NUS University Awards 2022: Eight individuals recognised for exceptional contributions to education, research and service

Eight distinguished educators, researchers and professionals were feted for exemplifying excellence in their respective spheres at the NUS University Awards 2022. The annual Awards pay tribute to those who are trailblazers in their fields and have made sterling contributions to NUS, Singapore, and the global community.

Speaking at the ceremony held at Shangri-La Singapore on 29 July, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “I would like to convey my heartiest congratulations to all our award winners. You have distinguished yourself in your respective fields, and have flown the NUS flag high. The NUS community is immensely proud of you and we are delighted to honour your accomplishments and contributions.”

Top accolade - Outstanding Service Award

This year, the prestigious Outstanding Service Award was conferred on Mr Peter Ho, member of the NUS Board of Trustees, Senior Advisor at the Centre for Strategic Futures, and Chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore.       

A long-standing member of the NUS Board of Trustees since 2011, Mr Ho has been a source of strategic wisdom in helping to chart the University’s future direction in education and research. As a mark of his unwavering commitment to NUS, he is concurrently Chair of the Campus Planning and Development Committee, and Nominating Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Selfless in the dedication of his time and resources to serve the University, Mr Ho is also a member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee, and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP). Among his many contributions were his insights on how LKYSPP could draw on Singapore’s experience in policy, governance and strong international reputation to distil thought leadership and position itself globally as a leading school of public policy.

Additionally, as Founding Chairman of the NUS Faculty of Engineering’s Advisory Board from 2017 to 2021, Mr Ho pioneered a 3R framework – Rapid Change, the Real World and Relevance (to Industry) – to steer top-level discussions between the Faculty and the Board on areas spanning curriculum revisions, student outreach, and industry engagement.

Delivering the citation for Mr Ho’s conferment, Professor Danny Quah, Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics at LKYSPP, expressed deep gratitude to Mr Ho for his tireless dedication and contributions to NUS over the past decade, noting that the University has “benefitted tremendously from [his] wealth of experience, stemming not least from his illustrious 34-year career in Singapore’s Administrative Service.”

Sharing his vision for the University, Mr Ho said: “NUS has made tremendous progress in driving research, innovation and interdisciplinary education, establishing itself successfully as a comprehensive university of world-class standing. I hope NUS will hold fast to its sense of wonder about the world ─ to be always forward-looking and seeking new ideas.”

“I’m very grateful and honoured to be bestowed this award,” he added.

Watch this inspiring video on Mr Ho’s dedicated contributions towards the University and society.

*Mr Peter Ho was unable to attend the the awards ceremony in person.

Scaling new peaks in education and research

NUS also celebrated the achievements of seven outstanding educators and researchers from the College of Design and Engineering (CDE), College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS), and School of Computing (SoC).

University Research Recognition Award

Professor Chua Tat Seng, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Chair Professor from the SoC’s Department of Computer Science, and Professor Liu Bin, Distinguished Professor and Senior Vice Provost (Faculty and Institutional Development), were both recognised for their groundbreaking research that has positioned NUS at the forefront of their areas of expertise.

Renowned for his work in multimedia information retrieval and social media analytics, Professor Chua is a pioneer in neural and explainable recommendation, and has conducted innovative research on causal reasoning framework towards robust Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Liu Bin, on the other hand, is a prolific researcher in the field of organic functional materials, and is highly regarded internationally for her work on polymer chemistry and applications of organic nanomaterials in medicine, environmental monitoring, and energy systems.

Young Researcher Award

Three up-and-coming researchers were also commended for the potential of their research to extend the frontiers of knowledge in their respective fields:

1) Associate Professor John Ho from the CDE’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Institute for Health Innovation & Technology, is a rising star in the field of bioelectronics, whose work focuses on developing wireless medical technologies to remotely monitor and treat disease;

2) Associate Professor Lu Jiong from the Department of Chemistry in the CHS’ Faculty of Science, and Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials, specialises in research involving large-scale synthesis of atomically precise single-atom catalysts – technologies which are important for many industrial applications related to sustainable chemical and energy transformations;

3) Associate Professor Jessica Pan from the Department of Economics in the CHS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is an empirical labour economist whose research is highly relevant to the development of effective policies to address gender-based disparities in the labour market. Her recent work examines gender differences in labour market and educational outcomes, the labour market effects of immigration, and the economics of higher education.

Outstanding Educator Award

Associate Professor Heng Cheng Suang from the SoC’s Department of Information Systems & Analytics, and Mr Donn Koh from the CDE’s Division of Industrial Design, were honoured for being exemplary educators who have excelled in engaging and inspiring their students in their quest for knowledge.

Having taught a generation of students to adapt nimbly to an IT industry evolving at lightning speed, Associate Professor Heng successfully integrates theory and practice in the design of modules with real life applications, and injects awareness of social causes into projects to cultivate in his students a sense of social responsibility.

The other recipient, Senior Lecturer Donn Koh, is a leader in teaching innovation who has delivered authentic learning with high levels of real-world results, such as enabling student teams to commercialise and market their designed products. He is also well-regarded for developing transformative mentoring relationships with students − often through using technology in humanistic ways.

Read more about the NUS University Awards recipients here and refer to the NUS press release here.