HEC Paris and Singapore Management University (SMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 24 June 2021 to jointly explore and develop a more strategic partnership in innovation and entrepreneurship, expanding on existing collaborations to pursue academic programme and research collaborations.
The alliance between HEC Paris and SMU aims to benefit students and start-ups through the fostering of cooperation between the HEC Paris Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (HEC I&E Center) and SMU’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE). Both entities are planning to develop collaborations in the areas of internships, potentially through IIE’s Global Innovation Immersion programme and HEC Paris’ X-HEC Entrepreneurs Master programme, incubation and exchange programmes, as well as to leverage IIE’s Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan competition to catalyse technology transfer and commercialisation activities in Singapore and France.
The HEC I&E Center and IIE intend to leverage each other’s cities as gateways to enlarge their geographical reach and footprints, and to explore ways to bring together regional ecosystems and networks for impact. By facilitating mutual access to their respective innovation networks, it is envisioned that students and start-ups can reap multiple benefits, such as opportunities to access and engage with an enlarged pool of corporates and venture capitalists.
The MOU signing ceremony took place virtually in conjunction with the 2nd meeting of the France-Singapore Joint Committee on Science and Innovation (JCSI) with over 120 participants. The representing signatories were SMU Provost Professor Timothy Clark and HEC I&E Center’s Senior Executive Director Ms Inge Kerkloh-Devif. The signing was witnessed by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Chairman of the National Research Foundation, and French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal.
Mr Heng, in his opening remarks during the meeting, said “Singapore and France have a long-standing and strong partnership in the area of science and innovation. At the 2nd meeting of the Joint Committee on Science and Innovation, we noted the good progress. We commit to deepening our partnership in areas including pandemics, sustainability, and clean energy; and to promote greater collaboration among companies and research institutions on both sides. I am confident that these initiatives will create value not only for both our countries but also for the global community.”
Ms Vidal added: “Scientists of our two countries have made it a priority to keep exchanging ideas in spite of the pandemic. The restoration of international mobility will now allow us to express the full potential of these ideas.”
In the area of research, both universities plan to strengthen knowledge exchange collaborations, through case-writing collaborations as well as through the organising of joint faculty workshops, conferences and study visits.
The MOU was developed with the support of the Embassy of France in Singapore, following the formation of the JCSI in 2019, in line with efforts to further strengthen the bilateral relations between Singapore’s institutions and their France counterparts.
Professor Clark commented: “Innovation and entrepreneurship play a critical role in supporting SMU’s Vision 2025, where we have three Strategic Priorities (Digital Transformation, Sustainable Living and Growth in Asia) that serve as cross-disciplinary focal points which we hope will help to address the future needs of Singapore, the regional economy and community.”
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