On Thursday the 3rd of July we had the chance to visit another A Star research institute called SIMTech (Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology) located at NTU (Nanyang Technological University). SIMTech’s aim is to develop high value manufacturing technology to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, to create intellectual properties, and to nurture research scientists. They have three divisions including manufacturing processing, manufacturing automation, and manufacturing systems. SIMTech’s research programs are very product orientated as Singapore wants new and advanced products being made in order to keep their manufacturing flourishing so there are more jobs and so the economy can continue to grow. Some of the areas that SIMTech research into include forming technologies, polymer/powder processing, machining technology, laser precision machining, surface technology, mechatronics, and many many other areas. It allows people of all areas of science to be able to research something that they are interested in.
After visiting a few of SIMTech’s laboratories and a quick lunch break, we headed over to the main NTU campus where we went to the Material Science and Engineering division of the university where we had a quick briefing about NTU before six students, five of them being PhD and one an honours student, spoke to us about their research. We learnt that NTU is on two-hundred hectares, has 1.1 million square metres of build up space, four-hundred-thousand square metres of academic space, and approximately thirty-three-thousand students. The materials science and engineering division mainly focus on defence materials, sports materials, nano materials, bio materials, polymer materials, and materials for sustainability.
All of the presentations that we were shown were very interesting, however three out of the six particularly grabbed my interest. The first one that I thoroughly enjoyed was about nanomedicide for ocular diseases and how they can be delivered. This was useful because instead of having to twice a month get a drug injected into your eye, they were trying to find ways in which the drug can be delivered without causing irritation and only twice yearly. The second presentation I found particularly interesting was about biomimicry. They were trying to replicate a material that is the same as the humboldt squids teeth that are in its suckers as it is a very strong substance that is completely made up of proteins similar to spiders silk. The third research I found interesting was a lab-on-a-chip concept which always interest me. They were trying to design a microfluidic platform for liver tissue engineering. The purpose of this is to be able to test new drugs in a chip that performs the same as a human liver in order to avoid having to test the drugs on animals such as rats inside a lab.
After our day at NTU was over, a group of us decided to venture into little india to visit some of the hawker markets and to see a side of Singapore that is completely different to what we have seen so far. It was good to see the side that hasn’t got all the new ultra modern buildings and to see what singapore was more like before the huge modernisation and westernisation set in. It was also a great chance to do some cheap shopping.