Chairs of The Network

The Chair of Universitas 21 is currently Professor Tan, Eng Chye President of the National University of Singapore (NUS). The chair of the network rotates on a biennial basis.

Professor Tan, Eng Chye was appointed President of the National University of Singapore (NUS) on 1 January 2018. He is the University’s 5th president, and the 23rd leader to head Singapore’s oldest higher education institution. 

Professor Tan Image

Prof Tan, who attended Raffles Institution (1974 to 1979), obtained his Bachelor in Mathematics (First Class Honours, 1985) at NUS and his PhD (1989) at Yale University. He joined NUS as a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics in 1985, as a Senior Tutor, and has held visiting positions at various universities overseas such as the Rutgers University, University of Washington at Seattle, University of California at Berkeley and University of Maryland, USA; Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; as well as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

A passionate and award-winning educator, he was a pioneer architect of the current academic system in NUS, and has seeded many initiatives such as the Special Programme in Science, University Scholars Programme, University Town Residential College Programme, Grade-free Year, and Technology-enhanced Education. He was recognised with the University Teaching Award for Innovative Teaching in 1998, and was President of the Singapore Mathematical Society (2001 to 2005) as well as the South East Asian Mathematical Society (2004 to 2005). 


Professor Tan is a member of the Singapore’s Future Economy Council, which is tasked with driving the growth and transformation of the country’s future economy. He is on the boards of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); National Research Foundation (NRF); and NUS High School of Mathematics and Sciences. He is also on the International Advisory Council of the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, and an advisor with the think tank The Conference Board. 

In 2014 Professor Tan received the Public Administration Medal (Gold) at Singapore's National Day Awards for his outstanding contributions to education. He was awarded the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, which honours exceptional alumni in the areas of scholarship, teaching, academic administration and public service, by Yale University in 2018. Prof Tan was also conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Southampton in 2018 in recognition of his achievements as “an innovative and exceptional teacher, and then as a distinguished and respected leader in academia”. 

Professor Tan was elected Chair of Universitas 21 in May 2021.

Past Chairs

(2014 - 2021) Professor Sir David Eastwood, University of Birmingham

(2013-2014) Professor Fred Hilmer, UNSW Australia

(2012-2013) Dr Hugh Brady, University College Dublin

(2010-2012) Professor Glyn Davis, University of Melbourne

(2008-2010) Professor John Casteen, University of Virginia

(2007-2008) Professor Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill University

(2004-2007) Professor John Hay, University of Queensland

(2003-2004) Professor John Hood, University of Auckland

(2001- 2003) Professor Graeme Davis, University of Glasgow

(1997- 2001) Professor Alan Gilbert, University of Melbourne