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2009-12-04 -

“To transform Singapore into a knowledge-intensive
economy, we have to build up our capabilities,
enhance our competencies in existing technologies,
and seek out promising new areas…and raise
Singapore’s profile as a vibrant centre for R&D and
technological applications.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
at the 2nd Research Innovation and Enterprise Council meeting, 16th March 2007
Research City for Global Solutions
Join the global
research faculty
Nowhere in the world will you find a more rewarding and supportive environment to do research than in
Singapore. Innovation is key to the city-state’s economy and so the government is building the infrastructure
for scientific exploration at an incredible pace and encouraging breakthrough discoveries with generous
funds. Scientists and engineers from around the globe – including top minds from Harvard and Oxford
are working alongside each other in challenging interdisciplinary research environments to discover global
solutions to the world’s thorniest problems. Already, Singapore is amongst the world’s most prolific research
locations per capita.
Top 5 reasons why Singapore is the global hotspot for research work.
1. Public Funding
With a budget of SGD13.5billion, Singapore tops the world in spending on science and technology. By 2010,
it aims to spend 3% of GDP on science; that is more than major research cities like Britain and the United
2. Science Infrastructure
The infrastructure for scientific discovery is extensive and cutting edge; from purpose-built research
complexes like Biopolis, for biomedical sciences research, to well-funded Research Centres of Excellence
located within university campuses. The newest is the physical sciences laboratory complex, Fusionopolis,
that features an anechoic chamber and facilities for nanofabrication, supercomputing, characterisation
and test-bedding.
3. Scientific Community
The world’s top scientists and engineers are leading Singapore’s public research institutes, and they are
spearheading exciting interdisciplinary research not possible elsewhere. The size of this cosmopolitan
scientific community is expected to reach 10,000 by 2010.
4. Industry partnerships
The world’s biggest pharmaceutical and technology companies have state-of-the-art operations in
Singapore. At Fusionopolis, corporate laboratories occupy 60% of the floor space and many public-private
sector collaborations are giving scientists incredible opportunities to translate discoveries into commercial
5. Good quality control and patent protection
Singapore’s highly educated and skilled workforce, combined with a transparent government and respect
for intellectual property rights has made it a secure place for scientific innovation.
“Singapore is
a great
place to live
and work.”
02 I 03
Research City for Global Solutions
Dr. Tara Huber
Senior Research Scientist
Genome Institute of Singapore
Having lived and worked in New York City and Boston in the United States,
Dr. Tara Huber chose to return to her native Singapore when she felt the time
was ripe to start her own research group. The world-class scientific environment
that has attracted a critical mass of scientists from all over the world impressed
“Singapore is no longer just a stop en route to somewhere else,” she noted.
“Researchers are making visits to institutes and conferences here. In a global
enterprise like science, this is very important.”
In May 2007, Dr. Huber joined the Genome Institute of Singapore. She credits the
institute for the �great funding and intellectual support’, which has helped her
set up her research group �with the best conditions’. She also welcomed the collaborative culture at the
“There are a number of scientists in my field of stem cell research in Singapore,” she explained, “so I can
discuss ideas and possibly collaborate with them”.
Dr. Huber applauds the proactive approach that Singapore is taking to build a scientific environment,
noting that the scientific community is backed by public sector resources.
“A*STAR has been promoting cross council interactions between the biomedical and engineering institutes
and this can lead, for example, to applications of novel technology to address biological questions,” she
said, referring to the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore’s lead agency for public
sector science and technology.
Returning to live in Singapore required very little adjustment, and she especially appreciated starting her
new position with the support of her family here.
“Singapore is such an easy city to live in,” she professes. “And having grown up in this environment, and
seeing it again as an adult, I appreciate the exposure to multiple cultures here.”
Lifestyle wise, she is delighted that Singapore now has many more cultural events and venues, as well as
a wider diversity of entertaining and dining options, like fine dining restaurants in stand-alone locations
and a bustling scene along Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
“The Singapore River scene has experienced the most dramatic transformation since I left Singapore for
college,“ she said. “I bring visitors to dine here as well as to show them part of the history.”
