This year, 124 scholars will receive the National Science Scholarships (NSS) or A*STAR Graduate Scholarships (AGS) to pursue their Bachelor and PhD studies at world-class universities and laboratories locally and overseas. This is 35 more than the number last year.
Said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, “I’m delighted that so many young people are passionate about science and want to be part of our mission to transform Singapore into a knowledge-based innovation-driven economy. Scientific talent is critical to Singapore’s growth which is why we are providing the most capable and committed young Singaporeans with the best opportunities to receive world-class education and training through our scholarships and fellowships. When they return to A*STAR after their studies and training, they will join a rich and diverse community of world class scientists who will guide and mentor them to make their own mark in their area of research that will be impactful for Singapore. ”
National Science Scholarship (NSS)
Among the NSS scholars who will receive their scholarship awards for their Bachelor’s degree studies are Gladia Hotan and Evelyn Thangaraj , who are former A*STAR Science Award and Young Research Attachment Programme (YRAP) awardees respectively. The A*STAR Science Awards are given to top Singaporean students while the YRAP is awarded to international students to encourage them to develop their passion in scientific research. The awards provide support for the students’ pre-university education as well as give them adequate exposure to a career in R&D through attachments at A*STAR research institutes and talks by leading scientists.
Nineteen-year-old Gladia Hotan, who will pursue a degree in Physics at the California Institute of Technology, did her research attachment at Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) while on the A*STAR Science Award. She said, “The researchers at BTI impressed me greatly as they were very excited about their research and tackling the problems they were trying to solve. I found then that it is very satisfying to pursue research to solve a problem that you really care about.” Gladia, who is very interested in applied physics, hopes to pursue research in humanoid robotics. A former student of Temasek Junior College, Gladia was the President of the college’s Science Council and a member of the Debating Society.
Said 19-year-old Evelyn Thangaraj who plans to study medicine at Imperial College London, “My association with A*STAR gave me the opportunity to attend an international conference on cancer where I met several A*STAR scientists. This experience made an impact on me and inspired me to pursue a career as a clinical researcher and further my interest in cancer research. This is why I decided to take up the A*STAR scholarship.” Formerly from Anglo-Chinese School (International), Evelyn not only achieved excellent grades but was also heavily involved in volunteer work while in school.
A*STAR International Fellowship (AIF) & A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (AGS)
Twenty-one young PhD graduates will also receive the A*STAR International Fellowships (AIF) or A*STAR Graduate Scholarships (Post Doctoral Fellowship) to pursue post-doctoral training at world-class laboratories overseas. Gan Choon How, 33 years old, who completed his Bachelor and PhD studies at the University of North Carolina, will receive the AIF, which will enable him to have his post-doctoral training at the Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France. He will return to contribute to A*STAR and Singapore after his post-doctoral training.
Said Choon How, “I’m interested in seeking to understand complex problems in physical optics through analytic and intuitive methods. I believe nanotechnology is the way to go for future applications as we are still trying to make our gadgets smaller and to pack information more densely. The post-doctoral fellowship offers me the opportunity to look into this area of research and develop future applications.”
To date, A*STAR has trained and are training a total of 882 scholars and fellows from BSc to PhD levels for scientific research and leadership in Singapore. A total of 150 scholars from the NSS and AGS have completed their PhD studies and have returned to contribute to diverse areas in A*STAR research institutes and in Singapore.
The range of scholarships and fellowships offered by A*STAR will provide plenty of opportunities for scientific talent to pursue their passion in science and realise their potential. These programmes, with their various entry-points, also allow scientific talent to join A*STAR for a career in the R&D sector at different junctures of their lives.