I joined the Design Centric Programme (DCP) in 2009 as the pioneer batch of Electrical Engineering DCP students. In the course of working on my DCP project, we soon formed an excellent professional relationship with our DCP supervisor both inside and out of the classroom. In my senior undergraduate year, Geoscan Pte. Ltd., a geotechnical instrumentation company, approached NUS to collaborate on setting up an instrumentation R&D department. My DCP supervisor recognized the similarities and potential of my projects and headhunted me into the Geoscan – NUS collaboration team. Today, I continue working at Geoscan as a Lead R&D Engineer where I manage a small team of talented product development engineers and an accredited sensor calibration laboratory. Our team designs and manufactures internet connected, cloud based sensors and high precision data loggers for the civil engineering industry. True to our roots, we are still in close collaboration with professors from NUS today. To those students undecided about their academic future: The NUS Design Centric Programme is a rare opportunity to engage in academic projects related to your personal interests. Similar to an artist's blank canvas, you have the freedom to steer your DCP project limited only by your creativity. Your DCP supervisors will be standing by your side ready to assist should you encounter any technical difficulties.
I am particularly interested in the mobility systems of the future, and the Design Centric Programme helped me realise that. I was in the pioneer batch of DCP who graduated in 2013, and together with my teammates Yizhong, Xijia, Srigowtham, Poh Jin and Vinithra; we designed an intelligent transport concept based on wirelessly charging electric vehicles on urban roads. During my time with DCP I gained the chance to work in an interdisciplinary team, understand broad contexts while zooming in toward fine details, and gain design and problem solving skills that have helped me in my work and studies thereafter. After graduating from NUS, I worked as Research Engineer at Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology(SMART) , where I was involved in projects focussing autonomous surface, underwater and aerial vehicles for coastal surveys, as well as with new bio-inspired sensors and actuators. DCP’s interdisciplinary perspective helped me immensely during my work, and one needed versatility and the ability to work in multiple fields. Following this, I studied a master degree in Vehicle Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden and I got to pursue the interest I discovered thanks to DCP. I now work in the R&D department of Continental AG in Hannover, Germany, where I am gaining exposure to the products and processes that make the mobility of the future possible.
I am a culturally ambiguous, left-leaning liberal, INTP, agnostic atheist, recent graduate of NUS Mechanical Engineering and DCP. It would be disingenuous of me (and, I venture, anyone else) to claim that the Programme is without fault, or that it is easy. What I can say with absolute certainty, however, is that my experiences in the Programme have been vital to my intellectual and technical development. I had an incredibly supportive mentor and supervisor, and a fantastic community of peers and staff with which to engage in engineering and design dialectics. Above all the positives, however, was the freedom the Programme afforded to experiment and innovate, prototype and iterate ideas beyond raw CAD models. I enjoyed working on many extracurricular side projects for no credit as much as I did the Programme-specific ones. The process was often the reward. My project (an unconventional personal electric last-mile vehicle) was by no means the best, both in terms of ambition and technical achievement, so I can only speculate as to the reasons behind the interest in my DCP story. At the risk of sounding immodest, perhaps I represent - to some degree at least - the ideal DCP prospect, a self-motivated engineering student with a design bent and an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of modern day engineering. I currently perform a variety of tasks, including engineering design, CAD work, prototyping and odd jobs at a small personal mobility startup, essentially the elements of a DCP project, magnified. It’s challenging, but I’m ready.