Assistant Chief Executive
Science & Engineering Research Council
Professor Huan is the Assistant Chief Executive, A*STAR (Science & Engineering Research Council), through which he sets and drives the implementation of A*STAR’s strategic plans and initiatives in the Science and Engineering arena. He was most recently Executive Director (ED) of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).
Professor Huan’s earliest contribution to A*STAR was when he joined the incipient A*STAR IMRE as a joint appointee in 1998, functioning as Programme Manager of the Materials Characterisation Lab, and establishing it as the premier materials analysis lab in the region. He remained in this role until 2010. He was seconded to the A*STAR Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) in 2011. In 2012, he took up the position of Acting ED of the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), later assuming the position of full ED of the institute, a role he held until 2018. He was concurrently ED of the A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA) from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, he also added the ED IMRE role to his portfolio. Prof Huan relinquished his appointment as ED IHPC in 2018. From 2019 to 2020, he was concurrently ED of the newly-established Urban and Green Technologies Office.
Prior to his career with A*STAR, Professor Huan had acquired considerable research and academic experience. He first took up a Lecturer position at the Department of Physics, NUS, in 1989 and was eventually appointed as Deputy Head of Department in 2004. At NUS, he worked on surface science and epitaxial thin films, understanding surface and interfacial electronic structure of high-k oxides and semiconductors. He also studied the relaxation and reconstruction on various metal and semiconductor surfaces. Between 1999 and 2000, he worked as Visiting Beamline Scientist at the Advanced Light Source in the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. In 2005, he left NUS along with some colleagues to start a new school at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS). He began as the Head of the Division of Physics and Applied Physics, and later on, added the portfolio of Associate Chair for Outreach and Admissions. In NTU, his research focused on ultrafast charge and energy transfer in organics and II-VI semiconductor nanostructures, in particular the roles of defect states and the effect of dopants, leading to rich optical phenomena exciton relaxation and charge dissociation.
Professor Huan received his education at the University of Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics, working on acoustic interactions in low temperature paramagnetic insulators.