28 January 2022 — The impact of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is being felt as individuals, companies, industries and even governments are bracing for further change and disruption. Traditional methods of doing business are shifting under our feet even while new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming increasingly integrated into systems and processes across multiple fields. To remain competitive and be future-ready, many organisations are ramping up their transformation efforts.
In 2018, the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) published the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI), which presented a suite of frameworks and tools to help manufacturers start, scale, and sustain their manufacturing transformation journeys. The aim was to further aid companies in transforming their capabilities through their human capital, and support Singapore’s drive towards becoming a Smart Nation.
In line with this, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has taken steps to prepare and equip people and organisations with skills and tools needed for Industry 4.0. In 2019, NUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading testing, certification, auditing and advisory company TÜV SÜD to provide consultancy and training services on Industry 4.0. Dr Andreas Hauser, TÜV SÜD representative, shared on the partnership: “Having worked with over 200 organisations to assess their Industry 4.0 readiness, we’ve learnt that high quality training is a critical component to understanding Industry 4.0 – its benefits, concepts and technological solutions, and to develop new skills required for digitalisation. This MoU with NUS SCALE marks the start of a strategic partnership, aimed to facilitate organisations to embark on their digital transformation journey in a methodological and practical way.”
Furthermore, NUS introduced the Master of Science in Industry 4.0 (MSc in Industry 4.0) programme to support the country’s aspiration and to develop a pool of talent with the skills needed for this new age. The programme seeks to provide graduates with an in-depth appreciation of the technologies driving the latest industrial revolution, including how they can transform organisations and impact business processes and functions.
Timely, Current and Relevant
The MSc in Industry 4.0 programme curriculum is specifically designed in accordance with SIRI, and takes into consideration the latest global trends and developments in technology and industry. The curriculum also incorporates learning opportunities both inside the classroom and out in the industry to ensure that it is reflective of real-life challenges and applications.
The relevance of the programme to the workplace has been clear to students since the programme’s inception. Whether they were self-funded or sponsored by their companies, feedback from students and graduates about the programme has been positive.
This photo, taken in 2019, shows the inaugural intake of students in the NUS MSc in Industry 4.0 programme posing with Prof Susanna Leong, Dean, School of Continuing and Lifelong Education, and Vice Provost (Masters’ Programmes and Lifelong Education), National University of Singapore. This cohort was the first batch to graduate from the programme in 2021.
Raymond Chee, Executive Director of Sealed Air Singapore, had very clear goals in mind when he enrolled for the programme. “I wanted to understand what more I can do for our customers. I dabble in automation and I feel there is a lot more potential to what we can do, like enhancing current solutions by better understanding data and how we can integrate them into our work today.”
The incorporation of technology into organisational transformation—in practical, industry relevant terms— is a clear driver behind structure of the MSc in Industry 4.0 curriculum, which features learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. The programme’s capstone projects for instance are designed specifically to encourage students to delve into the real-life challenges and issues faced by companies in the age of Industry 4.0.
Past projects have seen students being attached to companies across a variety of industries, focusing on a range of operational areas within the organisations, including the Internet of Things (IOT), data analytics, supply chain and cloud computing. Some of these companies include Google, Rolls-Royce Singapore, Micron Technology, Arcstone, LDR Technology and ARTC, A*Star.
Graduates from the first cohort of the programme, Jon Chiang and Cai Wendi, who completed their capstone projects with Changi Airport Group to Hi-Beau International respectively, have noted how their multidisciplinary education has enabled them to develop and apply their talents and skills for digital transformation within various business functions.
Industry Support and More
Since its inception, the MSc in Industry 4.0 programme has enjoyed significant interest and support from local companies, Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) as well as government bodies. Several organisations offer scholarships and financial aid schemes to students in the programme.