New defence and security research office opens at NTU

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will team up with the Defence Ministry to open a new office specialising in defence and security research.

To be called the Office of Research and Technology in Defence and Security, it will oversee all defence-related research centres, as well as some 120 ongoing projects in NTU, totalling $130 million when it opens later this year.

Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing noted the long cooperation between both parties and said he was pleased they were embarking on a new strategic thrust in defence and security research.

He was speaking at the 10th anniversary of Temasek Labs@NTU (TL@NTU), a joint research centre set up by NTU and Mindef in 2003.

Touching on some of its achievements, Mr Chan said the TL@NTU has, for instance, found a way to create flexible ceramics, which can be used for body or vehicular armour. The breakthrough was recently published in top academic journal "Science".

It also created advanced microchips, useful for smartphones and in commercial vehicle radar systems which help to avoid collisions.

"This is an example of Mindef stretching our defence dollars by developing technologies that contribute to the security of Singapore and have commercial applications that benefit Singaporeans in their daily lives," said Mr Chan, who is also Minister for Social and Family Development.

Identifying technology as a key pillar of the Republic's defence strategy due to its manpower constraints, Mr Chan also noted how Mindef has built up Singapore's Defence expertise and developed its own technologies. The frigate and SAR 21 rifle, for example, were locally developed and tailored to defence requirements here, he said.

He added that Mindef has also tapped the larger scientific community for expertise.

"Our strategic collaborations with research institutions such as NTU have provided scientific expertise and talent to augment the research of DSTA and DSO," said Mr Chan, referring to the two defence statutory boards.

NTU President Bertil Andersson, who also spoke at the event, noted how TL@NTU had grown from its humble beginnings, with three research programmes and 10 scientists to its 15 programmes and 200 staff today.

Announcing the new office, which will also bring TL@NTU under its wing, he said that NTU will introduce "dual-purpose" research programmes that study both Defence and non-Defence related applications.

"We will continue to work with Mindef to identify future critical research areas and educational opportunities," he said.

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