Earlier this year Saab hired research director Dr Jovice Ng to initiate a comprehensive research project in Singapore. The project is a collaboration with Nayang Technological University, (NTU Singapore); ranked 13th globally and the world’s top ‘young university’.
Pontus de Laval, Chief Technology Officer at Saab, is responsible for the project. He highlights the many benefits of close connections with the regional research institutions at the forefront of technology. “Through this project Saab will access the ever-growing and highly important East Asian market while securing some of the region’s leading researchers,” says de Laval. In the long run this helps Saab to maintain its leading position within the increasingly important field of digitalisation.
Staying at the forefront of digitalisation by introducing high-end digital technology into its many products is essential to Saab’s development. “Technologies like autonomy, data analytics, machine learning and additive manufacturing are important for us and we need to stay ahead of developments through research and collaboration,” notes de Laval. The researchers now joining the project are Ph.D. students with different areas of expertise within the realm of digitalisation. De Laval emphasises that they will be employed by Saab and conduct research as their main assignment. Their employment helps them to integrate with the company’s many branches, which is the optimum solution, according to de Laval. “Saab has tried different models for working with academia over the years. Industrial PhDs are the most efficient form of beneficial collaboration for all parties as we establish a fruitful and long-term relationship right from the start.”
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research, says “NTU is no stranger to industrial collaboration and our strong track record of partnerships includes global industry players. We have a top international faculty and a rigorous, world-class curriculum producing talented graduates that are highly sought after. NTU is the natural choice for leading companies that want to see ideas developed in the lab translated into innovation that meets the needs of industry and society. We look forward to formalising this initial collaboration with Saab and to explore further research areas of mutual interest.”
Saab’s earlier research projects have all been located in Sweden, and tied to Swedish universities and researchers. The collaboration with NTU is the first of its kind. Although the distance between the two projects presents an interesting challenge, it ensures great benefits for its Singaporean counterparts by enabling further development of the high-tech industries in the country. It also broadens Saab’s network in the region and ensures a better business footprint in the Asian-Pacific region. “This is part of Saab’s long-term engagement in a key market of the future and I look forward to the first results from our research,” says Pontus de Laval.