World Academic Summit 2018: full programme announced

Leaders of some of the world’s top universities will speak at flagship THE event in Singapore

January 30, 2018
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More than 15 leading university presidents from across five continents are among a prestigious line-up of speakers confirmed for the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit in September.

Brian Schmidt, president of Australian National University and winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Tony Chan, president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will both deliver a keynote speech at the event at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Ye Kung Ong, Singapore’s higher education minister, will also speak in conversation with Teck Hua Ho, provost at NUS.

The summit, which takes place from 25 to 27 September 2018, will be on the theme “The transformative power of research: advancing knowledge, driving economies, building nations”.

Listen to THE podcast: the 2018 World Academic Summit preview

Eng Chye Tan, president of NUS; Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University; Lino Guzzella, president of ETH Zurich; and Jianhua Lin, president of Peking University, will debate the role of research universities in creating new impact.

Subra Suresh, the newly appointed president of Nanyang Technological University; Asma Ismail, vice-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia; and Devang Khakhar, director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, will also join Professor Tan to discuss how Asian university leaders can sustain their rapid institutional growth.

Professor Tan said: “We’re very pleased to be hosting the fifth THE World Academic Summit at the National University of Singapore. The stellar programme is packed with an exciting mix of keynotes and panel discussions involving some of the world’s top university and business leaders, academics, researchers and policymakers. 

“The many conversations that I’ve had this past week [at the World Economic Forum] in Davos have underscored a central, recurrent theme: that the world’s research universities play a vital, transformative role in advancing knowledge, driving economies and building nations. How can universities create new impact and innovative environments? How do universities align their research policies with national agendas? And how can universities, policymakers and business leaders collaborate to better address complex global issues? I look forward to the lively discussions on these very important questions, and more, at the THE World Academic Summit at NUS.”

Leading university speakers at the event include Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge; Michael Spence, vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney; Thiam Soon Tan, president of the Singapore Institute of Technology; Tai Yong Tan, president of Yale-NUS College; Sabine Kunst, president of Humboldt University of Berlin; Peretz Lavie, president of Technion Israel Institute of Technology; Sylvie Retailleau, president of Paris-Sud University; Anton Muscatelli, principal and president of the University of Glasgow; Tshilidzi Marwala, the newly appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg; Sarah Springman, rector of ETH Zurich; and Bundhit Eua-arporn, president of Chulalongkorn University.

Meanwhile, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of the Sao Paulo Research Foundation; Teck Seng Low, chief executive officer of the Singapore National Research Foundation; and Isaac Ben-Israel, chairman of the Israel National Council for Research and Development, will provide funding agency perspectives on research and innovation.

The event will feature the official launch of the THE World University Rankings 2019.

Phil Baty, THE editorial director of global rankings, said: “The THE World Summit Series began back in 2013 in Singapore – so I am thrilled to be returning to one of the world’s most knowledge-intensive nations, a true centre of global talent and innovation, for our summit’s fifth anniversary.

“The summit series has taken us from Singapore to Australia, to the US and then the UK – with stops in many parts of the world including Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Ireland, Spain, Ghana and South Africa – so we return to Singapore with a fantastic, powerful and diverse global network of summit friends and partners, including top university managers, leading academics, policymakers and captains of industry. Their deep and rich experience and expertise will be brought to bear on our 2018 World Academic Summit.

“Singapore itself presents a fascinating case study of a young nation without natural resources built on human resources, demonstrating the power of education and research to drive an economy, and our host, the National University of Singapore, is a global role model of excellence: Asia’s number one university that has been consistently rising up the global rankings, through sustained investment in talent, strong leadership and a culture of constant innovation.”

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