Technische Universität München (TUM) is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of its Singapore campus. In 2002 TUM became the first German university to set up an offshore campus. Since then, over 300 students from across the globe have graduated from TUM Asia. Over the last two years, scientists from Munich have also been involved in a high-profile research project – TUM CREATE Center of Electromobility in Mega Cities. The Singapore affiliate was TUM’s first step on the road to globalization. The university is currently establishing additional offices on other continents.
The „German Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) – TUM Asia“ offers a unique program of study. Its courses give students concrete industry insights, drawing on the experience of TUM’s leading lights and Singapore’s finest universities. This intercultural approach means that graduates gain in-depth knowledge of European and Asian scientific cultures. Currently, around 380 students are studying at TUM Asia. The university attracts top talent from all over Asia, as well as Europe, the Americas and Africa. Successful candidates can choose from five different Master’s and two Bachelor’s degrees in engineering and the natural sciences.
German engineering blended with the innovative lead of a major Asian knowledge city is producing Master’s graduates of considerable interest to both Asian and German companies. Almost every second graduate (from a total of 320) has gone on to work for a German company. Companies are therefore more than willing to support TUM Asia, providing lecturers, scholarships and work placements for students. TUM Asia is now expanding its program to include courses for people looking to further their qualifications while working. In future, it will be offering its transport and logistics Master’s program as a part-time course – a further first for TUM.
“Ten years ago, we took a step into completely uncharted terrain for a German university,” explains TUM President Herrmann. “To date, we have provided hundreds of graduates with an intercultural education and seen our collaboration with our partners in Singapore thrive and intensify – proof positive that we are on the right path. Today, we are building on the mutual trust we have established in Singapore, generally viewed as east Asia’s knowledge and learning hub.”
This mutual respect prompted the city-state of Singapore to invite TUM – as the only German university – to join its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) project. CREATE brings together representatives from leading universities, including MIT, Berkeley and ETH in Zurich. TUM is collaborating with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on research into new technologies and transport concepts for electromobility in megacities. The researchers are primarily working on the development of an electric taxi, an extremely challenging undertaking. For example, most taxis in Singapore are in service around the clock. As a result, battery charging times have to be brought down to less than 20 minutes. The project gives TUM the opportunity to expand its electromobility research into a different cultural context and adapt to different climatic, logistical and socio-cultural dynamics.
Concepts for electromobility in megacities
Today, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Herrmann have officially opened the new „TUM CREATE Center of Electromobility in Mega Cities“ campus building. Herrmann has also announced the foundation of the TUM CREATE Graduate Center. The center will equip the institute’s around 70 PhD students with interdisciplinary qualifications ranging from leadership skills to management know-how. As with all graduate centers affiliated to TUM, the new center will be part of the university’s central TUM Graduate School system. PhD students in Singapore will thus be able to network with doctoral students from different disciplines.
“Alliances and international networking are key success factors in determining the competitiveness of today’s knowledge societies,” states Herrmann. “The CREATE campus is a perfect example of a knowledge sharing hub that furthers technological advancement in all participating countries.” In recent years, TUM has been actively pursuing its goal to bring together top scientists from around the globe. After establishing offices in Beijing and Mumbai, TUM recently opened liaison offices in São Paulo and Brussels. This week, it also established an office in Cairo and is currently preparing another opening on the east coast of the US.
TUM will be using its anniversary in Asia to thank the people of Singapore for their hospitality thus far and look at ways of encouraging next-generation talent. By funding the Building The Future project, TUM will be helping foster interest in technology and the natural sciences among children from less privileged backgrounds. Each year, TUM will invite two schoolchildren from Singapore to Germany. During their stay, the children will visit TUM’s laboratories and attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. They then get their first taste of scientific research at the Berchtesgadener Land research center for schoolchildren.
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