It is clear this returned Singaporean has enjoyed a positive homecoming.
“Singapore is a great place to live and work,” Dr. Huber concluded. “Scientifically, you have the ability
to flourish here.”
l commitment
“There is
s and a positive
to the pro
04 I 05
Research City for Global Solutions
Prof. Paul Sharratt
Principal Scientist
Programme Manager, Process Science and Modelling Group
Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences
Prof. Paul Sharratt has been here for barely a year and his new pilot laboratory
is almost ready to begin operations. Meanwhile his research work, which has
a significant modelling component, is already in full swing. He is impressed by
the speed and more so, the rapid availability of public sector funding for good
research ideas.
“It’s a real pleasure to have some discretionary funding, and to feel that I’m
trusted to use it wisely, “ he said. “This effective administration, effective decision
making, all let me move things forward faster, and better.”
At the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), Prof. Sharratt is a
principal scientist and the programme manager of the Process Science and
Modelling group. His interest is in how inter-disciplinary science can be applied to develop better products
and processes.
This is an area vital for economic growth and to meet societal needs, he feels, but suffers declining interest
in the west. Singapore attracted him because he saw a strong alignment between his research interests
and the areas that ICES covers.
“There is more national commitment to the process industries and a positive atmosphere for research,” he
noted. Researchers here are less likely to have to deal with what he calls �the dead weight of history and
resistance to change’.
Singapore recognises that its economic sustainability depends on scientific innovation; that national
commitment has led to a growing and vibrant research community closely plugged in with trade and
industry. Researchers like Prof. Sharratt have the advantage of short lines of communication within the
research institutes, with the Economic Development Board and other government agencies and with
So far, he has found it easy to slip into life in Singapore, and jokes about learning to speak �Singlish’, a
colloquial form of English, which takes references from Mandarin, Malay and several local Chinese
When asked what the best perk of living here is, he is quick to reply.
“Great food… but only just the best perk, the list is long.”
That includes a very sporty lifestyle–scuba diving, swimming and cycling–and an active social calendar,
when his work allows. He dines out regularly with friends, exploring the ever-evolving fine dining scene in
the city.
It is not just his research work but also his life that is getting into the swing of Singapore, and it is no surprise
that Prof. Sharratt has no plans to leave.
An exceptional
training opportunity
There are four key players in the research scene: the National Research Foundation, the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research, the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological
University. Under each are several ambitious public research institutes that offer stimulating research
positions under world-renowned mentors.
National Research Foundation (NRF)
Tasked with leading Singapore’s R&D development, the NRF has a fund of SGD$5billion to support
development of strategic research areas. This includes Biomedical Sciences - Translational and Clinical
Research, Environmental and Water Technologies and Digital Media.
PhD and post-doctoral study in these strategic areas can be pursued at four specialist Research Centres
of Excellence (RCE) located at Singapore’s top universities. The NRF also offers several support schemes
for fledging researchers.
06 I 07
Research City for Global Solutions
Research Centres Of Excellence
Cancer Science Institute Singapore
The Cancer Science Institute SingaporeВ (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) adopts
a multifaceted and coordinated approach to cancer research, extending from basic cancer studies all
the way to experimental therapeutics.В The vision is to make the CSI SingaporeВ one of the top cancer
research centres in the world, with highly interrelated programmes leading to an integrated approach
to better understand and treat cancer. В The CSI SingaporeВ isВ led by Professor Daniel Tenen fromВ Harvard
Medical School.Professor Tenen is a leader in the field of transcriptional regulation,В hematopoiesis and
Prof. Daniel Tenen
Harvard Medical School
Earth Observatory of Singapore
The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), a Research Centre of Excellence (RCE) at the Nanyang
Technological University (NTU), aims to be a pre-eminent world institution for understanding and addressing
several of civilisation’s most serious environmental threats.  The EOS is led by Professor Kerry Sieh, a Professor of Geology in Caltech (California Institute of Technology)
and chaired professor in Caltech’s Tectonics Observatory.
