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NUS launches new centre dedicated to research and training on family and population studies

28 April 2015 | Research , Education
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The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has launched a new research centre – the Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR) – dedicated to research and training on family and population studies in Singapore and beyond.

Minister in the Prime Minister 's Office Ms Grace Fu, who is also the Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, launched the new research centre today at its inaugural conference titled "Singapore Families and Population Dynamics".

The Centre will apply advanced scientific research methodologies to understand the trends, determinants, and consequences of family and population changes, particularly in Asia. It will adopt a multi-disciplinary, life course, and international comparative approach in its research and aim to bridge academic research with public policies that affect the well-being of the family unit.

Research at the CFPR will cover eight themes: fertility and marriage; ageing and health; children and youth development; intergenerational relations and transfers; changing family living arrangements and family values; migration and integration; human capital and labour market; and gender relations.

Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said, "The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have been pioneers in family and population research in Singapore since early years. We recognise the importance of multidisciplinary approach to tackle key policy relevant questions so we have formed various interdisciplinary research clusters. A few years ago, the Family, Children and Youth research cluster was established. We are proud to see that this cluster has now grown into the Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR). The CFPR builds on, and creates further synergies for, the faculty members and students interested in family, demography and inequality issues on campus. With the expertise we have in the faculty and the University 's support, we are well positioned to lead from Asia in this important field."

The Centre is established with a funding of S$1.5 million from the University. Helming CFPR and its efforts is Professor Jean Yeung, Director of CFPR, who is also a faculty member from the Department of Sociology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The Centre currently hosts 27 researchers and has an advisory committee consisting of five distinguished international scholars. CFPR has a visiting fellowship programme which has already hosted 13 international scholars. Please refer to the Annex for Prof Yeung 's profile.

Key Mission - Research, training and mentorship

CFPR will focus on three key areas – research, training and mentorship. In the area of research, it aims to recruit top scholars and students with knowledge and interest in family and population to build a critical mass of expertise in NUS. In addition to organising conferences and regular seminar series on family demography and population topics, the Centre will also provide seed grants, research scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships, and visiting fellowship to international scholars for research in family and population studies.

In the next few years, researchers in CFPR plan to carry out comparative studies across different Asian countries on understanding and managing family stress in different life stages; retirement plans and long-term care for older adults, intergenerational relations and exchange of time and money (for example, grandparent care for grandchildren); trends and consequences of changes in family structure and values; how changes in human capital affect family formation, labor market outlook and health care needs in ageing Asia.

The new Centre will also initiate training programmes on social research. These programmes, which are short courses on research methods and practice, are targeted not just at the academic communities, but also government agency employees and social service practitioners. The first training programme will commence in May and run until July 2015, which will include courses of about two to three days on topics such as social care for older adults, social research methods, evaluation research, and computer-assisted analysis of qualitative data.

Full-time NUS students may also enroll in the training programme. CFPR is offering competitive merit scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, which will cover about 30 to 50 per cent of the course fees.

Furthermore, CFPR will provide opportunities for mentoring of affiliates, particularly junior faculty members and graduate students. The Centre will also actively seek and develop collaborations with prominent research centres and institutes overseas.

For more information on CFPR, please refer to www.fas.nus.edu.sg/cfpr/.

Conference on Singapore Families and Population Dynamics

In conjunction with its official launch, the Centre had organised a conference titled "Singapore Families and Population Dynamics" to commemorate 110 years of the founding of NUS together with Singapore 's 50th year of independence. The conference brought together about 160 leading researchers as well as family and population policy makers and practitioners to examine the trends, determinants and consequences of changes in the well-being of Singapore families at different life stages as the country's population structure and composition evolve.

Prof Yeung said, "Fifty years ago, families of different ethnicities came to this land in search of a better life and with the mission to build a nation. Together they have created a safe, prosperous home that is more diverse than ever now. Moving forward, Singapore must decide what its population and basic social economic unit – the family – will look like. Having a vibrant population comprised of diverse, well-functioning families with shared visions will propel Singapore into a dynamic next 50 years."

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