On PSTA 10th Anniversary in 2018, past PSTA and NSTA winners reflect on their wins and talk about their inspirations


Professor Edward Warren Holmes
PSTM 2017
NUS, A*STAR, NRF

Why choose a career in science? Simply put, it is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers I can imagine. It is intellectually stimulating - boredom is rare. Scientists have the opportunity to engage in discovery research which is the foundation for innovation and through innovation, one is able to make significant contributions to societal wellbeing. The PSTA shines a bright light on these scientists and what their contributions have been, letting society get to know who these people are and what they do.

Professor Bertil Andersson
PSTM 2016
NTU Singapore

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are fundamental to the Singapore economy, as they play a significant role in maintaining the nation's competitive edge and improving the quality of life for Singaporeans and people around the world. The President’s Science and Technology Awards are an important form of recognition for the excellent research that is being undertaken in Singapore. Singapore is becoming an exciting place for scientific and technological innovation, and the Awards inspire our research scientists and engineers to boldly pursue their ideas and discoveries, and change the world for the better.

Mr Tan Gee Paw
PSTM 2015
PUB

In the history of mankind, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been shown to be the distinguishing factor for the superiority of nations and civilizations. A nation without land and natural resources like Singapore need not despair, but can thrive by developing and exploiting the intellectual capital of its people. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is the pillar of our intellectual capital. The PSTA awards, being the pinnacle awards, play a critical role in recognizing this.

Professor John Eu-Li Wong
PSTM 2014
NUHS, NUS

Small countries survive and flourish by being able to harness and apply knowledge effectively. They must also be capable of developing workable solutions to the challenges they face and not depend on what was developed for other societies. Developing and nurturing an ecosystem of talent, mentorship and enabling platforms does not happen overnight. The last 10 years have seen the creation of this ecosystem, but we have much more work to do. The President’s Science and Technology Awards are a testimony to what can be done in Singapore. Just imagine what the next decade and beyond will unveil!

Professor Barry Halliwell
PSTM 2013
NUS

In a small country like Singapore with few natural resources, the innovation of the residents is critical in solving problems of limited space, energy, population, water etc by new approaches that deliver economic value and create high-levels jobs for Singaporeans. The novel approaches and innovations can be applied locally and worldwide. They rest on a base of strong fundamental research in Science and Technology, plus underpinning skills such as Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics.

Professor Dim-Lee Kwong
PSTM 2012
A*STAR

The President’s Science and Technology Awards recognise the outstanding work in science and engineering in Singapore with global impact. I am humbled to be part of this legacy, and honoured to carry it forward. These achievements would not have been possible without the dedication of my team then, as well as our industry partners. Looking back at the last decade, it is gratifying to see how my team at IME and now I2R are continuing to contribute to Singapore’s success and future growth.

Professor Soo Khee Chee
PSTM 2011
NCCS

Recognition of the high performers will serve as a constant reminder of what can we or should be achieved by our research community. We aim to build a vibrant research culture led by such an inspired leaders.

Professor Chong Tow Chong
PSTM 2010
SUTD

I was very honoured to be awarded the President’s Science and Technology Medal 2010. The award was a strong impetus of growth for me, as it directed my passion and pursuits for science, technology, and innovation, and turned them into a deep quest and commitment for research excellence. The award had guided and inspired me to serve as a role model to the younger generations of STEM educators, scientists and researchers.

Professor Miranda Yap
PSTM 2009
A*STAR

Prof Miranda Yap's husband Professor Yap Kian Tong, remembering her tenacity and influence on the scientific community here, says: “Many are lulled into assuming that getting scientific funding in Singapore is always easy, and that it provides the motivation for innovative thinking, but it is actually the other way around. Even when faced with no funding or other difficulties, Miranda would persist in research and pursue her passions. She would still push her convictions and the many valuable insights she gained from colleagues from all over the world.”

Professor Low Teck Seng
NSTM 2004
Republic Polytechnic

The President’s Science and Technology Awards are significant in recognising those who have achieved excellence in their scientific fields, and made valuable contributions in advancing Singapore’s R&D interest. I am delighted that the Awards have reached a new milestone this year, marking a decade-long effort in this meaningful endeavour. Our R&D investments have built a strong base of scientific capabilities that enables us to create new industries and good jobs in Singapore.

