2014 ASPIRE Undergradute Research Academy

2014 ASPIRE Undergraduate Research Academy Report


The inaugural ASPIRE Undergraduate Research Academy was hosted by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from the 13th to 17th of July, 2014. It was a 3-day enrichment programme for undergraduate students of ASPIRE League member universities who were doing research in energy- and sustainability-related areas covering technical, physical, social, economic, political, environmental or business aspects. The programme included learning from experts on the latest technologies in renewable energy and presenting individual research projects to share knowledge with peers from member universities. Twenty-three students from the ASPIRE League member universities comprising four students each from Tokyo Tech, HKUST and KAIST, five from NTU, and six from Tsinghua University participated in the programme.


The programme began with a welcome speech by Professor Er Meng Hwa, Vice President (International Affairs) of NTU who also gave an overview of NTU to the participants. It was followed by an NTU Video Virtual Tour and introduction to the Energy Research Institute by Professor Chan Siew Hwa, Co-Director of the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N).


After a delicious dinner, the participants were well-bonded through a series of ice-breaking activities organized by NTU’s students before they started the 3-day programme.



Day 1 of the programme was comprised of three lectures given by NTU’s faculty: Wind & Marine Renewable Energy by Dr Michael Lochinvar Abundo, Next Generation Solar Cells and Solar Fuels by Assistant Professor Nripan Mathews, and Fuel Cells/Electrolyzer – A Bridge Towards a More Sustainable Future by Professor Chan Siew Hwa. After the lectures, the participants toured the research labs in the Techno Plaza and visited the Laboratory for Clean Energy Research (LaCER) as well as the Fuel Cell Lab and other research labs in renewable energy at CleanTech One.


After these highly intellectual activities, the participants were treated to a sumptuous dinner at Ulu Ulu before they went on a Night Safari tour.

Day 2 began with 12 impressive 20-minute presentations by the participants, covering a wide range of topics from Study of Chinese Ink for Fabrication of Flexible Conductive Material to Visualization of Nano-scale CO2 Penetration Phenomenon for CCS. The presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges – Professor Chan Siew Hwa, Professor Seri Lee, and Professor Lee Pooi See of NTU based on the quality of the slides, presentation skills, and the scientific, economic and societal impact of the research work.


In the afternoon, the participants made a site visit to the Tuas Incinerator before they departed for a Duck Tour of the city and took a ride on the Singapore Flyer to see a very nice view of the city at night.


Day 3 began with another 11 high-level presentations by the remaining participants. The judging panel decided to award four prizes to four outstanding students: Cho Hoon, KAIST (1st prize), Yao Yuan, HKUST (2ndprize), and Deng Wenting, Tsinghua University, and Yang Runtong, NTU (joint 3rd prize winners).

After a ceremony to present a certificate of participation to each participant and prizes to the award winners, the students visited Singapore City Gallery to get a better understanding and appreciation of the development and progress of Singapore from a third-world country to a first-world city-state.


They were then free to explore other parts of Singapore.