Industry experts and academic thought leaders convened at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) ’s annual FIRST Industry workshop on 22 July 2020, a platform specifically established to foster collaborative research success by developing and deepening industry-academia ties.

It was the first time the event went virtual since its inception in 2016. This was in accordance with safety precautions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, going virtual also meant that visitors from international shores beyond Singapore had the opportunity to participate in the workshop, resulting in a turnout of more than 1,000 participants. Attendees also got the opportunity to reach out to the event sponsors and participate in a networking session through the webinar platform that was dedicated to host this event. Additionally, the virtual nature of the event allowed for the access to post-recordings of all programme items which were accessible via the FIRST Industry website at the end of event.

Themed ‘What makes University-Industry collaboration succeed?’, Professor Yeo Kiat Seng, Associate Provost, Research and International Relations, SUTD, delivered the welcome address. The event was also honoured to have Dr Bicky Bhangu, President, South East Asia, Pacific & South Korea, Rolls-Royce and Mr Nicholas Ma, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei International, deliver their keynote addresses.

Dr Bicky Bhangu shared insights into Rolls-Royce’s approach in co-creating a more sustainable future through collaboration while Mr Nicholas Ma explained how collaborations between universities and industry formed a vital component in the development of continuous innovation.

Following that, experts from Kulicke & Soffa, LionsBot International, NTUC LearningHub and Artificial Intelligence Industrial Institute together with Mr Lim King Boon from SUTD’s Partnership, Innovation & Enterprise, led a virtual forum panel discussion that delved deep into discussions on advancing translational research based on sustainable frameworks.

The event also featured a research competition and poster showcase which highlighted the design and technological innovations of SUTD’s researchers and students.  The top five prize winners of the research competition were announced and they were recognised for their efforts towards the advancement of science through industry-academia collaborative research.

The next SUTD FIRST Industry Workshop will be held on Wednesday, 28 July 2021. To find out more  on the workshop or to access the post-recordings of the virtual workshop’s programme items, please visit

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)