Q&A with Professor Subra Suresh

Q What made you decide to take up the position as fourth president of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU)?

A I have had a long and delightful variety of interactions with Singapore for the past several decades spanning more than 25 years, including with NTU. This new role presents a natural opportunity for me at this point in time.

I have witnessed and always admired Singapore's commitment to excel. The consistent support of the Government, the hard work of the NTU faculty, staff and students and the rise of Singapore on the global stage have charted an impressive trajectory in the past few decades for NTU.

Equally attractive is the fact that NTU is a fast-rising university in a cosmopolitan city that is at the crossroads of Asia. Asia is rising and NTU has the potential to go even further and ride this exciting wave of opportunity. I feel very privileged to be able to lead NTU in its next phase of development.

Q What do you think of the higher education and research landscape in Singapore and how it has evolved over the years? What should NTU's role be?

A The consistent commitment to education and research, from K-12 (kindergarten and the first grade through to the 12th grade) and at university levels, has delivered tremendous results for Singapore over the last 20 years.

Singapore's rise in the global stage for education and research has been nothing short of remarkable.

Although a young university, NTU belies its relatively short history. It has made a significant impact in education and research not just in Singapore, but also in Asia and the rest of the world.

It has built up a global reputation for excellence and is able to attract leaders in technology, such as BMW, Rolls-Royce and Siemens, to its campus.

The university is poised for an even brighter future in higher education and research. I look forward to working with the university community and its stakeholders to capitalise on its global success.

Q What will your immediate priorities be?

A I will go on a listening tour across campus and across town that engages the current and former members of the NTU community to learn more of its rich and impressive history and heritage.

It is important to understand what is on the minds of the university community and to take some of their perspectives and ideas.

Q You are known to be a strong proponent of more women entering Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Will that continue in Singapore?

A I have always been a strong proponent of attracting the best talent and reaping the benefits of a diverse team.

I strongly believe that diversity intrinsically enhances innovation. That cannot be accomplished without talented women students.

Half of the population is women, and we cannot miss out on the talent and perspectives they bring. If your university has a reputation for being inclusive, people will come knocking on your door and you will attract the best talent, including women.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Q&A with Professor Subra Suresh'. Print Edition | Subscribe