Eight individuals honoured for exemplary contributions to education, research and service at NUS University Awards

Healthcare leader Professor Tan Chorh Chuan and top civil servant Ms Yong Ying-I lauded for outstanding service 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) today celebrated the accomplishments of eight outstanding educators, researchers and professionals at the NUS University Awards 2019. The annual event, which was held at the NUS University Cultural Centre, recognises individuals for their exceptional contributions in education, research and service to the University, to Singapore and the global community.


NUS recognised eight outstanding individuals who had made exceptional contributions in education, research and service.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “We are proud to honour the eight recipients of this year’s University Awards. They are remarkable individuals who have achieved peaks of excellence in their pursuits, and whose life and work have left a deep, positive impact. Their dedication is an inspiration to us in our endeavour to break new ground on the world academic stage, and to advance knowledge and technology frontiers, as we strive for excellence to serve the nation and the wider global community. My deepest congratulations to each and every award recipient.”

This year, the accolades were presented in four categories: Outstanding Service Award, Outstanding Educator Award, University Research Recognition Award and Young Researcher Award.

Outstanding Service Award

NUS conferred the prestigious Outstanding Service Award on two accomplished individuals who have made exceptional contributions towards the development of the University, Singapore and the international community. The award recipients are: Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Executive Director of the Office for Healthcare Transformation and Chief Health Scientist, Ministry of Health (MOH), and Ms Yong Ying-I, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Communications and Information.

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan

Prof Tan Chorh Chuan is the Executive Director of the Office for Healthcare Transformation and Chief Health Scientist at MOH. Trained as a renal physician, he made a phenomenal transition to a visionary leader, and carved a distinguished career with stellar achievements. A Public Service Commission scholar, Prof Tan studied medicine at NUS and subsequently received his doctorate here. In 1997, at the age of 38, he became the youngest faculty to be appointed Dean of the then NUS Faculty of Medicine for three years. He served as Director of Medical Services, MOH, from 2000 to 2004, where he was responsible for leading the public health response to the 2003 SARS epidemic. 

As the inaugural Chief Executive of the National University Health System in 2008, he brought the NUS schools of medicine, dentistry and public health, as well as the National University Hospital, under a single governance.

Under his stewardship as NUS President from 2008 to 2017, the University’s reputation as a leading global university with an Asian perspective rose to new heights. NUS made remarkable progress in the areas of education, research and entrepreneurship – from adopting new models of teaching and learning such as NUS University Town and Yale-NUS College, to accelerating the pace of multidisciplinary research as well as entrepreneurship initiatives. 

Prof Tan was Deputy Chairman of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research from 2004 to 2017, and Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum from 2014 to 2016. He is also the first Singaporean to be elected as an international member of the US National Academy of Medicine in 2015.

Ms Yong Ying-I

An economist by training, the impact of Ms Yong’s work on the country, and NUS, has been significant and wide-ranging. 

She joined the Administrative Service in 1985 and served in the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, Home Affairs, Communications & IT, Manpower, and Health, the last two as Permanent Secretary.

As founding Chief Executive Officer of the former Infocomm Development Authority, Ms Yong oversaw the liberalisation of Singapore’s telecommunications market in 2000, as well as the national fibre broadband rollout in 2010.

As Permanent Secretary (Health), Ms Yong organised the public sector healthcare ecosystem’s participation in a significant way in our national biomedical sciences research and innovation efforts, including the restructuring of our two leading tertiary hospitals into academic medical centres.

Under her leadership at the National Research Foundation Singapore, the CorpLab@University programme was set up to support the establishment of joint R&D laboratories by industry with local universities. This helped NUS to further strengthen its partnerships with key industry players through the Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory, NUS-Singtel Cyber Security R&D Lab, WIL@NUS Corporate Laboratory and the Imaging Biomarker Development Lab, a collaboration between Duke-NUS Medical School and ImaginAb Inc, among others.

Ms Yong also played an instrumental role in the creation of AI Singapore (AISG), which was launched in 2017. Hosted at and led by NUS, AISG is transforming the country’s artificial intelligence capabilities through the creation of opportunities for research, innovation and talent development with schools, universities, research institutions and industry.

Six exemplary educators and researchers honoured

This year, the NUS University Awards also recognised and honoured the accomplishments of six outstanding educators and researchers.

Outstanding Educator Award

  • Associate Professor Nga Min En
    Department of Pathology, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Assistant Professor Hans Tan
    Division of Industrial Design, NUS School of Design & Environment

University Research Recognition Award

  • Professor Markus R Wenk
    Department of Biochemistry, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Young Researcher Award

  • Associate Professor Andrew Hui
    Division of Humanities, Yale-NUS College
  • Dean’s Chair Associate Professor Vincent Tan
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NUS Faculty of Engineering, and Department of Mathematics, NUS Faculty of Science
  • Associate Professor Yan Ning
    Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NUS Faculty of Engineering