Professor Su Guaning
NSTM 2003
NTU Singapore

Singapore has come a long way in developing our science and technology capabilities. Our first post-independence recession in 1985/86 was the trigger for a national strategy backed by considerable resource to be implemented as the National Technology Plan 1991-1995 implemented by NSTB, then we had the doubling of investments every 5 years. With the name change to A*Star concrete manpower plans were implemented along with wooing of experts from abroad to guide our young people.

Prof Hang Chang Chieh
NSTM 2000
NUS

“We can be justifiably proud of Singapore’s achievements in building national research infrastructure and nurturing world-class researchers. This required considerable and sustained effort over the last 30-plus years. The strong foundation in research is the ideal launchpad to drive Singapore’s innovation and enterprise development in strategic sectors.

Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin
NSTM 1999
NIE

STEM education is central to Singapore’s Skills Future policy and economic progress. A STEM- capable workforce provides us a competitive edge. The skills which STEM provides, are the ability to think critically, problem solve and being innovative and creative. Additionally, our talent pool has to understand the process of machine learning in the digital age which encompasses scientific, technical, mathematical and even linguistic skills combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, resilience, positive attitude and empathy.

Professor Patrick Tan
PSA (Team) 2015
Duke-NUS, A*STAR

“Receiving the PSA was a tremendous recognition of the value that team-based research can play in allowing Singapore to compete on the world-stage. By leveraging on Singapore as a gateway to Asia, we can definitely punch above our weight and make a mark on the global scientific landscape.”

Professor Wang Yue
PSA 2012
A*STAR

I was tremendously honoured to receive the President Science Award in 2012. To be given such prestigious recognition for my work has been an enormous source of motivation for me. When I joined the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in 1989 as a postdoctoral fellow, I could not have imagined that, in the 20 years that followed, twelve of my colleagues would be honoured with the National/President Science Award. To stand amongst such esteemed colleagues has been a source of unending pride.

Dr Ng Huck Hui
PSA (Team) 2011, NSA 2007
A*STAR

We live in an exciting era that is propelled by Science and Technology. These are the fruits from pioneers who had dedicated their lives to push the frontiers of research. In research, the progress that we made daily are small steps. At times, transformative steps happen and they can change the world. The PSTA is an important recognition of the pinnacle of excellence and impact in Science and Technology. It also serves to spur the rest of the community to break new grounds and to advance Science and Technology to shape our future.

Professor Roger Beuerman
PSA (Team) 2009
SERI, SNEC, NUS

Receiving the President’s First Science and Technology Award as part of the SERI team was a very great honor. The award signifies the high regard that Singapore places on Science and Technology and indeed we see examples every day. The effort has also made Singapore a great country that as often said “punches above its weight”. As Singapore is my adopted home this was a very gratifying occasion. This award event in many ways offers a snapshot of the great science found in Singapore and how it will be translated into our daily lives.

Professor Ng Wun Jern
PTA 2017
NTU Singapore

STEM is the basis for R&D and its unfettered appreciation is necessary for us to see the contiguous relationship in science, technology, and engineering. Science affords understanding, translation results in technology development, while engineering is necessary for actual applications. This contiguous pathway is crucial to extending the value in R&D beyond the researcher’s community to the larger community in which researchers are a part of and to national economic development.

Professor Liu Bin
PTA 2016
NUS, A*STAR

More than ever before, having sufficient human capital in STEM is extremely pivotal to a country’s survival, without which, a country’s progress in all realms would be stagnant, eventually losing its social cohesiveness and making nation building an impossible task. Our next generation needs to sense this urgency and recognizes that a strong STEM culture is thus essential for Singapore’s survival – in the new economy, healthcare, or environment.

Mr Ong Kien Soo
PTA (Team) 2016
ST Electronics (Satellite Systems) Pte Ltd

We are living in a fast moving and connected world, fueled by innovative creations, built on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Any breakthrough in our study, or innovative application of STEM, can lead to the delivery of new solutions/possibilities that will benefit the industry, Singapore, or the world. Such breakthrough will not come easy.

