Science trailblazers honoured

From left to right: Asst Prof Lim, Prof Toh, Asst Prof Shao, Assoc Prof Chia, Prof Saw, Adjunct Prof Tan and Prof Beuerman at the awards ceremony (Photo: A*STAR)

Members of the NUS research community were among those celebrated at the most recent President’s Science and Technology Awards (PSTA), held on 17 October. The highest honours given to research scientists and engineers in Singapore, PSTA celebrates individuals and groups whose work have resulted in significant scientific, technological or economic benefits for the country. This year’s PSTA had two recipients of the President’s Science Award (PSA) and one recipient of the President’s Technology Award (PTA).

NUS Mathematics Professor Toh Kim Chuan was conferred the PSA for his ground-breaking work in the field of computational optimisation. A world-leader in algorithms for semi-definite programming (SDP), Prof Toh has made fundamental contributions to the theory, practice and application of this research. His work has enabled advances in applications including senor network localisation, 3D chromosome organisation, the prediction of consumer behaviours, as well as in machine-learning and data science. Prof Toh has also made critical contributions to SDP solvers that routinely deal with critical optimisation problems previously regarded too difficult to solve.

The second PSA was awarded to a team from the Singapore Eye Research Institute comprising Associate Professor Audrey Chia, Professor Saw Seang Mei, Professor Roger Beuerman and Adjunct Professor Donald Tan from Duke-NUS Medical School. Prof Saw also holds an appointment at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. The team was recognised for their pioneering work in the field of myopia research, which has contributed to decreased prevalence and severity of myopia in children over the last three decades.

At the ceremony at the Istana, State President Madam Halimah Yacob presented the awards to the recipients of the PSA.  

At the same event, two outstanding young NUS scientists were honoured with the Young Scientist Award (YSA). They received their awards from Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry. The YSA, organised by the Singapore National Academy of Science and supported by A*STAR, recognises the accomplishments of researchers under the age of 35, who have shown their potential for greater heights. It also highlights the importance of investing in Singapore’s talent pool.

Assistant Professor Charles Lim from NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering and the NUS Centre for Quantum Technologies was conferred the award for his work in quantum communications and cryptography resulting in quantum secure communication methods. Assistant Professor Shao Huilin from NUS Biomedical Engineering and the NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology also received the award for her research in developing transformative technologies for non-invasive disease detection and treatment monitoring.

The award winners were identified by a distinguished panel of representatives from industry, academia and research.

See media coverage.