Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why Am I Here in Singapore

Quick answer, because my funding for building Very Cool Stuff comes from here. Turns out the government of Singapore is very interested in upping the quality of research at its universities. So, it wants to partner with World's Best School. The problem is that World's Best School has no interest in allying itself with inferior research. So, the gov't of Singapore finances the whole thing. Whala, the system is equal.

So there are five branches to the partnership, and I operate under the one dealing with Manufacturing Systems and Technology. All in all, there are about 70 professors from the States side in this overall program, and maybe a dozen of those are in my branch. There are perhaps 200 students in the program altogether.

One of the stipulations of the partnership is that professors from the States are required to visit Singapore for two weeks a year (always in January, I think because it's winter in the States and gorgeous over here). Students from the States side of the program are encouraged to visit Singapore during this same two weeks at least once during the course of their research.

My first year in my Master's degree, January came around when I had only completed one semester, so I didn't really know what I was doing yet. This year is my second year, so it was useful for me to come over here and talk with the Singapore students I am collaborating with. This year is also the 10th anniversary of the partnership, so it was a big deal and there were many festivities and bigwigs attending.

So I have had useful meetings and symposiums and I presented a paper at the official conference, but really this is vacation. Anytime I pack a bikini and a camera, it counts as vacation.

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