Imperial College London

New Singapore medical school to be created by Imperial and Nanyang Technological University

Singapore skyline

Imperial set to develop and deliver a course overseas for the first time

Imperial College London news release

Under strict embargo for
18.00 Singapore time / 11.00 London time (BST)
Wednesday 1 September 2010

A new medical school training undergraduate doctors in Singapore and awarding joint Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) degrees is to be established by 2013, it was confirmed today.

The medical school, an autonomous school of NTU which will be jointly managed by NTU and Imperial College London, will see Imperial developing and delivering a course overseas for the first time.

The new medical school will admit its first cohort of 50 students in 2013, the majority of whom will be Singaporean. At steady state, over 750 students will be enrolled in the five-year Imperial-NTU undergraduate medicine degree course, and approximately 150 new students will be admitted annually.

The main aim of the medical school, which will be the third in Singapore, will be to train more high quality doctors and medical leaders. The students will gain the skills required to meet the present and future needs of Singapore's healthcare system to support a population that is living longer.

Few potential Singaporean medical students have the opportunity to study at Imperial or other UK medical schools, regardless of their academic ability, due to a cap of 7.5% on international students attending the UK's schools.

Sir Keith O'Nions FRS, Rector of Imperial College London, said:

"We are extremely proud to be working with Singapore, a country we have long admired for its support and application of world class science, engineering and medicine.

"We have many members of the Imperial family already in Singapore - the country is home to nearly 2,000 of our alumni. Over the years we've developed strong relationships in Singapore, working on collaborative projects with universities such as the National University of Singapore and NTU, as well as with research institutions overseen by A*STAR.

"Our newest partnership with NTU is extremely exciting and we are delighted to be joining forces with an institution that embodies many of our own aspirations, to develop a new generation of Singaporean doctors.

"The partnership gives us the chance to work with Singapore's talented students and also provides a rare opportunity to pioneer a new medical curriculum. Singapore's healthcare system will face a range of challenges in the future and we aim to equip our students with the skills they will need to tackle them. I hope that this agreement will allow us to share new ideas and innovations for teaching medicine and will open the door to a range of collaborations across our disciplines."

Dr Su Guaning, President of NTU, said:

"NTU is delighted to partner Imperial College London, one of the top five universities in the world, to set up the new joint medical school. As a leading science and technology university, NTU has extensive research in biomedical solutions and devices, health economics and pandemic alleviation. Our ideas for future healthcare systems and research into therapies and medical technology will put NTU at the forefront of innovation in medical solutions and healthcare systems. Combining NTU's core strengths in engineering and business with Imperial's world-renowned medical expertise, we are confident that the new medical school at NTU will become an outstanding reference point around the world."

His Excellency Mr Paul Madden, British High Commissioner for Singapore, said:

"I congratulate Imperial College and NTU on this visionary joint project. The new Medical School will deliver outstanding quality doctors into the Singapore healthcare system, and stimulate exchange opportunities which improve training in both our countries. Hundreds of Singapore's best and brightest young people study at Imperial College and I am delighted to see this further strengthening of Singapore's ties with one of the top institutions in the world."

Imperial has educated and trained doctors since 1988, when St Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington, west London, merged with the College. Subsequent mergers with undergraduate (Charing Cross and Westminster) and postgraduate (Royal Postgraduate Medical School and the National Heart and Lung Institute) medical institutions led to the formation in 1997 of Imperial's School of Medicine, which today is one of the largest in the UK.

In 2010, over 2,000 undergraduates and 500 postgraduates studied medicine courses at Imperial. Its undergraduate medicine course, ranked one of the top three in the UK, teaches students using innovative e-learning methods and patient-care simulations, which the curriculum of the new medical school in Singapore will seek to develop further. Students of the new school will be based on the NTU campus for the first part of the course, but throughout their training will be taught in a variety of settings to gain insight into different healthcare models. These will include working alongside GPs in primary care and benefitting from clinical experience in local hospitals.

The new medical school will be funded by NTU, a publicly-funded university, and will be jointly managed by Imperial College London and NTU. The school will have its own governing board with representatives from Imperial, NTU and other Singaporean stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and the National Healthcare Group. The partnership agreement between Imperial College and NTU covers an initial term of 18 years.

The school's founding Dean will be Professor Stephen Smith FMedSci, Principal of Imperial's Faculty of Medicine and Chief Executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Professor Martyn Partridge, who holds Imperial's Chair in Respiratory Medicine, will be Senior Vice Dean and will work full-time on the project in both London and Singapore.


