SUTD Appoints Current Provost Prof Chong Tow Chong as President

23 Mar 2018

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has appointed its Acting President and Founding Provost, Professor Chong Tow Chong, as the new President of SUTD, with effect from 1 April 2018.
SUTD is Singapore’s fourth autonomous university, set up with a mission to advance knowledge and nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs. Since 2015, SUTD graduates have maintained high overall employment rates and starting salaries in the Graduate Employment Survey. SUTD has also built a reputation as a thought leader in multi-disciplinary technology and research, having set up over 10 research centres and received a growing number of research accolades - including Clarivate Analytics’ State of Innovation Report 2017 that listed SUTD as the fifth-most influential scientific research institution in telecommunications, based on the citation impact of research papers.
Before joining SUTD as its Provost, Professor Chong was Executive Director of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Science and Engineering Council, as well as A*STAR’s Data Storage Institute. At the same time, he was also a Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Refer to Annex A for Prof Chong’s bio).
As SUTD’s Founding Provost, Professor Chong has been intimately involved with the growth and development of the University since 2010. On 1 January 2018, Professor Chong took on the role of Acting President after SUTD Founding President, Professor Thomas Magnanti, stepped down at the end of his eight-year term. Professor Chong has worked together with Professor Magnanti from the beginning on their shared vision of multi-disciplinary education and research, to ensure that SUTD is uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. He has also been spearheading SUTD’s new growth plans (announced in December 2017) and is currently working with the leadership team and industry partners to bring them to fruition.
SUTD Chairman, Mr Lee Tzu Yang, said: “SUTD has seen tremendous growth as a small university that punches above its weight under Professor Magnanti’s firm leadership. After a thorough and wide search, we find that Professor Chong, who has been with us from the conception of SUTD, is the best person for the role of SUTD’s next President. In addition to his experience running the university and his commitment to SUTD’s vision of bettering the world through technology and design, he is also the architect of SUTD’s new growth plans (refer to Annex B). The Board of Trustees believe that Professor Chong is well-placed to lead SUTD to new heights in its next phase of growth.”
Professor Chong Tow Chong said: “I am very honoured and excited to take on the role of SUTD’s President. SUTD’s next phase of growth will be big and bold - in both vision and ambition. Building upon the strong foundation achieved over the past eight years, my team and I will continue to invest in strengthening SUTD’s core and creating new strategic differentiation, by evolving and refining our innovative education and multi-disciplinary research, as well as expanding our pervasive partnerships with industry, government and global universities. This will ensure that SUTD continues to deliver a truly unique and world-class university experience for our students to impact the world by design. By equipping our students with critical knowledge and skills and inculcating a mindset of lifelong learning, especially in the current fast-evolving global economy, we will continue to produce technically-grounded leaders and innovators to meet the challenges facing Singapore and the world.”
The search for a new Provost is ongoing both locally and globally.  A high-level search committee will continue efforts to find the next Provost to further SUTD’s vision of preparing students for the future and creating a better world by design.


Annex A
Bio of Professor CHONG Tow Chong, President, Singapore University of Technology and Design
As SUTD’s founding Provost, Prof Chong Tow Chong played an instrumental role in steering the strategic development and operationalisation of SUTD, including the varsity’s educational curriculum, pedagogy, faculty recruitment, research progammes, industry collaboration, international visibility and campus development. Prof Chong orchestrated the incorporation of AI-related subjects into the undergraduate curriculum, as well as launched five new Minor and two new Master programmes as part of the University’s long-term growth plans.  He was appointed SUTD’s Acting President on 1 January 2018.
Prior to joining SUTD, Prof Chong had a 15-year career in A*STAR as Executive Director of the Science and Engineering Research Council and Data Storage Institute. He also had a 30-year academic career with the National University of Singapore (NUS) as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Prof Chong has authored and co-authored over 400 publications in international journals, presented more than 35 invited talks, and registered 25 patents. He has received numerous awards such as the President’s Science and Technology Medal, the Public Administration Medal (Silver), the ASME ISPS Division Leadership in Research and Development Award, and the Teaching Excellence Award from NUS.
Prof Chong received his Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from NUS, and a Doctor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2003.

Annex B
SUTD’s New Growth Plans
To strengthen our core capabilities and contribute to Singapore’s long-term goals, SUTD will roll out ambitious integrated, multi-disciplinary programmes over the next five years. These include plans to:

  • Establish strategic collaboration with industry, government and academia to prepare our graduates, develop the innovations needed for the future economy, and support national thrusts aimed at making Singapore a Smart Nation;

  • Contribute to key recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) on Industry Transformation, SkillsFuture initiatives, and the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan;

  • Forge new partnership models in key strategic areas. These include:

    • Healthcare

    • Cities

    • Artificial Intelligence/Data Science

    • Aviation 

In each of these areas, SUTD will foster closer industry-government-academia partnerships by co-creating programmes with partners, through initiatives designed to tighten the integration between research, education and industry. These initiatives include:

  • research collaboration to develop state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities for
      industry transformation;

  • in-depth faculty-staff learning and training exchanges;

  • co-development of specialised, skills-based courses;

  • access to advanced facilities and equipment for teaching, learning and research;

  • enhanced internship and mentorship programmes with job placements, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

SUTD will build on its unique Technology and “Big-D” Design approach to strengthen integration between research, education, training, innovation and enterprise. Students and professionals will thus be better equipped to serve societal needs through multi-disciplinary technology and design.
For more information, please refer to SUTD’s news release on our new growth plans.