Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing with the 2020 A*STAR Scholarship Award recipients and guests
On 6 August 2020, A*STAR welcomed its newest cohort of A*STAR scholars during its annual Scholarship Award Ceremony. The inaugural virtual Scholarship Award Ceremony was attended by more than 200 guests, including the scholars’ family members, educators, and friends.
Themed “Re-envision Our Future”, the digital ceremony was reflective of the new developments that Singapore is experiencing amid the rapidly changing global landscape, and the implications on science and talent that underpin scientific breakthroughs that impact lives.
The importance of sustaining Singapore’s R&D talent
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who was the guest-of-honour, spoke about Singapore’s need to strengthen its R&D ecosystem through building its systems, networks and communities. He reiterated the nation's commitment to investing in people, even when times are tough.
"We continue with our investments through all the difficult moments to make sure that there is a sustainable pipeline of talent for the future," said Minister Chan.
A scholarship for the future
The National Science Scholarship was first announced in 2001 by the National Science and Technology Board, the predecessor to A*STAR. Since then, more than 1,600 A*STAR scholarships have been given out to nurture Singaporean R&D talent.
Mr Timothy Sebastian, Executive Director of the A*STAR Graduate Academy, said, “Due to the unprecedented challenges facing the world today, the roles of scientists and engineers are ever more critical in our nation’s continued resilience and in fueling innovation and growth across sectors. It is an opportune time to embark on a career in science and technology, to bring imaginative solutions to bear that will help improve the world we live in.”
“The A*STAR scholarships are designed to nurture the next generation of young scientific talents who not only have the knowledge and skills in R&D, but the tenacity and passion to re-envision the future together,” Mr Sebastian added.
From scholar to scientific leader
Today, A*STAR scholars who have completed their scholarships and fellowships are contributing to Singapore in the research, innovation and enterprise (RIE) ecosystem in diverse roles.
Associate Professor Loh Xian Jun, Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering is one of these scholars who have come full circle. At the ceremony, Prof Loh shared how his path in science had benefited from collaboration and interdisciplinary research, which he views as the new engine driving the innovation and development of Singapore. Prof Loh is the first A*STAR scholar to lead an A*STAR research institute.