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NUS’s Global Asia Institute

June 24, 2010

As Asia continues to rise in importance in the global arena, there exists a need to identify and address the region’s greatest challenges at a deeper level.

The NUS Global Asia Institute aims to take the lead in research and scholarship directed at topics pivotal to Asia’s future. Driven by the mission to provide in-depth insights to shape the nature of 21st Century Asia, the NUS Global Asia Institute will take a holistic approach to the fundamental issues confronting Asia and the world. By focusing on integrative studies, the work of the Institute will go beyond public policies and also deal with matters of technological importance. The Institute will complement existing NUS programmes that already have a significant Asian component.

The NUS Global Asia Institute, an initiative of NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, will bring together existing expertise from NUS and other universities, particularly those with expertise in India and China, in its quest for solutions that will solve the critical issues within Asia.

The Global Asia Institute (GAI) aims to advance the research profile of NUS in the following distinct ways.

  • Taking a multi-disciplinary approach and understanding to one or more overarching issues central to Asia’s future by combining depth of study with a rigorous examination of the complex interconnections and interactions between these issues.
  • Addressing research questions comprehensively by considering both similarities and differences across regions of Asia with a particular emphasis on China and India.
  • Producing outputs that go beyond policy questions and also address technological issues.
  • Catalyzing the application of advanced information technology, such as sophisticated data mining and map-based techniques, to support the data analyses.

As a start, GAI will focus on critical issues for Asian cities in a globalizing world. Some of the typical research areas are listed below. GAI draws from a wealth of knowledge from their Associates.

Effect of economic stress on Asian cities in the globalised world
Impact of global concerns such as climate change and epidemics on Asian cities
Impact of urbanization and rapid rural-urban migration on education, health and social structures
Managing resources for livable cities in Asia
Innovative technological solutions to ensure adequate infrastructure to support safe drinking water, sanitation, energy, food security and housing
Public policy options for sustainable city development

The NUS Global Asia Institute aims to look into the challenges facing Asia including issues relating to education, public health and health care, and community building; managing resources for livable cities in Asia including water, waste management, energy and food security, and housing. It seems like the notion of “livability” comes up very often in academic literature as well as in major conferences and government initiatives. One example is perhaps the Center for Liveable Cities Singapore (Download the brochure here). There is a need to define clearly what “liveability” means and how that might relate to climate change, and the state of the planet now especially with more people moving into cities, which are arguably very unsustainable. I guess what I mean to say is that I hope to see more research coming out of NUS GAI with regards to the environment and climate in relation to cities! That would be great, especially seeing that Singapore is taking a stand in city developments with the World Cities Summit coming up next week! In the meantime, do check out the NUS GAI website so more information about their research and initiatives. 🙂


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