Prof. Kerry Sieh
Research Centres of Excellence
Centre for Quantum Technology
The Centre for Quantum TechnologyВ (CQT)В was the first RCEВ approved under the Research Centres
of ExcellenceВ programme. Hosted in NUS, it conducts interdisciplinary theoretical and experimental
research to develop quantum technologies for the coherent control of individual photons and atoms
and explore the theoretical and practical possibilities of constructing quantum devices for cryptography
and computation.
Headed by Professor Artur Ekert (Professor of Quantum Physics, University of Oxford), the RCE in Quantum
Technologies aims to establish itself as one of the world’s top ten centres in quantum technology.
Prof. Artur Ekert
Mechanobiology RCE
The Mechanobiology RCE at the National University of Singapore (NUS) aims to develop a new paradigm
of biomedical research by focusing on the quantitative and systematic understanding of dynamic
functional processes.В The Mechanobiology RCE is led by Professor Michael Sheetz, professor from the Department of Biological
Sciences at Columbia University.
Prof. Michael Sheetz
08 I 09
Research City for Global Solutions
Not just a concrete
jungle, Singapore is
also a garden city. The
country is dotted with
parks and greenery all
around, providing its
residents a welcome
respite from city life.
Biopolis is the purposebuilt nucleus of biomedical
research in Singapore, and
paradise to many scientists
and researchers. Its integrated
futuristic architecture offers
up opportunities for crossexchange of ideas and
fostering of collaboration.
10 I 11
Research City for Global Solutions
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
This is the lead agency for Singapore’s science and technology growth and talent development. A*STAR
directs high-level niche research in areas essential to Singapore’s manufacturing industries and new
growth industries. Rigorous training can be expected at these world-class institutes under A*STAR’s
Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) and Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC).
Biomedical Research Council (BMRC)
A*STAR’s BMRC supports, oversees and coordinates public sector biomedical research and
development activities in Singapore. It works closely with the Ministry of Health and the Economic
Development Board in spearheading the nation’s Biomedical Sciences Initiative. BMRC oversees
seven research institutes and four other research units that focus on both basic as well as
translational and clinical research to support the key industry clusters in Biomedical Sciences.
Having established a strong foundation in basic biomedical research capabilities, there is now an
added focus on translating new knowledge and technologies created at the “benches” into new
clinical applications for diagnosis and treatment that can one day be delivered at the “bedsides”
of hospitals and disease centres.
Research Institutes
Bioinformatics Institute (BII)
Focuses on theoretical approaches aimed at understanding biomolecular mechanisms, the development
of computational methods to support this discovery process, and experimental verification of predicted
molecular and cellular functions of genes.
Dr Frank Eisenhaber
Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI)
Specialises in the generation of novel cell lines and biomolecules; optimisation of therapeutics production
in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems; expansion and characterisation of stem cells; product recovery,
purification and analysis; and profiling of processes using “-omics” tools.
Professor Miranda Yap
Executive Director
Research Institutes
Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS)
Investigates diverse biological and biomedical problems, including cancer, infectious diseases, stem
cells and development, with an emphasis on insights gleamed from genomic sequences and from
technologies that probe gene regulation and its control.
Dr Edison Liu
Executive Director
Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (IBN)
Conducts interdisciplinary research that brings together science, engineering and medicine in key
areas such as drug and gene delivery, cell and tissue engineering, biosensors and biodevices, and
pharmaceuticals synthesis and nanobiotechnology.
Professor Jackie Y. Ying
Executive Director
Institute of Medical Biology (IMB)
Focuses on increasing the efficiency of the translational process, primarily to bridge gaps between clinical
and basic science, particularly in aspects of human disease.
Professor E. Birgitte Lane
Executive Director
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB)
Focuses on six major fields: Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Infectious Diseases,
Structural Biology and Translational Research.
Professor Neal Copeland
Executive Director
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
Focuses on clinical applications; the use of innovative approaches and technologies that enable the
study of human health and disease, especially in infectious diseases, metabolic diseases
and cognitive development.
Professor Judith Swain
Executive Director
12 I 13
Research City for Global Solutions
Research Consortia and Centres
Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC)
Focuses on translational R&D and creates value for Singapore through the development of preclinical
drug candidates and innovative diagnostic tools; as well as making available preclinical drug discovery
technology platforms to the community. Projects are derived through collaborations with strong partners
from the academia and industry.
