20 students heading to Paris in Jan 2023 as NUS Overseas College expands into France

They will be attached for six months to start-ups in the digital, food and retail technology sectors. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - About 20 students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will be going to Paris in January next year when the NUS Overseas Colleges programme expands to France.

The undergraduates will be attached for six months to start-ups in the French capital that are in the digital, food and retail technology sectors, said NUS president Tan Eng Chye.

He said: "These are exciting sectors that Paris is leading in.

"I'm optimistic that the programme will be a very important conduit which facilitates the flow of innovation and entrepreneurial talents, ideas and opportunities and access to even bigger markets, investors and funding opportunities for both Singapore and France."

Professor Tan was speaking on Tuesday evening (July 5) to an audience of about 20 people at an event at the residence of the French Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour, near the Botanic Gardens.

The event was to award Prof Tan the title of Knight of the French Order of the Legion of Honour, or Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.

Mr Abensour, who presented the title to Prof Tan, said the Legion of Honour is France's highest award.

In a speech, he highlighted some of the economic and educational links between the two countries, including student exchanges and double degree programmes between Singaporean and French universities.

He added that NUS under Prof Tan's leadership has been a key actor in this collaboration.

Mr Abensour said: "We are also looking forward to the creation of an NUS Overseas College - NOC for short - in France from 2023, so undergraduate students from NUS can do internships in French start-ups incubated by French higher education institutions."

He added that several French institutions, like the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, University of Paris Saclay and PSL Research University, are keen to host NUS students.

Established in 2002, the NOC programme has linked students to start-ups in entrepreneurial hubs like Silicon Valley, Toronto and Stockholm.

Mr Abensour said Prof Tan has also recently reaffirmed links with two French Paris-based institutions - the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs and Universite Paris-Cite.

NUS president Tan Eng Chye (right) receiving the title of Knight of the French Order of the Legion of Honour from French Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour. PHOTO: FRENCH EMBASSY SINGAPORE

On Monday and Tuesday, Science Po director Mathias Vicherat and Prof Tan signed agreements including a renewal of a double master's degree programme between Sciences Po and NUS College, he said.

Prof Tan and Universite Paris-Cite president Christine Clerici also signed an exchange agreement at the doctoral level between NUS Graduate School and her institution.

Mr Vicherat and Professor Clerici were both present for Prof Tan's knighting on Tuesday, along with Prof Tan's family and NUS College dean Simon Chesterman.

Correction note: This story has been edited for accuracy.

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