Imperial College London

Lee Foundation makes $150 million gift to NTU's new medical school

Student medics receive instruction

Imperial and NTU’s new Singapore medical school receives $150 million gift from the Lee Foundation

Nanyang Technological University News Release

For immediate release
Tuesday 4 January 2011

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today announced a gift of $150 million by the Lee Foundation towards the new medical school with half of the sum going directly to needy students. Together with the enhanced Singapore Government matching, NTU will receive a gift amounting to $400 million.

The new medical school, a partnership by NTU and Imperial College London, was announced by Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong at his National Day Rally speech on 29 August 2010. The agreement was officially signed by the two universities on 29 October 2010.

In recognition of the gift, the new medical school at NTU will be named the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, after the founder of the Lee Foundation, renowned business leader, pioneer and philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Lee Kong Chian. Tan Sri Dato Lee founded the Lee Foundation in 1952 to help the poor and needy and for the advancement of education, medicine and cultural activities.

A spokesman for the NTU Board of Trustees said, "It is with great pride and honour that we name the new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The new school will train doctors who hold dear in their hearts a commitment to serve the community. Tan Sri Dato Lee had a vision to use his wealth not for personal betterment but to improve society as a whole. His selflessness and generosity will be an inspiration to the students of this medical school named in honour of him."

The $150 million from the Lee Foundation will be used to establish two endowment funds at the new medical school. Half of the gift – $75 million – is specifically designated for an endowment fund offering student financial aid in the form of scholarships, bursaries and other forms of student financial support. The remaining $75 million will form another endowment fund for the advancement of medical education and clinical research at the new medical school.

Said a Lee Foundation spokesman, "Lee Foundation is honoured to be chosen by NTU and Imperial College to be partners in moving Singapore's medical education a step further. Together with the enhanced Singapore Government matching, this school will contain some of the best features of current medical education, and also provide assistance to bright and needy medical students who can pursue their life's mission."

Tan Sri Dato Lee was a philanthropist who believed not just in the importance of education but also in research. In 1965, he donated $1 million, a significant amount in those days, to the Singapore Medical Research Funds to start the Institute of Medical Specialties.

"Establishing a medical school through a partnership between two world-class research intensive universities – NTU and Imperial College London – will significantly expand the opportunities for multi-disciplinary research such as in biomedical engineering; translational and clinical research; and also health services research.“Establishing a medical school through a partnership between two world-class research intensive universities – NTU and Imperial College London – will significantly expand the opportunities for multi-disciplinary research such as in biomedical engineering; translational and clinical research; and also health services research.

"Breakthroughs in these areas will not only directly benefit Singaporeans but will also contribute to the well-being of the wider regional and global community. The Lee Foundation's gift will therefore have a multiplier effect that extends beyond the new medical school," said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of the new school's Pro-tem Governing Board.

In keeping with the pioneering spirit embodied by Tan Sri Dato Lee, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will pioneer a new form of medical education in Singapore, taking a science-based approach and adding modern methods such as e-learning. Its distinctive course will take advantage of NTU's strengths in engineering to educate highly-rated clinicians able to harness the technological advances taking place in the medical world, and who will put the patient's individual needs at the centre of all care.

It will admit the first batch of students in 2013. Graduates from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will receive a joint MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) medical degree under the seals of Imperial College London and NTU. The founding dean is Professor Stephen Smith who is also Pro Rector (Health) at Imperial College London.

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Nanyang Technological University: Feisal Abdul Rahman, Senior Assistant Director (Publicity, Media & Account Relations), Corporate Communications Office , Nanyang Technological University, Email:

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 pe nicillin, 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.

Collaborations between Imperial College London and NTU 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.

About Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

One of the fastest-growing research universities in the world, NTU is ranked among the world’s top 100 univ ersities and has been cited as a model for science and technology education. The Yunnan Garden campus, NTU’s main campus, is located in the south-western part of Singapore and is the Youth Olympic Village of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in August 2010. The NTU@one-north campus, in Singapore’s science and tech hub, is home to educational facilities, including a graduate school, and alumni clubhouse facilities. These campuses house more than 33,000 students and 5,500 faculty and staff from over 70 countries.

NTU has four colleges, namely:

  • The Nanyang Business School (the College of Business), the first and only Singapore business school to be ranked in the top 25 of the Financial Times Global MBA 2008 rankings,
  • The College of Engineering, with six schools focused on technology and innovation and a research output among the top four in the world,
  • The College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, which offers degree programmes in communications, under the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, a top journalism and media school in Asia; as well as art, design and interactive digital media; and humanities and social sciences.
  • The College of Science, home to award-winning faculty, world-class laboratories, and Olympiad medal winners.

The S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, an autonomous graduate school, is a world authority on strategic studies and security research. NTU has two other autonomous institutes – the internationally-acclaimed National Institute of Education, Singapore’s only teacher-training institute, and the S$150m state-funded Earth Observatory of Singapore, a national research centre of excellence dedicated to hazards-related earth science. NTU has been awarded another $120 million to set up a second research centre of excellence – the Singapore Centre on Life Sciences Engineering, which aims to solve critical water and environmental challenges.

As Singapore’s main science and technology university, NTU makes key contributions to a national research and innovation drive, particularly in the high-investment areas of biomedical sciences, environmental and water technologies, and interactive and digital media. In 2008, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the world’s largest foundations for entrepreneurship, selected NTU as the first Kauffman campus outside of the US.

NTU builds strong linkages across the globe and counts among its academic partners MIT, Stanford University, Cornell University, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon University, and Georgia Institute of Technology in the US; Cambridge University, Imperial College London and Technische Universität München in Europe; and Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Waseda University, and Indian Institute of Technology in Asia.

NTU works with many global industry and research leaders, and has developed joint laboratories with Thales, Rolls-Royce, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Robert Bosch and Toray Industries Inc.

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