Dr Alex Matter
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC)
Four technology platforms of optical imaging, image processing and management, small animal imaging
with magnetic resonance and development of chemical and biological probes are used to support
research in cancer, metabolic medicine and regenerative medicine.
Professor Sir George Radda
Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)
With a focus on the areas of Infection, Inflammation and Immunoregulation, immune responses in diseasespecific contexts under physiological and pathological conditions are studied, so as to build up a strong
platform in basic human immunology research for better translation into clinical applications.
Professor Philippe Kourilsky
Singapore Stem Cell Consortium (SSCC)
Focuses on establishing a coordinated translational research and development programme in stem
cells. Interest in using stem cells to create models of mammalian development and disease states, as
well as providing cellular assays for the identification of novel signaling molecules pathways and the
development of new drugs.
Dr Alan Colman
Executive Director
Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC)
A*STAR’s SERC promotes public sector research and development (R&D) in science and
engineering in a wide range of fields including communications, data storage, materials, chemicals,
computational sciences, microelectronics, process manufacturing and metrology. SERC manages
eight research institutes with core competencies in these fields to tackle global technological
challenges and create future industries from its headquarters at Fusionopolis, Singapore’s iconic
hub for science and engineering research.
Data Storage Institute (DSI)
Spearheading world-class R&D in next generation data storage technologies, DSI is positioned to lead
and support the growth of the data storage industry in Singapore. With core competencies in network
storage, non-volatile memory and high-density magnetic recording technologies, DSI is equipped with
the state-of the-art facilities for advanced R&D as well as system design and prototyping.
Professor Chong Tow Chong
Executive Director
Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R)
I2R seeks to be the globally preferred source of innovations in �Interactive Secured Information, Content
and Services Anytime Anywhere’ through research by passionate people dedicated to Singapore’s
economic success. I2R performs R&D in information, communications and media (ICM) technologies to
develop holistic solutions across the ICM value chain.
I2R is managed by an Executive Committee comprising the
EDs of DSI, IHPC, IMRE and the Dy Executive Director of I2R.
Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences (ICES)
ICES spearheads R&D in Singapore’s fast expanding chemical industry. ICES’ research programmes
cover chemistry and chemical engineering sciences, combined with analytical characterisation and
measurement to develop advanced technology for the petrochemical, general chemical, fine chemical
and pharmaceutical industries.
Dr Keith Carpenter
Executive Director
Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)
IHPC spearheads the use of advanced computational techniques to develop models for analysis and
solutions for complex engineering and scientific problems. It provides one-stop computational solutions
in the areas of advanced computing, large-scale complex systems, computational
materials science and engineering as well as computational electronics and
Dr Raj Thampuran
Executive Director
14 I 15
Research City for Global Solutions
Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
IMRE is committed to high-quality, extensive materials research and development for enabling technology
platforms which support growth of new industry capabilities. IMRE is an institute of talented researchers,
equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the SERC Nanofabrication and Characterisation Facility to
conduct world-class materials science research. Leveraging these capabilities, several R&D programmes
have been established, including research on organic solar cells, nanocomposites, flexible organic lightemitting diodes (OLEDs), solid-state lighting, nanoimprinting, microfluidics and next generation atomic
scale interconnect technology.
Dr Lim Khiang Wee
Executive Director
Institute of Microelectronics (IME)
IME aims to add value to Singapore’s semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies,
innovative technologies and intellectual property; enabling enterprises to be technologically competitive;
and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry.
Prof Kwong Dim-Lee
Executive Director
National Meteorology Centre (NMC)
NMC is Singapore’s national metrology institute responsible for developing, maintaining and disseminating
national physical measurement standards to underpin the nation’s infrastructure of traceability for
measurement to the International System of Units (SI).
Steven Tan
Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech)
SIMTech develops high value manufacturing technology and human capital to enhance the
competitiveness of Singapore’s manufacturing industry. It collaborates with multinational and local
companies in the electronics, semiconductor, precision engineering, aerospace, automotive, marine,
medtech, logistics and other sectors.
