Oh Jin An Sam, In Search For Clean Energy
Sam aspires to facilitate the commercialisation of solid-state batteries to deliver more innovative clean energy alternatives. With the A*STAR International Fellowship (AIF) he is able to meet and work with brilliant researchers from various backgrounds and cultures to pursue his dream.
- First off, can you introduce yourself and your field of study?
I graduated from the National University of Singapore with my interdisciplinary Ph.D research and education under the Integrative Science and Engineering Programme in late 2021. My research area is Manufacturing Technology and Materials Science & Engineering.
I was recently awarded with the A*STAR International Fellowship to broaden my research experience in University of California, San Diego.
- Why did you choose to pursue post-doctoral study via the A*STAR International Fellowship?
Humans use a lot of energy, but increasingly it seems that that energy may come at the expense of our planet. Personally, it is essential for me to know that my science is relatable to everyday life. The increasing energy demand and the overreliance on fossil fuel, which leads to global warming and increasing cost, have to be addressed to have a more sustainable ecosystem. I would like to facilitate the commercialisation of solid-state battery in Singapore. I feel that such solutions could be promising systems to mitigate intermittent energy supplies and facilitate integration of more renewable energy sources into power grids.
The A*STAR International Fellowship provides me the opportunity to get trained by one of the world-renowned professors in the next-generation battery research and allows be to be an independent researcher at the same time.
I collaborate with like-minded researchers and publish high impact work regularly while getting trained. My research topic aligns with the A*STAR’s research focus. It gives me immense pride that I will be able to continue the development in energy storage system when I return to Singapore.
- What have your experiences been like as a scholar?
The A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA) offered support during every step of my research journey as an A*STAR scholar. Amid COVID-19 challenges, the team was forthcoming in providing clarifications, updates, and opportunities to collaborate.
My research group works with several multi-national companies, addressing some of the practical research gaps to realise all-solid-state batteries. I get to interact with many brilliant researchers who are working on these projects. Overtime, I have built a strong international network and continue to exchange ideas to advance such technology in a rapid manner. These meaningful experiences and valuable guidance from my professor allows me to grow personally and professionally.
Outside laboratory and work, I hang out with my peers to celebrate major milestones. Overall, it has been a pleasant and fruitful opportunity to be able to work overseas.
- What has been your favourite aspect of this scholarship?
To be able to stay connected with the diverse A*STAR network through regular email updates and interactions with my reporting officer in the research institution. Such connections will ease the transition from my post-doctorate training to deployment.
- What are your career aspirations?
I would like to facilitate the commercialisation of solid-state battery in Singapore. I strongly believe that it is necessary to replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid-state electrolyte to improve the safety of the battery. Development in solid-state battery is still on-going and there are several promising systems that are yet to be commercialised. With the right team and materials, a safe and long-term battery can be created in the near future.
Singapore’s strategic location, strong knowledge-based economy and being one of the world’s leading chemical hubs makes manufacturing of solid-state battery potentially possible.
- What advice would you give to interested candidates with regard to the application process?
If possible, you should work in one of the research institutes in A*STAR to understand the research landscape in Singapore. Prior to the application, you should communicate your interest of applying for A*STAR International Fellowship with your reporting officer or proposed mentor to formulate a research direction that is within the A*STAR roadmap or research focus.
Also, you should be very familiar with your proposed research and come well-prepared for your interviews. If everything goes well, welcome to the A*STAR family!
- When you’re not actively researching, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
I love to travel around the world and immerse myself in their local food, music, and culture. While travelling, I enjoy socialising with people of different backgrounds and profession to better understand their communities and the needs in our society. Also, I take pleasure in gathering with my family and friends to have a good meal or activity together. I hope to catch up on such gatherings again soon when the pandemic restrictions are lifted. So, I am relying on 3-5 km run on a regular basis to keep myself away from technology and maintain my mental wellness.