The government of Singapore solicited Duke's interest in helping it create a new graduate medical school because of the Medical Center's renowned reputation and its School of Medicine's distinctive educational program, its research activity, and its faculty resources, according to the Ministry of Education.
Duke was likewise interested in the partnership, with its leaders citing opportunities to advance global health; form collaborations with NUS faculty and with academic and private research groups at Biopolis and elsewhere in Singapore to accelerate translational research and other research endeavors at Duke; and aid recruitment and retention of excellent faculty at both locations.
Discussions began in earnest with a 2002 visit to Duke by Tony Tan, PhD, who was then Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Minister for Manpower Ng Eng Hen, MBBS, and National University of Singapore President Prof. Shih Choon Fong, PhD.
In June of 2003, Ralph Snyderman, MD, then chancellor for health affairs at Duke, and R. Sanders Williams, MD, dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore's Minister of State for Education indicating Duke's willingness, in principle, to assist that nation in establishing a new medical school modeled on the Duke University School of Medicine.
After months of discussion with faculty and leadership, Duke and the National University of Singapore signed a formal agreement in April 2005 under which the two institutions would partner to establish a new medical school in Singapore.