Dr Lim Ser Yong
Executive Director
“Singapore is
a great plac
e; not only d
have an exc
o we
ellent enviro
nment to do
we are also
lly well conn
16 I 17
Research City for Global Solutions
Dr. Susanto Rahardja
Programme Director, Personal 3D Entertainment Systems
Head, Signal Processing Department
Institute for Infocomm Research
Dr. Susanto Rahardja, 41, came to Singapore at the tender age of 13 because
his father wanted him to learn Mandarin. That was a tall order considering
that he had grown up in Jakarta, Indonesia, speaking only Bahasa Indonesia
and could barely string a sentence in English to begin with. Since then, he has
made leaps and bounds, not just in English and Mandarin proficiency but also
for Singapore, in the field of science and engineering.
From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Rahardja led a team to develop Advanced Audio Zip
(AAZ), the world’s first scalable to lossless audio compression codec. With this
codec, music can be delivered with any fidelity. He is even more proud to say
that the codec is based entirely on made-in-Singapore technology and has
been adopted as an ISO standard. The groundbreaking codec has garnered
several international patents, publications in a string of prestigious international journals and a National
Technology Award.
“All this is possible because I have received very strong support from A*STAR management,” he said.
“They are very open to investing in some high-risk high-gain initiatives in order to achieve significance and
distinctiveness at the international arena.”
He emphasised that the state-of-the-art research facilities, sufficient public sector support and an
environment conducive to research are sources of Singapore’s competitive edge in research.
In the last ten years, he has seen the living environment in Singapore improve tremendously, citing areas
like healthcare, education, infrastructure and entertainment choices.
“Very good infrastructure, convenient and safe, high level of hygiene, politically stable and great food,”
he said, rattling off a list of pluses.
Dr. Rahardja is clearly settled in Singapore for the long term. He has taken up permanent residence and
owns his home where he lives with his wife and three children, aged 13, 11 and 7. They were all born in
The best perk, he quipped, with a chuckle, is “Singaporeans from all walks of life are generally very
efficient. From working to entertainment, one can accomplish more within a shorter period.”
He is adamant that only researchers passionate about their work need apply in Singapore.
“Singapore is a great place; not only do we have an excellent environment to do research, we are also
internationally well connected,” he said with only a hint of pride.
place. Food is
green, cle
y and people
“Singapore is a
re is of ve
the office.”
safe, healthca
th in
are friendly, bo
18 I 19
Research City for Global Solutions
Dr. George Mihai Gavaza
Senior Research Engineer
Institute of High Performance Computing
As a young Romanian scientist, Dr. George Mihai Gavaza is gratified to have
found the right fit in Singapore, in a research area that he is passionate in. This
was the main attraction for moving to Singapore.
“It allows me to expand my competences and grow as a research scientist
in the direction I like,” he explained. “And I like the freedom that Singapore
The second big draw is the popular support and interest in science and scientific
research in Singapore. As he sees it, this �translates into a lot of resources
available for research’. For the republic’s growing numbers of researchers it is
very encouraging.
“This means there is a large potential for any scientific and technological advances to be transposed in
industry and everyday life,” he enthused.
At the Institute of High Performance Computing, Dr. Gavaza is working on atomic-scale simulations of
semiconductor doping processes. Doping is a controlled way of changing the physical properties of a
material for different uses. Dr. Gavaza uses computer simulations to investigate the conditions required to
obtain a specific material by doping, instead of �live’ experiments, which is costly and usually takes years.
To date, this is the first attempt to simulate the kinetics of a doping process.
So excited is the 32-year-old about the potential for scientific research in Singapore that Dr. Gavaza has
recommended the city and his research institute to several friends and colleagues. A few have already
transplanted themselves to work and live here.
Of course, the living environment is also a big consideration, especially now when he and his wife have
just become the proud and smitten parents of a baby boy.
“Singapore is a green, clean and safe place. Food is safe, healthcare is of very good quality and people
are friendly, both in and outside the office,” he noted.
The couple has plans for their son to study at a public school; confident of the high standard of education
he will receive.
“In our view, the competitive atmosphere there and the multicultural environment will benefit him and
get him ready for life.”
