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NTU incoming president, Prof. Bertil Andersson, receives honorary doctorate with 2 Nobel laureates

Nanyang Technological University

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a top university boasting eight Nobel prize winners among its alumni and faculty has presented NTU President-designate, Professor Bertil Andersson with an honorary doctorate for his research in biochemisty, notably in photosynthesis research.

Joining Professor Andersson in the honours list are two Nobel laureates -- Professor Ada Yonath, the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Professor Harald zur Hausen, 2008 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

Other honorary doctorate recipients this year are German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Her Excellency Prof Dr Annette Schavan and Sir James Wolfensohn, the former President of the World Bank (1995 to 2005).

Professor Dr Schavan is a familiar face to Singapore's research community, having led a 36-member German delegation comprising four members of Parliament, and Presidents from eight universities and eight research organisations here last year.

During her visit, Minister Schavan had witnessed the signing of the agreement to set up the Fraunhofer IDM@NTU, a partnership between NTU and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Fraunhofer), Europe's largest institution for applied research. The research centre at NTU was officially opened today.

The honorary Doctor of Philosophy was bestowed upon Professor Andersson yesterday (19 Jun 2011) at its 74th Board of Governors Convention.

Professor Andersson researches on how plants cope with light and heat stress to understand how the photosynthesis process can take place under extreme conditions. Photosynthesis research is important in advancing the concept of the artificial leaf, one of the Holy Grails of science in decades as scientists work on creating an artificial leaf that can be used as an inexpensive source of solar energy.

"I am honoured to be recognised by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a top university at the forefront of world research and renowned for its innovation and wide-ranging research work within the international scientific and academic communities," said Professor Andersson, who will be NTU's third president from 1 July 2011.

Professor Andersson has worked with Israel's oldest university for the last two decades, even while he was holding leadership positions in organisations in Sweden, Strasbourg and Singapore.

He had also shared the same stage with Nobel laureate Ada Yonath last year when the two world-leading scientists were both presented with the prestigious Wilhelm Exner Medal in Austria for shaping the world today through their research.

A champion of interdisciplinary research

Yesterday, Professor Andersson was presented the honorary doctorate by Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, the President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the citation read out at the ceremony, Professor Andersson was recognised for his outstanding contributions to science and international science policy as well as his unwavering friendship with Israeli science and the Hebrew University.

Professor Andersson has authored over 300 scientific papers that mainly focus on photosynthesis, biological membranes, protein and membrane purification, and the processes associated with light stress in plants.

NTU and Hebrew University of Jerusalem are partners in a new research centre under the National Research Foundation's Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme, focusing on research to develop new nanomaterials to enhance the efficiency of existing energy and water management technologies.

The top Israeli university also signed an agreement in April with NTU to offer a joint PhD programme in environmental life sciences.

Professor Ben-Sasson lauded Professor Andersson's contributions, saying: "A champion of interdisciplinary research, he has forged solid ties between industry and research, thereby encouraging the development of applications built on basic research findings.

"Professor Andersson's outstanding reputation extends beyond his own research field of plant biology, bringing him worldwide acclaim for realizing his vision of international scientific collaboration in the many positions he has held, most notably as chief executive officer of the European Science Foundation."


Media contact:

Wang Meng Meng
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6681

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. In 2013, NTU will enrol the first batch of students at its new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes - the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering - and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

NTU has a satellite campus in Singapore's science and tech hub, one-north, and is setting up a campus in Novena, Singapore's medical district. It will also have its first campus in China, the NTU Tianjin College, in 2013.

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