New grant woos young Singaporean academics

NUS President Prof Tan Eng Chye (far left), Mr Ong (7th from left) and Prof Ho (5th from right) with Singaporean researchers at the SRGS Industry Night Reception

NUS is set to be the first university to offer a $200,000 cash grant for talented Singaporean academics who want to join the University as pre-tenure track Assistant Professors. The Inauguration Grant, set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE), hopes to attract these academics to join local universities. The grant was announced on 6 August by Minister for Education Mr Ong Ye Kung at the Industry Night Reception of the Singaporean Researchers Global Summit (SRGS), where he was Guest-of-Honour.

“For all our universities, we are predominantly serving Singapore students, and we would also like to have a strong core of Singaporean faculty. As of now if you look at tenured faculty, about 50 per cent are Singaporeans. But if you look at the pre-tenure pipeline, it is not as strong. And we really need to build it up so that we can continue to have this core of about 50 per cent Singaporean faculty,” explained Mr Ong.

NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua said the University aims to woo Singaporean researchers and junior academics who are not under scholarship obligations.

“We are open to scholars from all areas but we are particularly excited about humanities and social science scholars because the language used in that area has a local context, a regional context, while the language of science is quite universal…we really hope to have a bigger ratio of Singaporeans in that area,” he said.

The grant will come under MOE’s Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme (START). The grant comes with no service obligation or bond, and it will be paid in two tranches — the first $80,000 after two years of service, and the remaining $120,000 after four years of service.