The current NUSDeltares alliance emanated from the Singapore Delft Water Alliance (SDWA); a six-year research program (2006-2012) on water and environment, that trained numerous water experts in and for Singapore.
How it started
Stemming from Singapore’s wish to become a Global Water hub, a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2006 between Singapore’s National Water Agency (PUB), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Deltares (then WL | Delft Hydraulics) to create a centre of excellence for water knowledge at NUS. This MoU led in 2007 to the creation of the Singapore Delft Water Alliance (SDWA), which was co-funded by the National Research Foundation of Singapore (via the Environment and Water Industry Program) and numerous other agencies.
Research and Education
SDWA sparked high level knowledge cooperation on various societally relevant research fields, including water safety and supply (hydrology), coastal development (hydro- and morphodynamics), environmental impact (water quality and ecology), policy analysis and hydro-informatics. The program also included a Double M.Sc. degree program in Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at NUS and TU Delft.
The SDWA network
SDWA staff consisted of post-doctoral researchers, PhD students, research engineers, and a small administrative team. In addition to these, SDWA tapped into a large complex of externalities, primarily in form of networks of specialists from PUB, NUS academics, Deltares advisors, as well as researchers, students and specialists from several collaborating organisations.
Output of the program encompassed 283 peer reviewed publications in high impact journals and 20 Executive training courses attended by 636 professionals. Additionally, SDWA carried out 19 externally funded research and high-level specialist consulting projects, often in close collaboration with Deltares.
Continuation of collaboration
After SDWA was formally concluded in 2012, NUS and Deltares – in consultation with / on the recommendation of the SDWA Management Board and Singapore Government, decided to continue their successful collaboration in the knowledge alliance “NUSDeltares”. Thus, guaranteeing continuation of the knowledge gained during SDWA.
From the very outset it was anticipated and expected that after the initial EWI funding, SDWA would evolve on the long-term into a (partially) self-sustainable organization for water-related research and specialized consultancy.
As various Singapore ministries and agencies considered NUSDeltares as an important knowledge provider in the field of water, environment and subsurface, they envisioned/intended to outsource their (applied) knowledge questions to the alliance by means of consultancy assignments or research contracts.
At the same time, regional outreach was envisioned of the knowledge gained during SDWA. For this purpose, the Economic Development Board (EDB) provided financial support to NUSDeltares between 2012 and 2017, for the export of knowledge to neighboring countries.