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Imperial and NTU's new medical school aspires to be global health care role model

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London today signed an official agreement to jointly establish Singapore's third medical school. The initiative was previously announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally 2010, in August. Presently, the working name for the school is "Imperial College London-Nanyang Technological University Medical School" (ICNMS).

To start in 2013, ICNMS will be positioned to meet Singapore's healthcare demands and needs of the future. It will also provide more opportunities for Singaporeans to study medicine locally. With a joint degree awarded by both institutions, the programme will be based on Imperial's medical curriculum and standard of teaching which have a high international reputation. The medical degree is the first that Imperial, founded in 1907, will develop, deliver and award overseas.

Dr Su Guaning, President of NTU, said, "This is a landmark agreement in Imperial and NTU's histories. Starting up a new school is never easy, much less a medical school. That we can achieve this agreement within just two years shows the commitment both NTU and Imperial College have towards this project, and we have set our sights on making ICNMS a global healthcare role model."

Dr Su also invited the medical community in Singapore to help raise and parent this new medical school, together with NTU and Imperial College. He said: "We seek the strong support and engagement of the Singapore medical community, to be mentors, role models and godparents to this fledgling new born."

Present in Imperial's delegation at today's official signing ceremony at NTU are Lord John Kerr of Kinlochard, Chairman of the Court and Council of Imperial College London; Sir Keith O'Nions FRS, Rector of Imperial College London; Professor Mary Ritter, Pro Rector (International); Mr Edward Astle, Pro Rector (Enterprise), Professor Stephen Smith FMedSci, Principal of Imperial's Faculty of Medicine and the Founding Dean of the new medical school; Professor Martyn Partridge, Imperial's Chair in Respiratory Medicine and Senior Vice-Dean of the new medical school, and Professor Jenny Higham, Director of Education in Imperial's Faculty of Medicine.

Sir Keith said: "Imperial is delighted to be strengthening its links with Singapore and cementing our medical school partnership with NTU. Working hand in hand, we will help to meet Singapore's future healthcare needs by creating the Imperial College-Nanyang Technological University Medical School, which will train doctors equipped for tomorrow's challenges. We hope that the new medical school will be a source of great pride for all involved in its development, especially Imperial's community of nearly 2,000 alumni based in Singapore."

Presiding over the signing ceremony were Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, and Minister for Health, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.

Dr Ng said, "Today's ceremony marks a very important and exciting milestone for NTU and ICNMS. I was keen to facilitate this partnership as Imperial College has been able to marry their capabilities in engineering and medicine to strengthen both faculties. I saw parallels in Imperial's development with NTU's potential and strategic direction. The new medical school is an important project for Singapore as it will contribute to better and more effective ways to train more doctors in Singapore to meet future healthcare challenges. The Ministry of Education is fully supportive of this partnership, and I wish the school success in the years ahead."

Mr Khaw said, "A third medical school is necessary to meet the needs of a growing population which is also ageing. Starting a new medical school is however a major endeavour. But given the partnership between NTU, Imperial College and our healthcare system, I am confident that it will be a great success, adding value to our two existing world-class medical schools. All three will cooperate but also compete to gear up a new generation of doctors who will transform healthcare and help Singaporeans stay healthy."

Pro-Tem Governing Board Chair appointed

The new medical school will start out with a Pro-Tem Governing Board (PTGB) to guide the establishment of the school, prior to the appointment of the Governing Board. At the media conference held in advance of the signing ceremony, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and a member of the NTU Board of Trustees, was announced as the Chairman of the school's PTGB.

11. Mr Lim has been active in the Science and Technology as well as the Education sectors, having been a board member of A*STAR's Biomedical Research Council since January 2004 and the National Research Foundation since January 2006. He was also Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education from July 2003 to March 2007. As the Chair of the Pro-Tem Governing Board, Mr Lim will provide strategic direction and oversight of the school's management, and play a pivotal role in driving the development of the new medical school.

Mr Lim said, "Starting a new medical school is an exciting and meaningful development for Singapore. It opens up another pathway for young Singaporeans to pursue a world class medical education. At the same time, it fulfils a need to produce enough of our own doctors to meet the increasing demands for affordable and quality healthcare of Singaporeans. Our aim is to see top quality doctors, medical leaders and researchers emerge from this school in the near future."

The membership of the PTGB will be announced at a later date. The PTGB will include representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, NTU, Imperial, National Healthcare Group and other industry leaders with expertise and experience to help the new medical school achieve its goals.

A world-class medical curriculum

The curriculum for the new 5-year undergraduate medical degree programme will be adapted from Imperial College's world-renowned undergraduate medical curriculum. Jointly developed by both institutions, and with inputs from key stakeholders from the Singapore healthcare sector, the curriculum is designed to suit the Singapore healthcare system while taking advantage of NTU's key strengths in engineering and business. Aimed at producing highly-rated clinicians and creating an impact in healthcare innovation and system as a whole, ICNMS will make use of the latest teaching models and best practices in medical education, while capitalising on research capabilities that interface across medicine, science and technology in bringing advancements to healthcare delivery and practice.

Professor Stephen Smith, Founding Dean of the new medical school said, "Imperial's partnership with NTU, and with hospitals and other healthcare providers across Singapore, represents an exciting opportunity to innovate in the training of doctors. We aim to use modern methods, such as e-learning approaches, to ensure our students receive the highest quality of medical education with a scientific basis, and an appreciation of the value that new technology can add in supporting healthcare practice."

In addition to developing students' medical knowledge, clinical skills and professionalism, the programme will also emphasise key general skills such as interpersonal and communications skills, and lifelong learning capabilities. To help students develop teamwork and leadership skills, there will be training involving multi-disciplinary teams allowing students to work alongside other colleagues from nursing, allied healthcare professions and hospital administration.


Contact: Hisham Hambari
Nanyang Technological University

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