The Business Times

NUS gets S$50m from Sea for AI, data science efforts, largest corporate gift to date

Vivienne Tay
Published Mon, Mar 29, 2021 · 03:01 PM

THE National University of Singapore (NUS) has received a S$50 million corporate gift from New York-listed Sea Limited, the parent company of Shopee, Garena, and SeaMoney.

The corporate gift is NUS's largest to date. It will be used to support the advancement of research and education at the NUS School of Computing, in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data science.

It will also fund the recruitment and the development of academic and research talent through scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students, research fellowships, visiting professorships, support for professional development, and more.

In addition, the corporate gift will enhance and develop strategic initiatives, including seed grants for enterprising projects and outreach programmes, Sea and NUS said in a joint press statement on Monday.

Sea chairman and group chief executive Forrest Li said the gift marks the deepening of a close partnership between Sea and NUS.

He said Sea employs close to 900 NUS alumni locally and in overseas offices. Among them are Sea co-founder David Chen, and Shopee chief executive Chris Feng, who was from the NUS School of Computing.


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"This gift is our way of giving back to NUS and the wider community, in thanks for all the support we received on our own journey, starting out as a small startup just 12 years ago," Mr Li said.

NUS president Tan Eng Chye said the impact of Sea's gift on NUS Computing will be "transformative" and "dramatically accelerate" NUS Computing's growth to realise its vision of becoming a global computing tech magnet for Singapore and beyond.

Sea has been serving on NUS's Industry Advisory Committee since 2017 and provides students with valuable internship experiences through the school's Work Study Programme, Mr Tan said.

Both parties signed the gift agreement on Monday in an event witnessed by the guest-of-honour, Minister for Education Lawrence Wong.

He noted that Sea's gift will be channelled to support NUS's education initiatives to nurture future tech talent, and grow research in fields such as AI and data science.

"This is very fitting because, as highlighted earlier, the movement to digital life will be broad, fast and real. This contribution will complement the government's efforts and investments in this area," Mr Wong said.

Just last week, NUS welcomed Mr Li as a member of its board of trustees. He will begin his term on April 1 along with fellow newly appointed member Sudha Nair, executive director of family violence specialist centre PAVE.

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