From Scholarship to Industry Impact: Andrew's Journey with A*STAR
A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (AGS)

In the vast landscape of the semiconductor industry, Andrew saw beyond the horizon. His journey from a private sector role to making significant industry strides with A*STAR is nothing short of inspiring.

Working in the private sector, Andrew recognised the limitations of his role. Driven to make a mark in the semiconductor industry beyond the scope of tackling problems, Andrew realised that many of the technologies that were being developed that could and should be utilised by other companies and industries. 

In search of further opportunities, Andrew discovered A*STAR's diverse research initiatives housed across 20 Research Institutes (RIs) and culture of open innovation and collaboration across disciplines. He was pleased to find that there was scope within A*STAR to be involved in the commercialisation of his scientific research and work with partners on how to scale it up for the mass market. This might involve colleagues in the robotics or high-performance computing sectors.

After exploring, Andrew chose to apply and was awarded the A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (AGS) after his PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Upon graduation, he was posted to IMRE, where after working for five years, A*STAR funded him for an MBA at NTU. 

Andrew knew he could contribute more for societal benefit and economic impact if he could understand the non-engineering considerations of an organisation, Because

no matter how good the solution is, if it is not economically feasible, it cannot be adopted by industry.

In one of his recent projects, he developed a one-step one-man process (instead of the current two-step two-men process) to detect defects under airplane surfaces, creating huge savings cost-wise and manpower-wise. In fact, the industry liked his invention so much, ST Engineering conferred on him the ST Engineering Distinguished Professor. This is an award for researchers who can effectively translate their research into industry-ready solutions and help make technology work for businesses. This has always been Andrew’s end goal for his research: to help local companies become more competitive and more productive through better application of technology.

Currently, as Division Director at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Andrew leads a team of 80 scientists working on a wide range of technologies to sort plastic waste. As an associate faculty member at the Singapore Institute of Technology, he is actively involved in developing manpower. He also helps to build industry-wide standards, to keep the industry up to date, effective and efficient.

Andrew continues to seek out how he can better contribute to industry. For example, facade inspection of outdoor surfaces of the building is tedious. It requires sending inspectors onto gondolas up the sides of buildings. As buildings get taller and more complex in shape, such processes are increasingly difficult and dangerous. While one solution is to use drones, Andrew spotted another fundamental gap- the lack of inspection standards. So, Andrew volunteered himself. He drew on his earlier industry experience with the aerospace industry, where protocols must be followed strictly. Thanks to Andrew and his team, Singapore will have a set of façade inspection guidelines very soon, an important addition to the nation as good safety standards of our buildings keeps all of us safe.

Andrew's journey from an A*STAR scholar to an industry game-changer underscores the potential one can unleash when passion meets opportunity. With A*STAR's backing, he's not only elevated his career but has made significant strides in advancing industry standards.

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