2018 – ASPIRE Forum

ASPIRE Forum 2018

Date: July 9-13 , 2018

Venue: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Theme: Smart Cities


July 8-13 Student Workshop
July 12 9:00-12:20 ASPIRE Symposium
14:00-18:00 Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting
July 13 9:00-12:20 Student Presentation

ASPIRE Forum 2018 Report


As the chairing university of ASPIRE League in 2017 and 2018, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) was honored to host the ASPIRE Forum, with the theme “Smart Cities”, for the second time from 9 to 13 July 2018. Vice Presidents, senior staff, professors, administrators and students from member universities were welcomed on the NTU Yunnan Campus and One-North Campus. As in previous years, the ASPIRE Forum comprised the Student Workshop, the Symposium, and Vice Presidents and Senior Staff (VP-SS) Meeting.

After their presentations, the students went on a half-day city tour to visit Singapore landmarks, such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer. The students enjoyed themselves very much after the intensive workshop, and their friendships were further strengthened.

ASPIRE Student Workshop

July 8-13, 2018

Twenty-three students from ASPIRE League member universities participated in the week-long Student Workshop, together with five students from Europe’s IDEA League, comprising one student from each of its member universities, namely, Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), ETH Zurich (Switzerland), RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).

The Student Workshop kicked off with the welcome dinner organised by the Office of International Affairs on 8 July. The students were introduced to each other and got to know their group members, following which they selected the topic they would work on for their group project in the coming week. Per past practices, each group included one student from each of the five ASPIRE League member universities and one student from an IDEA League member university.

From 9 to 11 July, the students attended morning lectures delivered by NTU professors and external speakers. In the afternoons, they visited state-of-the-art labs in NTU in relation to the theme “Smart Cities”, that is, Smart Nation Translational Lab, Smart Mobility Lab, Robotic Research Centre and Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles NTU (CETRAN), where they experienced the autonomous shuttle “Navya”. In addition, given that research and industry are closely linked together, the students visited technology giant Google Singapore and Changi Airport’s Living Lab to see how smart technologies were applied in the tech and aerospace industries.

The Student Presentations on 13 July were the culmination of the week-long workshop. By identifying problems that hinder the building of smart cities, the students pooled their knowledge to propose innovative and far-sighted proposals to build smart cities. Their topics included clean energy for a smart city, a smart workplace to improve productivity, water management for smart cities, smart energy-efficient mobility, and smart surveillance system. The diversity of the students’ research backgrounds injected vigour into the groups and sparked innovative ideas. The judges were very impressed by the presentations. In the spirit of competition and in recognition of best efforts, two Best Presenters and one Best Group Presentation were selected. The two Best Presenters were Ms Ji Yuxin from Tokyo Tech and Mr Thomas Zimmermann from RWTH Aachen University. The Best Group Presentation award was presented to the group that worked on the topic of smart water management.

After their presentations, the students went on a half-day city tour to visit Singapore landmarks, such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer. The students enjoyed themselves very much after the intensive workshop, and their friendships were further strengthened.



ASPIRE Symposium

July 12, 2018 (am)

Professor Alan Chan, Chairperson of the ASPIRE League and Vice President (Alumni and Advancement), NTU, opened the ASPIRE Symposium with a warm welcome to all member university delegates. He introduced this year’s theme, “Smart Cities”, highlighting Singapore’s national vision of becoming a Smart Nation and NTU’s ambition to build a Smart Campus.

Akin to past years, one faculty member from each ASPIRE member university was invited to speak on a topic related to the year’s theme. At the Symposium, speakers and participants discussed and exchanged ideas on various topics, including Real-Time 3D Isovist, Smart Transport in a GREAT Smart City, Cyber-Physical Systems to Support Singapore as a Smart Nation, Human Mobility Sensing towards Urban Computing, and Progress and Prospect of Smart City Development in China.

Professor Takafumi Ueno from Tokyo Tech also updated attendees on the status of joint research funded by the ASPIRE League Research Grant (Type 1), which was conducted in collaboration with researchers from other ASPIRE League member universities.


Twenty-eight students attending the ASPIRE Student Workshop also participated in the Symposium. They learned about the latest research findings in relation to smart cities, which helped to give inspiration for their group projects.

Vice Presidents and Senior Staff (VP-SS) Meeting

July 13, 2018 (pm)

Chairperson of the ASPIRE League and NTU Vice President (Alumni and Advancement), Prof Alan Chan, extended his warmest welcome to the Vice Presidents and senior staff from member universities. He invited Mr Toku Hirasawa of the ASPIRE League Secretariat to report on the League’s activities for the period from July 2017 to July 2018 and give a 9-year overview of the progress of the ASPIRE League. An agreement was reached for Tokyo Tech to be the chair university for the ASPIRE League in 2019 and 2020. A range of topics, including research collaboration, educational programmes, flagship programmes and cooperation with the IDEA League, were discussed. Vice President from each member university reported on the latest development and recent achievements of their universities.




The ASPIRE Forum, the flagship event of the ASPIRE League, once again brought together Vice Presidents, senior staff, faculty and students of its member universities. The Symposium served as an ideal avenue for researchers from member universities to share their research findings with each other, while the VP-SS meeting provided a platform to share the latest developments and explore opportunities of collaborations between member universities for the betterment of the League. In addition, through the Student Workshop, the students deepened their knowledge with regard to the overarching theme of “Smart Cities”, and gained a better understanding of Singapore and NTU while forging friendships across different nationalities and cultures.