Mr Lim Wee Seng
PTA (Team) 2016
NTU Singapore

Many years back, it is hard to imagine that NTU is able to design, build, test and operate seven satellites in a short span of time. The will to succeed, to dream, believing in ourselves, and making things happen are essential ingredient that drive our pursuit. NTU Satellite Research Centre (SaRC) has paved the way for young Singapore engineers and researchers to flourish in space science and technology application. The access to space has opened up unimaginable opportunities and contributed to exponential progress in space R&D.

Professor Neal Tai-Shung Chung
PTA 2015
NUS

A small country without water and energy must have extra creativity to create water and energy via innovative forward thinking, smart management and planning, and attracting talents with the provision of vibrant R&D environments. Without coming to Singapore and without Singapore strong supports, I cannot accomplish my research on membrane science and technology and make contributions toward the society, I have to thank God and Singapore. I believe more talents in different areas will join Singapore and make it great as a leading innovation hub for new technologies in the world.

Professor Subbu Venkatraman
PTA (Team) 2014
NTU Singapore

As Singapore moves towards a knowledge-based economy, its growth will be sustained mainly by innovation. In the new economy, such innovations are largely STEM-based. As such the PSTA incentivizes innovators and recognizes their contributions to the economic growth of Singapore. This prestigious award validates the efforts of many of us in driving translational research in such diverse areas as biomedical devices, healthcare, sustainability, energy and artificial intelligence. In time these awards would have been instrumental in acknowledging STEM efforts in making Singapore a “Silicon Island”.

Associate Professor Tina Wong
PTA (Team) 2014
NTU Singapore, SERI

Singapore is poised to be a major game changer in the rapidly advancing world of science, technology and innovation. Collaborations across the huge talent pool are essential to bring new ideas to application. The gaps are also now closing to provide seamless funding from bench all the way through to commercialization. This allows scientists to focus on generating outcomes at a steady pace and thus remaining competitive with their innovations.

Professor Wong Tien Yin
PSA 2010, PTA Team 2014
SERI, SNEC, Duke- NUS, NUS

20 years ago, few Singaporean doctors would think of a career as a clinician-scientist. Today, we have a growing pipeline of young clinician-scientists who aspire to push the boundaries of medicine. We have young doctors with MD/PhDs, who are engineers and data scientists, and who have worked in the design and business consultancy. These future generation of doctors has the passion and curiosity to be part of teams discovering new treatments and adding significant value to our biomedical and health sciences ecosystems. Singapore medicine has come of age since the PSTA awards!

Dr Li Haizhou
PTA (Team) 2013
A*STAR

“As a new citizen, I unequivocally call Singapore home. I have spent most of my professional life in Singapore to pursue my passion for scientific research. The President’s Technology Award means a lot to me because it recognizes not only my achievements in human language technology that empower the industry, but also my contributions towards Singapore."

Professor Lawrence Ho Khek Yu
PTA (Team) 2012
NUHS

Some think that Henry Ford’s famous quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” is wrong as users often know what they want. While this may be true, it is also true that “If I had asked scientists what they wanted, they would have said more publications”, “If I had asked clinicians what they wanted, they would have said more clinical skills”, and so on.

Associate Professor Louis Phee
PTA (Team) 2012
NTU Singapore

The 4th industrial revolution, where technologies combine the physical, digital and biological worlds, is upon us. Singaporeans from all walks of life will have to embrace science and technology if we want to stay competitive in this fast changing world. I believe that our education system, especially primary and secondary school levels, is geared towards a strong foundation in STEM. This results in a large proportion of higher education students pursuing STEM related programmes which eventually lead to STEM related careers.

Dr Ang Kah Wee
PTA (Team) 2010
A*STAR

“Singapore’s sustained commitment to science and technology development holds a strategic importance in shaping and driving the future of knowledge-based economy. Nurturing a pool of talent is a key investment to achieving this goal, and recognizing their contributions with the nation’s highest award serves as a strong encouragement and inspiration for one to scale even greater heights in the field.”

Mr Goh Szu Huat
PTA (Team) 2009
NUS

Manufacturing continues to be a key pillar to the Singapore’s economy. But the nature of manufacturing has been evolving rapidly in response to the global competitive ecosystem. The new jobs of tomorrow in Singapore involve high technology innovations. Is our workforce ready? It is important for Singapore to grow our core group of local talents in the area of advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To inspire this growth, identification, due recognition and providing global visibility of excellent works are important.







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