We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

NUS Establishes World First Revolutionary Materials Science Research Centre

Singapore has positioned itself as a centre of research and innovation at the heart of the world’s most dynamic economic region. With the global technology landscape becoming increasingly competitive, Singapore must constantly embrace innovative technologies to sustain and boost economic competitiveness. This necessitates a hands-on approach to creating an innovation culture, as well as a somewhat hands-off approach to allowing intellectual germination, particularly through entrepreneurship and research.

To this date, government agencies and public universities have been proactive in assisting the country in developing innovations in science and technology. The National University of Singapore (NUS) recently established the Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials (I-FIM), the world’s first institute devoted to the design, synthesis, and application of Functional Intelligent Materials (FIMs). The I-FIM will be Singapore’s sixth research centre of excellence (RCE), and the fourth hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS).

We look forward to I-FIM playing a significant role in our research landscape and becoming a globally renowned institute that will attract, retain and support world-class academic investigators, enhance graduate education in NUS, and create new important knowledge in materials science.

– Singapore’s Education Minister

The Research Innovation and Enterprise Council formed the research centre of excellence scheme in 2007 to attract research talent, improve graduate education in Singapore universities, and training quality research personnel.

The first five research centres of excellence boosted Singapore’s research ecosystem, and their outstanding research has assisted Singapore in dealing with complex challenges such as Covid-19. When fully operational, I-FIM will have over 100 researchers and PhD students working in its facilities on the NUS Kent Ridge campus. Over the next ten years, the centre will provide 50 PhD scholarships and over 100 post-doctoral fellowships.

I-FIM researchers are already working on material-level solutions, such as a targeted drug delivery agent. A novel drug delivery agent based on 2D-electrolytes, for example, will allow for targeted drug delivery. This is especially important for diseases like cancer because the smart material only releases the drug payload when it detects the presence of a cancer cell, leaving healthy cells unharmed. The 2D-electrolytes also show promise in other applications, such as artificial muscles and energy storage, where materials must be responsive to environmental changes. Another example is the emerging living materials composites that extract electrical power from bacteria through a tight synergy of biotic and abiotic elements.

Furthermore, the I-FIM Principal Investigator said that the new materials developed at I-FIM can be used in a variety of fields, including life sciences and medicine. With the novel approach to materials research that I-FIM will take, applications such as artificial photosynthesis, artificial neurons, and even artificial tissues will now be possible.

NUS President was quoted as saying, “Materials research is poised to play a pivotal role in tackling some of the most pressing global challenges. For this reason, we have designated it a key area of focus at NUS, and over the years have amassed some of the world’s most prolific and prominent talents in this important field.”

Given the wide range of FIM applications, the researchers intend to first investigate those that are most impactful and useful to Singapore, while striking a healthy balance between being ambitious and realistic. The I-FIM team also anticipates the formation of spin-off companies in the fields of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics, both for materials design and for specific applications. I-FIM will establish the foundational expertise and infrastructure for the advancement of machine learning and AI solutions for smart technologies and material science in Singapore and around the world.

Singapore’s innovation ecosystem, which includes high-quality infrastructure, a growing pool of dynamic start-ups, well-trained talent, and strong government support, is a major draw for global businesses. Because of these characteristics, Singapore has become one of the most innovative places to do business. According to the annual Global Innovation Index 2017, it was ranked first among Asian nations for innovation, and it also held the top global position for innovation input, where the quality of human capital and research was a key pillar.

Send this to a friend