Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) has announced its plans to set up an innovation centre in the city of Haifa in Israel, known to be Israel's high-tech hub. NTU Innovation in Haifa has sealed agreements with Hutchison Kinrot, seed investor in water-related technologies owned by Hutchison Water.

According to NTU, its presence in Haifa aims to nurture innovative thinking and entrepreneurship, and to stimulate broader collaboration with Israel’s industrial players, venture capitalists and angel investors.

The university's collaboration with Israel currently includes almost 30 agreements with Israeli universities and industry players, the value which has surpassed $72 million (S$100 million) since 2011.

Haifa is Israel's hub for R&D and home to two of the country’s respected institutions—the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, often called Israel’s MIT, and the University of Haifa. The Haifa Economic Corp. is also known for high-tech incubators such as the T3 and hiCenter, and is home to companies like Google, Phillips, Intel, Microsoft and Apple.

Partnership with Hutchison Kinrot

Welcoming the partnership with Hutchison Kinrot, Professor Lam Khin Yong, Vice President (Research), NTU Singapore, said: “NTU's innovation and enterprise company, NTUitive, will work closely with Hutchison Kinrot to identify technologies developed by NTU with strong potential for commercialisation.

“The technologies will primarily focus on the clean-tech sector, including energy management and storage, as well as energy-efficient technologies and sustainable solutions for industry in water and waste management. We will also explore other cutting-edge developments in technology, such as the Internet of Things and advanced materials.”

The centre will play an important role as a satellite office to facilitate NTU research collaborations with Israeli universities and companies.

Overseas exposure for NTU students, start-ups

Speaking at the launch event in Haifa, Professor Andersson, NTU President, said, "Beyond our focus in research, Haifa is also a great place to expose Singapore students to innovation and entrepreneurship.

“With a centre here, NTU students will be able to enrol in programmes that will immerse them in the latest innovations in Israel’s fast-paced high-tech industry. It will also give them first-hand exposure to the renowned start-up ecosystem at the hiCenter.”

NTU intends to have 20 students on internships at promising Israeli start-ups at Haifa in a year’s time. Students can choose to intern at start-up hotspots across the globe under NTUitive’s Overseas Entrepreneurship Programme. Haifa is the fifth city in this programme, which includes Silicon Valley in the United States, Beijing and Shanghai in China and London in the UK.

Made-in-NTU companies that wish to explore the Israeli market and capital opportunities can use space at NTU Innovation in Haifa as a base for their initial operations.

Expanding research opportunities

NTU Innovation in Haifa will accelerate research collaboration with leading Israeli universities to propel advanced studies. The maritime sector is an area that NTU Singapore can contribute considerably, given the university’s expertise in advanced marine-related research and Singapore’s strengths in maritime port technologies. It is also a timely initiative for Haifa, which plans to build a second new $1 billion deep water port that will double the city’s current capacity.

NTU Innovation in Haifa will be located at the Tiltan School of Design and Visual Communication in Haifa.