Our first three graduates from NUS & SUTD’s EngD Programme
The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme, initiated and endorsed by the Academy of Engineering Singapore (SAEng) in July 2015, heralded a new era in higher education for the engineering profession. With a focus on research of industrial importance, where projects must be approved by a supporting company, the programme was created to boost Singapore’s competitive edge in training the next generation of engineer-leaders having both sufficient depth in scientific theory and a first-hand understanding of industry-relevant needs. Intended for working professionals, the EngD programme requires candidates to undertake coursework in technology management.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) were the first two local Universities to approve the EngD programme in 2017 and started admitting the first batch of EngD students in 2018.
To date, NUS and SUTD have admitted a total of 29 EngD candidates from MNCs (e.g. Advanced Materials, AMD, Panasonic, Halliburton, Nippon Paint, Dyson, etc.), A*STAR, DSO, AISG, LLE/SME and start-ups (Engro, One Smart Engineering, ANOR Tech, etc.). The Economic Development Board (EDB) has supported a number of EngD candidates from the abovementioned companies through the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP) and is pleased to continue supporting companies to train industry relevant talent through the IPP. The EngD programme’s dual focus on industry and academia makes it an excellent programme for training talent for industry.
For the first batch candidates, three have completed their EngD study/research successfully and they have been awarded the Engineering Doctorate degrees: one from NUS and two from SUTD.
The SAEng is pleased that it has played a pivotal role in nudging the universities in Singapore to pioneer the development of EngD programmes to serve as a timely addition to the advanced manpower education programme for the future needs of Singapore’s high-tech industry. It is interesting to note that out of the first 3 EngD graduates, two are females.
The SAEng is proud to spotlight our two EngD pioneers.
How has the EngD programme benefitted you?
I’ve learnt a new research area and how to develop innovative technology. I’ve picked up new software skill sets and deepened soft skills abilities such as project management, critical thinking, public speaking and many more.
I’ve also learnt how to bridge between experimental and actual operational technologies. These soft skills are essential in developing new technology and product development.
Have a passion to create new technologies to solve problems and create a plan on how to achieve it. Although there is no guarantee for success; the learning path is never halted by failure.
The EngD programme requires self-motivated, and goal orientated individuals to carry out research work under supervisors’ guidance. The combined efforts between academic and industry capabilities provide more resources to achieve the desired outcome.
“The programme certainly helps to link the academic supervisor with industry as the two parties work together for almost 4 years while supervising the candidate. The supervision involved regular meetings and site visits. Personal contacts were made, and they learnt about our (academic supervisor’s) capabilities and we knew more in details what problems they (industry) were facing. In long run this may lead to more meaningful collaborations or consultancy.”
“The EngD candidate did work on a new process; when implemented, it will increase the product life without adding significant cost. In addition, she filed a patent which increases the company’s IP platform.”
How has the EngD programme benefitted you?
Without a doubt it has trained in me the ability to perform in-depth research within a challenging time frame. The experience has granted me exposure to different research methodologies and technical white papers and honed my ability to distil the essence of the work within a short span of time.
The professional modules have refreshed and updated my understanding of information and key concepts that I felt I was familiar with. For example, the modules gave me new insights into patents, which is a big part of my work.
It is important to define your topics and area of research with your academic and industry supervisor. Do also ensure regular meetings are set up with both parties – separately, as well as altogether.
Learning is a life-long journey. The adrenaline rush of getting an EngD has deepened my urge to learn more and increased my curiosity for engineering. This journey has also equipped me with an appreciation of, and the capability to conduct applied research.
“The linkage to industry via this EngD programme has benefits in both research and teaching. This programme has enabled a more applied research work which benefits the industry directly. In parallel, the experience with the industry is looped back into teaching to benefit the undergraduate students.
“Our company is already seeing rewards from this programme. Benefits include exposure to the untapped talents in Singapore, parallel resourcing of R&D activities of offerings for more expedient time to market, gaining insights to the facilities within the research programme in Singapore, as well as the opportunity to influence the technological direction of the research topics of our candidates.”