From left: Mr Heng and Prof Tan answering questions from the audience during their dialogue session
From left: Deputy PM Heng Swee Keat and NUS Prof Tan Eng Chye answering questions from the audience during a dialogue session NUS

Around 300 Singaporean researchers, postdoctoral fellows and PhD students, including those based overseas attended Singaporean Researchers Global Summit at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House between August 6 and 7. The attendees shared their experiences and perspectives as well as discuss the research landscape and opportunities in Singapore.

The summit also included discussions on drug development, Smart Nation and social inequality. These sessions allowed for interesting exchanges between the panelists and the postdoctoral fellows and PhD students in the audience.

The panel discussion, which included local academics, researchers and industry insiders, gave a direction to the attendees towards new opportunities in the field of research and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as well as the humanities and social sciences.

Prof Tan (2nd from right) speaking with Singaporean researchers between events at the Summit
Prof Tan (2nd from right) speaking with Singaporean researchers between events at the Summit NUS

The National University of Singapore (NUS) President Professor Tan Eng Chye, who was present at the summit asked the researchers to keep an open mind about returning to Singapore to further their research.

NUS President also said, "I would like to encourage all Singaporean researchers... who are keen to explore how you can augment your ideas and research impact, to connect with the Autonomous Universities, and with the research, innovation and enterprise ecosystem in Singapore."

He also announced the launch of a new grant for Singaporeans pursuing PhDs or postdoctoral fellowships. The Development Grant will award up to $20,000 to support aspiring academics to boost their research work and build up their publication record and portfolio.

The Inauguration Grant was also announced at the event, offering $200,000 to overseas Singaporean academics looking to commit to tenure track Assistant Professorships at NUS.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat who attended the summit said that "The way that we can add value is to be a significant node which is linked to all the other nodes in the world. Research ought to be, in my view, a very collaborative international effort. You bring in the best people to work on the hardest problems for humanity."

The event included a panel discussion and keynote address that revealed the breadth of topics Singapore researchers are engaged in across the world.

Professor Eugene Yeo of the University of California San Diego shared his research on RNA proteins and its application in finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Singapore Management University President Professor Lily Kong talked about social science, social relevance and social responsibility. Computer Science Professor Luke Ong from the University of Oxford shared his expert knowledge on probabilistic programming for Bayesian machine learning.

The attendees of the summit also got a chance to know about University of California Los Angeles Professor Wong Chee Wei's work on quantum science and engineering during his talk about measurements at the precision frontiers.

Even Assistant Professor Benjamin Tee from NUS Materials Science and Engineering presented his latest innovation, which is an effective electronic skin system with ultra-high responsiveness and robustness to damage, Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin.

Associate Professor Chng Shu Sin from NUS Chemistry talked about biological membranes in cells and NUS Communications and New Media Head Professor Audrey Yue shared her research on communicative cities.