For further information contact:

Imperial College London
Caroline Davis
Head of Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6699
Out of hours duty press officer: +44 (0)7803 886248

Ministry of Education, Singapore
Ms Ng Tse Wei
Corporate Communications Division
Tel: +65 68795881
Mobile: +65 93665829

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Mr Hisham Hambari Corporate Communications Office
Tel: +65 6790 6447

Notes to editors:

1. Singapore's two current medical schools are the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, founded in 1905 and part of the National University of Singapore, and the Duke NUS Graduate Medical School, a collaboration between Duke University, USA, and the National University of Singapore which began teaching students in 2007.

2. About the new undergraduate medicine course

The five year course will teach students the scientific basis of medicine, how to handle the doctor-patient relationship and offer clinical experience. The basic science of medicine will be taught where possible by clinicians and the clinical experience will emphasise the important role of primary care. The curriculum, which will be developed in detail by Imperial and NTU during the first phase of work on the new medical school, will seek in particular to benefit from NTU's t echnological ex pertise and close links with the Nanyang Business School. As in the courses taught by Imperial College London in the UK, the new medical school's curriculum will be delivered using a breadth of methods, including e-learning modules, simulations, lectures, seminars, apprenticeships, and problem based learning.

The new medical school's primary clinical training partner will be the National Healthcare Group (NHG). The NHG is a leader in public healthcare in Singapore, recognised at home and abroad for the quality of its medical expertise and facilities. With its integrated network of primary healthcare polyclinics, acute care hospitals, and national specialty centres, the NHG will provide good clinical training support to the new medical school. It will offer students access to a wide range of services and patients, as well as opportunities to accumulate experience in treating a variety of diseases during their training.

Exchange opportunities for Imperial medical students based in London and the new medical school's students based in Singapore, may become available.

3. Links between Imperial College London and Singapore

Collaborations between Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University include the delivery of joint PhD programmes in bioengineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering, following an agreement signed in April 2009. For both institutions the collaboration marked the first time they had offered a joint PhD programme with another university.

Imperial also collaborates with the National University of Singapore to deliver transferable skills courses and a joint PhD programme, launched in August 2010, which allows PhD students across various disciplines to spend half their time working at each institution.

The A*STAR (The Agency of Science, Technology and Research in Singapore) -Imperial partnership (AIP), launched in 2004, allows Singaporean students based at A*STAR Research Institutes to undertake research and training while pursuing a PhD in the fields of biomedical sciences, physical sciences and engineering or computer sciences with Imperial College London.

In 2009-10 338 Singaporean students studied at Imperial College London. The College is in contact with 1,839 alumni based in Singapore.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew (the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore), Mr Lim Chuan Poh (Chairman of A*STAR and a member of NTU's Board of Trustees), Professor Bertil Andersson (NTU's Provost),  Mr J. Y. Pillay (former Chairman of Singapore Airlines) and Mr Philip Yeo (Chairman of SPRING - the Singapore enterprise development agency) have all previously been admitted into the Fellowship of Imperial College London.

4. About Imperial's School of Medicine

Imperial College London merged with St Mary's Medical School in 1988. Subsequent mergers with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the Royal Postgraduate School and the National Heart and Lung Institute led to the foundation of the current School of Medicine in 1997.

In the academic year 2009-10, the School of Medicine taught 2,069 undergraduates and 541 postgraduates. Teaching takes place across several hospital campuses in west London, including the Chelsea and Westminster, Hammersmith and St Mary's campuses, where students gain clinical experience.

Notable medics from history associated with Imperial College London include Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin in a laboratory at St Mary's Hospital, and Rodney Robert Porter who also worked at St Mary's Hospital and was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1972 for determining the exact chemical structure of an antibody.

Imperial's undergraduate medicine course was ranked third in the UK in The Good University Guide 2011.

5. About Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a research-intensive university with globally acknowledged strengths in science and engineering. The university has roots that go back to 1955 when Nanyang University was set up. Today, NTU has four colleges with 12 schools, and three autonomous entities, the National Institute of Education, the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

NTU provides a high-quality global education to more than 23,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduate students. The student body includes top scholars and international olympiad medallists from the region and beyond.

Hailing from 67 countries, the university's 3,000-strong teaching and research staff bring dynamic international perspectives and years of solid industry experience.

The new medical school will see NTU offering medical courses for the first time.

6. About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable sources of energy and address security challenges.

In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.

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