Organisation - February 23, 2017

Ties with Singapore strengthened

Albert Sikkema

A delegation from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore is visiting Wageningen University & Research this week to discuss collaboration on the education front. The universities already have a joint Bachelor’s programme and are now working on a Master’s.

Photo: Guy Ackermans

NTU is a young and highly regarded university in Singapore. It has 25,00 students and is in 54th place in the Times World University Ranking, 11 places higher than Wageningen. Since 2014, NTU and WUR have run a joint major in NTU Bachelor’s programme Food Science and Technology. NTU selects about 30 students a year from four technical degree programmes for this major.

Over two years, the students from Singapore take five Wageningen courses. These are taught online but for the practicals Wageningen lecturers go to Singapore or the students come to Wageningen. In the second year the students from Singapore combine one of these practicals with an excursion week in the Netherlands, visiting food companies such as Mars and KraftHeinz. Exchange of knowledge with companies is important because for NTU the arrival of international food companies in Singapore is a major reason for starting this major.

At the end of last year WUR and NTU decided to extend the collaboration on the Bachelor’s programme until 2022. They are also now preparing a two-year Master’s programme in Food Studies that follows on from the Bachelor’s. In this Master’s programme, the students spend the first six months in Singapore and then take courses in Wageningen for six months. The second year consists of a thesis and an internship, says Anja Kleijn, coordinator of the collaboration with NTU in Wageningen.

The Master’s students in Singapore could of course just come to Wageningen for a Master’s degree programme, says Kleijn. But so far not many do so. That is because these students’ first degrees often don’t provide a good foundation for these programmes. In order to stimulate more student exchanges, NTU and WUR signed an exchange agreement in December. The first student from Singapore will arrive in Wageningen this spring for a period of six months.

The delegation from Singapore is paying visits on campus this week, and going to food companies and institutes in the Netherlands. With the delegation is a journalist from The Straits Times in Singapore, who will be writing a report on a small country with a strong food sector.