The 7 keys to becoming a leading university

Nanyang Technological University of Singapore

Bertil Andersson, president emeritus of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, shares his view on how they managed to become one of the best universities in the world.

Image: Bigstock

By: Luis Estrada / TecReview

During his participation in the 49th Congress of Research and Development at Tec de Monterrey, Bertil Andersson, Professor of Biochemistry and retired President of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU), shared his view on how NTU became one of the best universities in the world.

"In 2007, NTU was basically a teaching university; educating the workforce for Singapore in business and engineering. When I got there, I took advantage of the new investment that came from the government to the maximum," he stated.

Here are the seven key elements that established NTU as number 12 worldwide according to QS World University Rankings:

  1. The growth of the academic portfolio

    NTU identified its strengths, such as water and energy care, to attract star students that would help the university excel in those areas.

  2. Revitalize human resources

    NTU started its own scheme in 2007 called the Nanyang Assistant Professor Scheme to attract young research stars. Also, NTU's "hyperactivity" in research concurred with Singapore’s government significant investments in research and innovation.

  3. Emphasize research

    NTU recruited two types of people: the great whales, the superstars, and then young researchers who competed for scholarships in the ERC [European Research Council].

  4. Investment in infrastructure

    In recent years, NTU invested in residencies for students, new laboratories, sophisticated equipment for research and inverted classroom programs, combined with face-to-face classes both inside and outside the classrooms. Furthermore, NTU stands out for its extensive gardens and has a complex of 200 hectares known as Yunnan garden.

  5. Reform to their educational model

    NTU’s main building got rid of traditional classrooms. Their new educational areas are intelligent laboratories, with adjustable clustered seats and wireless communication tools to facilitate group discussions.

  6. Internationalization

    More than 35% of publications and studies are the result of their international collaboration. Currently, they have research programs along with the MIT, Imperial College London and Tec de Monterrey.

  7. Governance

    Bertil Andersson stated that one of the most relevant advances of the university is to have a select group of advisers at a global level.

"I think universities like Tec de Monterrey are those that open paths and look for tools to innovate. Tec and NTU are alike because they are young universities with a desire to transform our nations."