Having lived in France and Hong Kong, the couple now has firm plans for at least a twenty-year stay in
Singapore, their newly adopted home.
“Job is good, healthcare is good and education is good. Staying here is good for us and for the baby,”
he declared, with the typical scientist’s air of optimism.
National University of Singapore (NUS)
NUS is Singapore’s flagship university – and a top ranked global tertiary institution – that is home to a thriving
academic and research community. The school is known for its supportive and innovative campus environment
championed by a highly qualified, international teaching faculty. Its research strengths are in engineering, life
sciences and biomedicine, social sciences and natural sciences. Graduate students will benefit from a dynamic
research culture that prizes excellence and creative enterprise.
Over the years, NUS has built its reputation on a global approach to education and research with a focus on
Asian perspectives and expertise. Students are exposed to a broad range of intellectual stimuli, and through a
host of campus initiatives, they are encouraged to adopt a multidisciplinary outlook and global vision.
Nanyang Technological University
Globally recognised for its strengths in science and engineering, NTU is a research-intensive university with
groundbreaking track record in the fields of advanced materials, biomedical engineering, clean energy
and environment, computational biology, intelligent systems, nanotechnology and wireless and broadband
communication. Expert research oversight comes from a panel of several Nobel laureates at its Institute of
Advanced Studies.
The university’s research hub, the Research Technoplaza, boasts four interdisciplinary research corridors and 10
research centres. Research is carried out at all its colleges and at all levels.
Top scholars and international Olympiad medalists from the region make up the multi-cultural student body.
A multinational teaching and research staff leads and innovates a challenging education curriculum that is
enriched by international perspectives and solid industry experience.
20 I 21
Research City for Global Solutions
Grants and Job
Take a look at these schemes that are open to promising
young researchers in the fields of biomedical sciences
or physical sciences and engineering.
Undergraduate and Graduate students
A*STAR National Science Scholarships (PhD)
This scholarship funds five years of PhD studies at a top
overseas university after completion of 1-year of paid
attachment with an A*STAR research institute.
Post-doctoral students and fellows
A*STAR International Fellowship
Final year PhD graduates who want to expand their
research experience and international exposure can
apply for this two-year post-doctoral fellowship at top
overseas laboratories.
To be eligible, you need to be a Singaporean,
Singapore Permanent Resident or ASEAN national,
or be willing to take up Singaporean citizenship and
complete a one-year paid attachment at an A*STAR
institute before starting your post-doctoral training.
You must possess excellent publication records and
good references from your supervisors.
Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) Post-doctoral Fellowship
You are eligible if you are a Singaporean, Singapore
Permanent Resident or ASEAN national with a first
degree in a relevant discipline and first class honours,
or its equivalent. You should also have gained or
are in the process of gaining admission into a PhD
programme at a top overseas university.
This is a three-year fellowship at NTU and NUS to be held
concurrently with a staff research position at one of its
schools. Research areas include biological sciences,
communications, computing, civil and environmental
engineering and physical sciences.
Singapore International Graduate Award
Open to all nationalities, you should be a recent PhD
graduate with outstanding academic records and
research potential.
This award covers four years of PhD research, in English,
at the candidate’s choice of laboratory at A*STAR
research institutes, NUS or NTU.
NRF Research Fellow Scheme
Open to all international students, you must speak and
write English fluently, have excellent academic results
and good academic reports.
Work Holiday Programme
This three-year fellowship provides grants of up to
USD1.5 million for young scientists to set up a team
and lead independent research at a Singapore
based research organisation. Researchers have full
freedom in setting research directions and choice of
host organisation.
This scheme allows young talents to come experience
the lifestyle in Singapore and discover the career
opportunities available. There is no need to first secure
employment and you can stay and work for up to 6
The scheme is globally competitive and you need
to present a compelling research project proposal,
possess an excellent record of prior post-doctoral work
at a reputable university and demonstrate readiness
for independent research.
You must be between the ages of 17 to 30 and studying
at, or a recent graduate of, a recognised university in
Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New
Zealand, the UK or the US.
Nanyang Assistant Professorships
This appointment at NTU provides start-up research
grants of up to SGD1 million over three years, attractive
remuneration and the prospect of tenure track
positions at the university.
