UI to conduct research in partnership with Singapore

By Kate Szyszka

A venture approved by the University Board of Trustees allotted funding for a program that will use new technology to conduct research in Singapore government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*STAR – a first for the University.

“What makes it so exciting is that [the partnership] is the first of its kind.” said Charles Zukoski, University vice chancellor for research.

The University has had a decade-long partnership with research scientists in Singapore.

“We have long and deep ties to Singapore due to faculty communication and programing,” Zukoski added.

Singapore’s Fusionopolis, a structure that has labs in which researchers can conduct government and academic research and is also surrounded by a variety of corporate and industrial labs which allow scientists the ability to test new ideas, played a major role in the decision to partner with Singapore, Zukoski said.

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“We’re not going to be able to build something like this in Champaign-Urbana,” he added.

The program pairs researchers from Singapore and the University’s Department of Engineering.

“This is a collaborative effort that we have never tried before,” Zukoski said. “Which is just one of the reasons that it is so important.” The partnership increases the department’s ability to conduct intensive research and the variety of ways in which the University, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University can work together.

Faculty will work with A*STAR in Singapore and graduate students in engineering will be able to apply to work for the program.

“Graduate students can apply to this engineering program just as they would any other, such as electrical engineering or civil,” Zukoski added.

Graduate students will likely be able to apply beginning in Fall 2008.

“This is a small country and a lot of collaboration,” Zukoski said. “I’m imagining that this will further the partnership between A*STAR and the University.”