Research policy: How to build science capacity

By Mr Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR Chairman

Singapore: Build global networks

Last year, Singapore celebrated 20 years of government investment in science and technology. From 1991 to 2010, public expenditure on research and development doubled, from 0.4% to 0.8% of the gross domestic product. The number of research scientists in the public sector quadrupled, to nearly 13,000.

For the past five years, we have also provided support for students and researchers from beyond Asia to participate in undergraduate research attachments and doctoral and postdoctoral stints in Singapore. So far, we have attracted more than 600 young researchers from more than 50 countries, including the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Russia, Egypt, Sudan and Australia.

Many of these students have told me that they are grateful for the opportunity to come to Singapore and to work in a world-class research environment in Asia. They often say that they were surprised by the excellent infrastructure, resource support and quality of science, as well as the presence of leading researchers from around the world. Many see Singapore as a gateway to the region and hope to stay in Asia to further their careers.

These young international students add to the research landscape a richness and diversity not otherwise possible in a country as small as Singapore. Eventually, they will also connect Singapore to research communities around the world.


This article is an extract from Nature, published online on 17 October 2012, with the title 'Research Policy: How to build Science capacity'.

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