To be eligible, you are expected to be within ten
years of gaining your PhD and ready for independent
leadership of your own research group.
“With lots of
new scientists
arriving here
there would
be new idea
s and mento
22 I 23
Research City for Global Solutions
Dr. David Coomber
Research Scientist
Experimental Therapeutics Centre
A conversation with his old supervisor Professor Sir David Lane sparked off
Dr. David Coomber’s interest in Singapore. Professor Lane, one of the world’s
most respected scientists in cancer research, was setting up a laboratory at the
Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology (IMCB) in Singapore and he asked David
to join him in his research effort.
“It was a great opportunity. The research environment here is well-funded and
well-resourced,” said Dr. Coomber, 40, a molecular biologist who was working
in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “And I would be closer to Australia where
my family is. “
In 2005, he joined ICMB and became part of the emerging international scientific
community in Singapore. The government had launched bold initiatives – cutting edge research facilities,
generous grants and research funds–and was wooing the world’s top scientists to live and work here.
“With lots of new scientists arriving here, there would be new ideas and mentors,” he said.
After completion of his first contract, he joined the Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), a new
organisation that was set up to focus on the commercialisation of science in A*STAR and the training of
young scientists. Dr. Coomber, who specialises in antibody production, is currently working on the isolation
of antibodies that may be used to treat dengue fever.
So far, he has found Singapore an easy place to live but still muses at the national preoccupation with
property prices, food and shopping. That bit of culture shock and getting used to the heat was about
the most challenging part of the transition.
“It wasn’t too difficult when I first arrived because Singapore is a modern city. In fact, I had moved from
Cambridge in the UK, which was much smaller, so it felt good to be back in a city.”
The best perk for him is that Singapore is a few hours away from all the major cities in Asia and has a wellconnected airport. Since moving here, he has visited Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia
and Thailand.
Having settled comfortably in Singapore, Dr. Coomber has bought a pad of his own in Tiong Bahru, a
heritage district of 50s-era low-rise apartment blocks.
“Tiong Bahru is interesting because it still has that �village-like’ feel. And, it is well known around the island
for having good local food,” he chuckled. “My family have visited, and they love where I live.”
So must he; he has permanent residency and an apartment he owns.
ich makes
ble e
“It is an invalua
helps you
st mo
you as a scienti
own nose.”
to look
24 I 25
Research City for Global Solutions
Dr. Dirk Baumann
Research Engineer
Institute of High Performance Computing
An international community of researchers and a multi-disciplinary environment
were the top two aspects that caught Dr. Dirk Baumann’s attention about
Singapore as a research destination.
“A*STAR is blessed with international staff from all over the world, which is very
interesting and rewarding,” he said, referring to Singapore’s top public sector
research organisation, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
When Dr. Baumann, 34, received an offer to work at A*STAR’s Institute of High
Performance Computing (IHPC), he was excited to accept. Originally from
Germany, he had finished his PhD at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and was ready for
new challenges.
Unlike other research facilities around the world, IHPC is purpose-built so that researchers with different
and diverse scientific backgrounds – be it chemistry, physics, mathematics, material science, mechanical
engineering or electromagnetics – work in proximity, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary
“Such a vast versatility is very exciting in a research environment,” he said. Scientists are encouraged to
cut across conventional boundaries and receive public sector support to collaborate on complex multidisciplinary real world problems.
For now, Dr. Baumann is working on the development of new numerical algorithms for computational
electromagnetics, in particular with the aim of investigating wireless body area networks for remote health
So far, working in Singapore has exposed him to Asian perspectives, and he still finds the differences with
Western culture very fascinating. For one, problems are not tackled the same way as they are in Western
culture, so he has learned to see things from a different point of view.
“It is an invaluable experience, which makes you as a scientist more flexible and helps you to look beyond
your own nose,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek.
Dr. Baumann has enjoyed living in Singapore from day one. After two and a half years, he is still amazed
that the face of the city is always changing. The only constants: the living environment is extremely
comfortable, the people are friendly and the food is good. His personal time is consumed with an
adrenaline sport – dragonboating, and he admits to being a dragonboat �junkie’.
