The Nanyang Institute of Technology in Health and Medicine (NITHM) is an initiative of the Future Healthcare Peak of Excellence – one of the five strategic peaks defined in the NTU 2015 Strategic Plan. The establishment of NITHM leverages on NTU’s ongoing technology-inspired research activities in healthcare within the six Schools of the College of Engineering (CoE) and the two Schools of the College of Science (CoS). More than 200 existing projects related to health and medicine have been identified, many of which include an active collaboration with Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Amongst these projects that NTU has engaged in is the work on biodegradable stents that unblock clogged vessels in the body. One of the stents, used for unclogging arteries in the leg, has resulted in an international start-up backed by more than US$12 million in investments.
Building on NTU’s existing strengths in engineering and business, the goal of NITHM is to provide a cross-disciplinary platform for engineers, scientists and clinicians to work together and develop new technologies that provide solutions to important problems in human health and medicine. NITHM synergises the various biomedical and bioengineering-related research projects within CoE and CoS, as well as increases the interaction of these research groups with other Colleges and Schools in NTU, including Nanyang Business School, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. NITHM is also geared up to collaborate with industrial partners as it strives to offer engineering-enabled solutions for medicine, health and healthcare in order to spur the creation and growth of the local medical device industry.
In addition, NITHM establishes formal ties with renowned universities, hospitals and research institutes. With the joint PhD programme with Imperial College London in place, it is expected that there would be further interaction with Imperial College London at the engineering-medicine interface. There have also been significant interactions with University of California-Berkeley and University of California-San Diego, Stanford University and Karolinska Institute in some engineering-medicine areas of common interest. The plan is to create new medically-related Master of Science engineering courses and joint PhD programmes that would provide students with an exciting choice of a new and refreshing engineering discipline with a challenging and rewarding career.
NITHM has a tripartite mission of research, education and innovation. The initial activities of NITHM are designed to synergise and build on existing activities of technology research and development at NTU that is medically-related and to facilitate the interaction between these groups, both within NTU and with the healthcare community in Singapore. The structures used to achieve these goals include the Technology Programmes, the Clinical Forum and the Interdisciplinary Graduate School in Future Healthcare.