It’s been a while since I wrote about our operations in Singapore, and having had an NUIS Board Meeting this morning which included an impressive report from Ehsan Mesbahi, the NUIS Chief Executive Officer, it seems an appropriate moment to highlight achievements over the last year.
For those unfamiliar with our Singapore operations, currently five of our schools have staff permanently based there – MAST and CEAM are based at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), whereas AFRD and MSE (and most recently EEE) are based at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). Our presence there is through a collaboration with Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), with whom we have developed an excellent working relationship. It’s fair to say that the operation has grown beyond our expectations. Starting with an intake of 68 students in 2009/10, we are expecting 612 students in 2013/14 with a target of 724 in 2014/15. In 2009/10 we had 4 academic staff based in Singapore, whereas for the academic year 2013/14 we will have 45 staff, comprising 31 academic and 14 support staff. We currently offer seven degree programmes, with a new programme in power engineering coming on stream this year, and another in the pipeline.
As a Russell Group institution, in an ideal world we would build our research activities in parallel with teaching. Practicalities have meant that we needed to introduce and consolidate our teaching programmes first, but we are now well on the way to bringing our research up to strength as well. For example, 12 students are currently being registered for PhD study, and the list of research grants in the last twelve months is very impressive, as shown in the table below.
This is an impressive performance by any standards, particularly when one considers that success rates with research funders in Singapore are no higher than in the UK, and in many respects are even more competitive. Despite this, I would encourage Principal Investigators in Newcastle to discuss research collaborations with their counterparts in Singapore, since the funding opportunities there are very different from our own.
So all in all a very remarkable success story. This however would not have been possible without our colleagues in Singapore, who in many respects have had to pioneer the creation of an offshore campus. On a personal note I’d like to thank you all and look forward to further successes. Thanks are also due to SIT and our colleagues at NP and NYP for working so effectively with us as we build up to full strength.