�I train several times a week, including weekends!” he said quite seriously. “Dragonboating is quite tough
and a very good balance for everyday life.”
It is an attitude not unexpected in a spirited young scientist. So too is his advice for other researchers
interested to come to Singapore.
“Don’t think twice. Just jump in at the deep end!”
Here in
yourself in a truly
26 I 27
Want to experience Singapore for yourself? Come visit!
Contact Singapore runs the [email protected]: Research programme which grants undergraduate
and graduate students exposure to Singapore as a talent destination for research. The programme will
begin with a week long study visit programme to orientate students to various aspects of Singapore life,
followed by an internship project where students will get the opportunity to work alongside top researchers
at one of A*STAR’s renowned research institutes.
For more information, please log on to[email protected]_research
The draw of Singapore
They had never set foot in Asia but they did not hesitate to accept an internship in Singapore: the country’s solid
reputation assured them of a good deal. All eight of them were students from Germany, with biotechnology
or engineering backgrounds and had come in April under Contact Singapore’s (CS) six-month [email protected]
Singapore Immersion Programme.
Said 23-year-old Nora Hennies, a Molecular Bioscience
Masters student from University of Heidelberg, “My
professor informed me that Singapore was investing
heavily in and promoting the healthcare sector and
there are many opportunities to engage in research
work. As Singapore is one of the most developed cities
in Asia, and its medical technology is so advanced, it
would be great if I could learn from the professionals
Her sentiments were echoed by Astrid Eva Constanze
Bollweber, a 24-year-old student from University of
Wuerzburg, who said, “I heard that many of the top
international pharmaceutical companies have set up
facilities in Singapore. This country is definitely rising in its
status as a research hub.”
Eight interns from Germany here on
[email protected]: Research in April 2009
After a short induction that included meeting researchers from leading pharmaceutical and engineering
firms as well as visiting local tourist spots, they were posted to the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium and the
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology respectively. The rest went to other research institutes under A*STAR, an
agency that promotes, supports and oversees the public sector R&D research activities in Singapore.
“This internship allows foreign students to work alongside top international scientists in the research field, and
we believe that their contributions during their internship stay would not only enrich their educational journey,
it would also allow them to have a good idea of how it will be like to work in Singapore,” said CS Assistant
Director Patty Woo.
Although it was still early days of their internship, Singapore had made a good impression on them. Electrical
engineering student Daniel Toews found hawker centres and food courts interesting and quaint while Benjamin
Hoffman, who is studying molecular biology at the University of Heidelberg felt safer in Singapore than in
The former, an undergraduate of Aachen University, said, “Singapore is a very developed and advanced
city, and I would definitely love to have a chance to work in a MNC here as I believe it will offer good career
prospects and it is exciting to work in a country that is heavily promoting the engineering sector.”
Contact Singapore runs the [email protected]: Research programme which grants undergraduate and
graduate students exposure to Singapore as a talent destination for research. The programme will begin with
a week long study visit programme to orientate students to various aspects of Singapore life, followed by an
internship project where students will get the opportunity to work alongside top researchers at one of A*STAR’s
renowned research institutes.
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CON09-395_gradUK Mag Ad_FA-p 8/7/09 11:41 AM Page 1
Useful Websites
Contact Singapore
One-stop information centre for those who wish to pursue a rewarding career in Singapore
Contact Singapore Jobs Portal
Economic Development Board
Economic roadmap and growth industries
Agency for Science, Technology & Research
Research areas and opportunities
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
Visa and immigration requirements and information
Ministry of Manpower
Employment pass requirements and manpower related matters
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
Taxation enquiries and related matters
Central Provident Fund
Employer/employee savings fund contribution and related matters
For more information please contact:
[email protected]
India (Mumbai)
[email protected]
[email protected]
North America (Boston)
[email protected]
China (Shanghai)
[email protected]
North America (New York)
[email protected]
China (Beijing)
[email protected]
North America (San Francisco)
[email protected]
Europe (London)
[email protected]
Southeast Asia
[email protected]
India (Chennai)
[email protected]
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