NUS President, researchers receive prestigious fellowship

Five of the seven prestigious fellowships awarded by the Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS) this year were conferred on outstanding NUS scientists, including NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan. The other four recipients were Professor Ding Jeak Ling, NUS Biological Sciences; Professor Lai Choy Heng, NUS Physics and Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies at NUS; Professor Lee Hian Kee, NUS Chemistry; and Professor Ooi Beng Chin, Distinguished Professor, NUS Computer Science and Director of the Interactive and Digital Media Institute at NUS.

Nobel Laureate Dr Sydney Brenner, regarded as one of the pioneers of molecular biology, presented the fellowships to the recipients during an award ceremony held at the NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House on 10 May. A Senior Fellow at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and recipient of the NUS Honorary Doctor of Letters in 1995, Dr Brenner was conferred the SNAS Honorary Fellowship at the event for his contribution to the development of life sciences in Singapore. In his address, he expressed his hope for more young people in Singapore to have an interest in science. “If you don’t have that, you will lose in the long run,” he said.

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Dr Brenner giving his address during the award ceremony

The event also marked the first time that women have been conferred SNAS Fellowships, with Prof Ding being one of two women scientists, along with Executive Director of A*STAR’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Professor Jackie Ying. Prof Ding was honoured for her research in innate immunity and pathogen surveillance strategies. Also elected as Fellow during the evening was Nanyang Technological University President Professor Bertil Andersson.

“The 2016 SNAS Fellows from NUS…have, through their individual efforts, made deep and impactful contributions to the scientific community in Singapore. They are widely regarded as leaders in their respective fields, and serve as role models for scholarship and research excellence in science,” said Professor Andrew Wee, SNAS President and Vice President (University and Global Relations) at NUS. Prof Wee was among the first 11 SNAS Fellows who were accorded the honour at the Academy's inaugural conferment in 2011.

As President of the University, Prof Tan was credited with leading NUS to further global distinction. The event also honoured his contribution to clinical science in Singapore as Board Chairman of the National University Health System, as well as former Dean of NUS Medicine and Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health. Congratulating the other awardees, Prof Tan said he was honoured to be included as a Fellow alongside “this distinguished group”. “This is indeed a strong recognition of the high quality of research and leadership in science in Singapore,” he added.

The SNAS, which was established in 1967, promotes the advancement of science and technology in Singapore and represents the scientific opinions of its members. The Fellowships were instituted to recognise outstanding individuals in Singapore who have distinguished themselves in the field. SNAS Fellows are expected to advise the government and other national organisations on various aspects of science and education in Singapore. 

See press release and media coverage.