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NUS: Harnessing Technology for Real-world Transformation

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Organised for the first time in San Francisco’s bustling Bay Area, the two-day NUS Innovation Forum (NIF) facilitated a vibrant exchange of ideas among NUS alumni, students, thought leaders, and industry experts. The forum featured well-attended networking sessions, offering participants opportunities to collaborate and transform ideas into impactful initiatives.

The forum, attended by 200 participants, marked the second edition of NIF, following its inaugural event in Manila in May 2024. Managed by the Office of Alumni Relations, the forum aims to unite alumni, thought leaders and industry experts to discuss trending topics in innovation.

NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Aaron Thean who moderated a panel on “Tech Investments: Opportunities and Challenges in the Bay Area and Singapore”, acknowledged the importance of connecting.

Professor Thean added, “We are committed to fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking in the NUS global community where, even after our students graduate, they are empowered to become lifelong changemakers with their ideas.”

Professor Tan underscored the value of the alumni network in fostering innovation. “We see the value of a strong alumni network at work: from the ties forged across generations to the willingness of our alumni to make introductions, invest in, and share their knowledge with each other. By paying it forward, the community grows and flourishes.”

Associate Professor Benjamin Tee, NUS Vice President (Ecosystem Building), stressed the importance of these interactions for driving innovation. “Meaningful collisions and collaborations are the fuels for innovation, and thought leadership forums like these are the engines.”

Discussions also delved into tech investments in the Bay Area and Singapore. Panellists provided insights into the differing tech ecosystems, noting that fear of failure remains prevalent in Singapore. They encouraged founders to embrace risk and aim beyond local markets.

Navigating the tech industry presents significant challenges, whether as an investor, start-up founder, or employee. NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye noted that they have personally experienced the highs and lows of recent years. He stressed the importance of staying updated with developments to seize opportunities in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

One of the key discussions at the forum focused on the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This panel addressed AI’s positive impact on addressing global challenges, counterbalancing the often highlighted negative aspects.

Panelists discussed diverse perspectives and real-world applications of AI, such as its role in sustainability and conservation efforts. Professor Tan shared NUS’s initiatives in leveraging AI for research and innovation, highlighting projects like AI-accelerated drug discovery, personalised healthcare treatment plans, and AI-empowered video analytics for safety improvements.

The NIF concluded with an NUS evening, providing a platform for participants to reconnect and forge new partnerships, setting the stage for future collaborations.

In an era of growing emphasis on tech-powered patient outcomes, NUS stands as a global leader across various sectors, including biotechnology, healthcare, and medical fields. The university is at the forefront of driving the transition towards a tech-empowered economy by setting technical standards essential for the rapid commercialisation of biotechnologies worldwide.

These initiatives underscore NUS’s unwavering commitment to leveraging technology and data analytics to promote healthy ageing and enhance the quality of life for the elderly. Likewise, its dedication highlights NUS’s global reputation as a champion of tech for good, striving to make a positive impact on society through cutting-edge research and innovation.

By developing scalable and sustainable interventions and pioneering innovative tools, solutions and platforms using the latest cutting-edge technology, NUS aims to create an empowering, supportive environment for all, ensuring people live healthier and more fulfilling lives.


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