Singapore, 27 December 2021 – The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre for Infrastructure and Tunnel Engineering (CITE).
The partnership between LTA and SIT seeks to foster greater collaboration in research and development and education and training programmes in this highly-specialised field of infrastructure and tunnelling engineering. As cities worldwide become more urbanised, many mega-infrastructure projects for land transport, waste management and other utility services such as transmission cable tunnels for power services are increasingly being built underground. In land-scarce Singapore, tunnel engineering and infrastructural development expertise will continue to be in demand.
The CITE will serve as a platform for the civil engineering community to exchange and deepen their knowledge and skillsets in this field. The centre will also conduct and facilitate applied research to augment safety standards in tunnels’ design, construction, operation and maintenance, and other civil engineering infrastructure. This will be beneficial for major underground projects in the next few decades, including the Cross Island Line, North-South Corridor and Deep Tunnel Sewerage Systems. The CITE will develop and offer customised training courses to reskill and upskill local professionals in infrastructure and tunnel engineering to augment workforce capabilities.
Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President, SIT, commented, “As a Technology Innovation Centre at SIT, the CITE will leverage SIT’s strengths in applied learning and industry collaboration to promote innovation and groom talent. We envision the centre at the forefront of cutting-edge applied research and training in Singapore, readying future graduates and the workforce to meet the challenges of ever-evolving infrastructure and tunnel developments. SIT is pleased to collaborate with LTA to continue to enhance Singapore’s capabilities in this sector.”
Said LTA’s Chief Executive Ng Lang, “Our rail lines and road projects are going deeper underground to allow for better use of above-ground spaces and to preserve our natural environment. This requires specialised domain knowledge, and the CITE can help build a steady pool of tunnel engineers with a mix of civil engineering and geotechnical knowledge to support our efforts.”
Building a Talent Pipeline for Infrastructure and Tunnel Engineering
The CITE has collaborated with Singapore’s Professional Engineers Board (PEB) to uplift industry standards to develop a customised Certification Course in Tunnel Engineering. The course aims to upskill professionals specialising in bored and mined tunnelling projects and supports Professional Engineers (Civil) in attaining accreditation as Specialist Professional Engineer in Tunnel Engineering.
Conducted by SIT faculty members as well as LTA’s tunnel engineers and industry experts, the course’s modules are specifically tailored to provide participants with information and case studies in the local context, such as the Geology of Singapore and Tunnel Design, Tunnelling Construction, and Tunnelling Operation and Impact Assessment. A pilot run of the course in March 2021 attracted 30 industry professionals who will be completing the programme in the first quarter of 2022.
The CITE will also serve as a platform to build a pipeline of qualified young professionals looking to join the industry. Through the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) attachment to the Centre, civil engineering undergraduates at SIT will have the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge and work experience in infrastructure and tunnel engineering. The IWSP is a distinctive feature of SIT’s degree programmes, where students undertake six to 12 months of paid employment relevant to their programmes during their studies. Postgraduate students can also engage with the industry through collaboration with the centre for their Industrial Master and Doctorate projects.
Boosting Industry Capabilities with Applied Research and Sharing of Best Practices
CITE will also conduct and facilitate applied research in infrastructure and tunnel engineering to create industry-specific solutions to keep pace with emerging trends and promote state-of-the-art industry practices. Areas of study include digitalisation and sustainability in civil engineering. For example, an ongoing project in which LTA and SIT are jointly carrying outlooks into the Design, Detailing, and Specification of Reinforced Concrete Cut-and-Cover Tunnels for Crack Control, Water Tightness, and Durability.
By engaging government agencies and industry players, the centre aims to improve companies’ productivity, expertise and technology in infrastructure and tunnel engineering. Beyond applied research, the Centre will also grow industry knowledge by sharing best practices via technical seminars, workshops, and consultancy services.
– Construction+ Online