Boost for social science research

27 April 2017 | Research
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The seven NUS projects awarded grants in the 2016 Social Science Research Thematic Grant call cover a range of issues including the ageing population, productivity and early childhood education.

Seven NUS projects have been awarded funding during the 2016 Social Science Research Thematic Grant (SSRTG) call. They were among 12 projects that MOE announced on 27 April, which were picked from 70 proposals for the grant call that took place from May to August last year.

The NUS projects cover a range of issues, such as the ageing population, early childhood development, low-income families, productivity and innovation, and environmental issues. Three of them will receive funding of more than $1 million to $10 million over three to five years. Distinguished Professor Ivan Png, who holds positions in both NUS Strategy & Policy and NUS Economics, will lead an inter-disciplinary project that incorporates a diversity of skills including data analytics, optimisation and behavioural science, to develop strategies to raise productivity across multiple industries.

Provost’s Chair Professor Jean Yeung from NUS Sociology will study human development and the various factors that affect a person’s potential to gain skills and capabilities to live a healthy life and enjoy an adequate standard of living, beginning with early childhood development.

Provost’s Chair Professor David Taylor from NUS Geography will look at the interconnectedness of Singapore with its regional neighbours in Southeast Asia, specifically at environmental challenges that cross boundaries between countries. The study hopes to lead to a transboundary environmental commons within ASEAN, as well as contribute to environmental sustainability.

Another four NUS projects will receive funding of between $100,000 and $1 million for up to three years.

Associate Professor Esther Goh from NUS Social Work will be leading a project that looks into the ways that low-income families adapt to their financial constraints. The first academic longitudinal study of this sort, it aims to help policies be more targeted to areas of support for low-income families.

Provost’s Chair Professor Ted Hopf from NUS Political Science will lead a project to examine and understand the Singapore national identity as well the country’s identity relations with its neighbours in the ASEAN community. The results of this study have the potential to inform and impact Singapore’s foreign and security policies.

Two other projects focus on Singapore’s ageing population. Associate Professor Liu Haoming from NUS Economics will study the household saving decisions in reference to retirement, capitalising on the introduction of the Central Provident Fund Lifelong Income for the Elderly (CPF LIFE). The study hopes to provide insights that will enable refinements of existing CPF policies to cater for the elderly’s better financial security.

NUS Nursing Studies Assistant Professor Wang Wenru’s project will look into ways to develop an evidence-based intervention to help the elderly with healthy ageing — achieving better health outcomes and quality of life. Such a programme has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, improve support services for the elderly, as well as provide insight for eldercare policies.

Initiated by the Social Science Research Council, the SSRTG is the first major grant programme dedicated to supporting high-quality and impactful inter-disciplinary social science and humanities research in Singapore.