Singapore sets up new research centre with MIT

Research in Singapore has received a boost with the setting up of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre.

The centre is also the largest international research endeavour by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) outside the US.

Collaborating with Singapore gives the MIT access to the necessary facilities or information on infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

SMART Centre governing board co-chair, MIT provost Prof Rafael Reif said, “Singapore is very unique to offer those kinds of facilities and laboratories. MIT does not have them. We have talent; we have personnel; we have the interest. Singapore also has the talent and personnel and laboratories, and those make a very unique set of opportunities for us to interact and carry out those projects here in Singapore.”

Another research area being looked at is environment sustainability.

In fact, five interdisciplinary research groups are to be established under the SMART Centre.

The group conducting research on infectious diseases has already been set up, with its focus on influenza, malaria, respiratory virus and tuberculosis. And to study these diseases, the group will be perfecting a mouse model with human immune tissues.

The collaboration will see up to 400 researchers from MIT conducting research in Singapore for up to six months.

The centre will be built on the old site of Warren golf course, and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in two years. Till then, researchers will be housed at the nearby National University of Singapore (NUS).

The SMART Centre is the first entity of the National Research Foundation’s billion-dollar project called Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise. Under this project, a complex of research centres will be set up by world-class research universities and corporations working together with Singapore’s research community. – CNA/ac

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 Jan 2008

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