University-Industry Collaboration: Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Research and development (R&D) centres are everywhere across Asia, as large corporations embrace partnerships with academic institutions for collaborative innovation, as well as the opportunity to recruit fresh talent with the specific skills these companies need. In an increasingly challenging Asian labour market, smaller scaled companies across a broad spectrum of industries must do what they can to cultivate a resilient talent pipeline. ​​

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is established to advance knowledge and nurture technically grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs, with a focus on Design, through an integrated multi-disciplinary curriculum and multi-disciplinary research.​

With a structured collaborative framework, partnerships between universities and industry can be mutually beneficial to all involved. These partnerships will build a tight-knitted research ecosystem that integrates research, education, and industry to produce graduates and researchers with multi-faceted skills and a holistic understanding of next-generation technology. Nurturing a university culture for industry collaboration has to be an institutional priority. ​

A holistic approach to entrepreneurship can also be mutually beneficial for universities, and entrepreneurs who start out in academia and industry. With motivated and connected experts dedicated to facilitating different types of relationships, university-industry partnerships can lead to exceptional results.​​

Each university-industry partnership is a learning experience. Both successes and unmet targets are valuable learning points, because the experience can refine and transform further collaborations into long-term successes and enduring relationships.​


The forum panel will discuss the key ingredients of University-industry collaboration. The panel members will also debate on upcoming research megatrends and the outlook for Singapore’s entrepreneurship and innovation in the next decade.


  • Factors to successful university-industry collaboration
  • Achieving sustainable framework for collaboration
  • Achieving translational research
  • Opportunities and challenges of the above 3 points
  • Challenges to industry partnerships
  • Challenges to academic partnerships
  • Challenges to IP
  • Conflict of interests arising from multiple academic partnerships
  • Challenges in spin-off
  • Challenges in fund-raising
  • Challenges in midst of the pandemic situation

Forum Panel Members

Senior Director, Venture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Celestine leads the venture, innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives at SUTD. She supports founders, faculty and researchers as they launch their startups and spinoffs and facilitates partnerships with investors, government and corporate partners in the startup community. She also knows first-hand what it is like to build a new business as she had co-founded a startup. Prior to that, she had started as an investment banker and evolved into an intrapreneur spearheading new initiatives and corporate ventures. At the Monetary Authority of Singapore, she led the capital markets development policy and promotion initiatives before moving internally to broaden the investment mandate of the official foreign reserves. She then joined a US financial services group to head its Asia business and led its foray into China and SE Asia.
She is an independent director of Far East Hospitality Trust and serves on the investment committees of several non-profit organisations.


Director, Enterprise Division, A*STAR

Eugene leads A*STAR’s Venture & Creation Growth division (VCG). The team actively seeks to expand the base of innovative enterprises by leveraging technologies and capabilities in A*STAR to create innovative products, services and competitive businesses in Singapore.
Prior to his current appointment, Eugene led A*ccelerate Venture Creation Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of A*STAR. He had also held roles in corporate governance, policy, and business development at A*ccelerate; the marketing & commercialisation arm of A*STAR. Eugene also previously held various offices at A*STAR including Director of its Organisational Excellence Division and Deputy Director of Policy and Planning. Before joining the A*STAR family, Eugene had come from a varied background which spanned consultancy and market intelligence for companies such as IDC and IBM.
Eugene holds an MSc in Management from the London School of Economics.


Founder, Uni Connect
Investor & Mentor in Disruptive Startups

Hema is the Founder of Uni Connect Pte Ltd, a company that serves the Talent Acquisition needs of the Electronics and Semiconductor industries since 1998. Hema is passionate about creating jobs and empowering engineers at all levels.

A serial entrepreneur, Hema has spent many years creating and driving entrepreneurial ventures in varied industries, spanning Professional Services, Electronics, Travel and Electric Vehicles. Hema holds an MBA from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.


First Prototyper, Audacity
Creative Director, Mistletoe

Absorbed by the world reshaped by climate and cybernetics, Jeremy is director of the civilisational prototyping lab Audacity/Aufhaven and concurrently creative director of the venture builder Mistletoe.

He started as an auditor in Chicago, and was lead administrator for the EU/ERDF industrial innovation network in Nordic Europe and the British Isles. He served various consulting roles in Berlin, Beijing, Abu Dhabi and Hanoi, including repeated collaborations with G7/G20 chair Hans Eichel. He received the Singapore government's Creative Talent Award (MICA) and produced seven films - most recently the French-Indonesian art film “Abracadabra” nominated in 2020 for nine “Indonesian Oscars” (Citras).


President of Huawei, Asia Pacific Enterprise Business Group (former CEO of Huawei International Pte Ltd)

Nicholas is the President of Asia Pacific Enterprise Business of Huawei International. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Huawei International where he brought extensive international experience to his role as he held various positions at Huawei in different regions. Nicholas has more than 16 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.
Prior to that, Nicholas was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Philippines from 2014 to 2018. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Vice President of Global Wireless Marketing & Solutions Sales Department in Huawei Headquarters in Shenzhen and before that he was the Head of Wireless Marketing & Solution Sales Department of Huawei India Region Office. Nicholas has also led several important ICT projects in over 40 countries from 2005 to 2011.