singapore, the region and the global economy, SUTD also signed three memoranda of understanding with the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on 24 April 2012 to:

  1. Embark on a strategic partnership in Research and Development,
  2. Establish Temasek Laboratories at SUTD, and
  3. Establish a centre on interdisciplinary research in Trustworthy Infocomm Systems (iTRUST) at SUTD.

SUTD President Professor Thomas Magnanti said: “We welcome collaborations with industry and domain-specific public agencies as they provide a platform to ensure that our research is relevant and practical. Such collaborations, like with MINDEF, allow us to bring meaningful applications into our classrooms, as the research projects present opportunities for our students to gain exposure to work on real-life challenges.”

Chief Defence Scientist of MINDEF Mr Quek Tong Boon added: “Through our collaboration with SUTD, I hope our soldiers can have smartly designed devices and systems that are better optimised and integrated for their intended missions. I also hope that it would enable us to have a framework for trustworthy infocomm systems. Besides collaborative research, our partnership with SUTD can also be manifested in many other forms such as student projects, internships, adjunct appointments, post-doctorate fellowships and defence scholars studying at SUTD.”

The Temasek Laboratories at SUTD which will be operational in May 2012, is established to build competencies and undertake research and development in the areas of system design and development. These include unmanned systems, information systems, soldier systems and engineering systems for defence. iTRUST, a centre focused on a broad range of cyber-security research, will be operational by end 2012. It will build competencies and undertake cutting-edge research and development on the design and evaluation of trustworthy infocomm systems. Its focus will include interdependency modelling and analysis, software and firmware characterisation, and security of critical infocomms infrastructure.

The collaboration will enable MINDEF to tap into SUTD’s strength, resources and network to enhance the defence research and development of Singapore. In turn, SUTD’s researchers, faculty, students and partners will have the opportunity to embark on cutting-edge research to address some of the problems that are relevant to Singapore’s defence and security. The research at Temasek Laboratories at SUTD and iTRUST will complement the R&D work undertaken by the DSO National Laboratories, the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore’s defence industry to harness the potential of science and technology for the nation’s defence. 

SUTD Provost Professor Chong Tow Chong, who will also be taking on the role as the first Director of Temasek Laboratories at SUTD, said: “Our wish for SUTD’s Temasek Laboratories is to be the world’s leading research centre in the frontier of systems design and integration, 10 years from now.” 

Speeches by:
SUTD President, Professor Thomas Magnanti 
MIT Associate Provost, Professor Philip Khoury 
ZJU President, Professor Yang Wei 
SUTD's Chancellor & President of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam 
SUTD Pro tem Student Council President, Ms Sharlene Wong