Market Overview

Singapore Honours Four Scientific Talent for Outstanding R&D Contributions with Socio-Economic Impact

Singapore, Oct 31, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - Four outstanding research scientists and engineers will receive the 2012 President's Science and Technology Awards from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a ceremony on 30 October 2012.

The awards are the highest honours in Singapore conferred on exceptional individuals and teams for their excellent achievements in science and technology and their outstanding contributions to the research and development (R&D) landscape in the country.

Advancing Singapore's Semi-Conductor Industry through R&D

The most prestigious of the awards, the President's Science and Technology Medal, will be presented to Professor Dim-Lee Kwong for his distinguished, sustained and exceptional contributions to Singapore's science and engineering landscape.

The executive director of A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has played a strategic role in Singapore's development, especially in the semi-conductor industry, through his promotion and management of microelectronics Research & Development. He was instrumental in attracting Applied Materials Inc. to set up a joint Centre of Excellence in Advanced Packaging in Singapore in 2012. This US$100 million centre will not only tap IME's research capabilities in complex high value manufacturing, but will also create high value jobs for the local population over the next five years, including technical, operations and managerial jobs.

Under Professor Kwong's leadership, IME has fostered partnerships with more than 50 multinational companies ranging from multi-billion dollar Japanese conglomerates to Forbes 500 companies through the innovative and much lauded three-party R&D foundry business model. This model links semi-conductor companies with local foundries that use IME's cutting-edge technologies and expertise. IME first helps semi-conductor companies to conduct prototype small scale pilot runs. When the pilot runs are successful, IME transfers the technologies to the foundries in Singapore which undertake mass production for the semi-conductor companies. This model not only makes it possible for the companies to shorten the product development cycle and bring their products to market quickly, but it also generates new businesses and manufacturing activities for the foundries, which in turn creates employment in and value for Singapore. A case in point is the partnership between Lightwire, Inc., a US-based provider of high-bandwidth interconnects, Globalfoundries and IME to produce Lightwire's ultra-high speed silicon photonic devices.

Professor Kwong has also helped to integrate local and international companies across the semiconductor supply chain by establishing and overseeing key consortium programmes in 3-D Through-Silicon Via (3D TSV), Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) and the Electronic Packaging Research Consortium. These consortia, which collaborate in pre-competitive R&D, are vital first-steps in establishing and catalysing new industry value-chains in Singapore. Together, they generate sufficient critical mass for Singapore to be a launch pad for emerging technologies.

Said Professor Kwong, "I am honoured to receive this prestigious award. This would not have been possible without the commitment and untiring efforts of my team at IME and our partners in industry. My colleagues in IME have worked hard to build up research capabilities for the microelectronics sector. They have constantly pushed the envelope of scientific excellence and have raised the profile of Singapore R&D internationally. I am very gratified to see that the work we do has reaped success and has contributed to the progress of Singapore's industry, particularly the semi-conductor sector".

Groundbreaking Discoveries to combat Deadly Hospital-acquired Infections

The President's Science Award will be presented to Professor Wang Yue from A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). Professor Wang is honoured for his outstanding research on the human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans, which accounts for a sizable percentage of hospital-acquired infections of the blood in the world, with a high mortality rate of up to 45%.

Professor Wang's research was the first in the world to uncover key factors that contribute to the virulence of the fungus. This has opened up new areas of research to better combat infectious diseases as well as pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents. Translated, all these will significantly reduce the number of hospital acquired infections as well as improve the treatment for those afflicted with the infection. Professor Wang's discoveries have also led to collaborations with both the private and public sectors, which will result in economic benefits to Singapore, as well as further Singapore's reputation as the biomedical hub of Asia.

Innovative solutions to achieve a "no scar surgery"

The President's Technology Award will be presented to Associate Professor Louis Phee, research scientist and engineer from Nanyang Technological University, and Professor Lawrence Ho, a clinician from National University Hospital. The duo's groundbreaking research has led to the successful development of the world's first robotic flexible endoscopy system which can carry out surgeries with great precision and still be minimally invasive.

Their invention - the Master and Slave Transluminal Endoscopic Robot (MASTER) - has carried out surgical procedures such as removal of gastric tumours without the need for making external incisions. Successful first-in-man trials conducted in India and Hong Kong have also proven that the use of MASTER results in less pain, faster recovery and no scarring. Professors Phee and Ho have since incorporated Endomaster Pte Ltd, a company to commercialise their innovation, which they claimed was a brainwave that hit them while they were eating chilli crab.

Congratulating the winners, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR said, "The award winners today demonstrated that the R&D community is able to make breakthroughs that impact the economy and society through meaningful complementary and translational partnerships within the community and strategic collaborations with industry."

Said Mrs Ow Foong Pheng, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Chairman of the PSTA Main Selection Committee, "The quality of the candidates was very impressive. Increasingly, we are seeing more recipients who are able not only to do good science but also apply their excellent R&D work to transform the economy and meet real needs of society."

Young Scientist Awards (YSA)

This year's Young Scientists Awards (YSA) will be awarded to three promising research scientists and engineers aged 35 years and below. They have shown great potential to be world-class researchers in their fields of expertise. The awards will be presented by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.


This is the fourth year that the PSTA is presented. Formerly known as the National Science and Technology Awards launched since 1987, the Awards were elevated to the status of the President's awards in 2009 to highlight and give due recognition to the important role research scientists and engineers play in Singapore's development.

For the full release, along with the biographies of the winners PSTA and YSA, please visit

For video footage of Award Ceremony, please see

About the President's Science and Technology Awards (PSTA)

The President's Science and Technology Awards (PSTA) are the highest honours bestowed on exceptional research scientists and engineers in Singapore for their excellent achievements in science and technology, and outstanding contributions to the development of the research and development landscape in Singapore.

The PSTA were formerly known as the National Science and Technology Awards (NSTA), which was started in 1987. The elevation of the award to Presidential status in 2009 underpins Singapore's efforts to raise the level of excellence in R&D and strengthen the growing community of scientific talent in Singapore.

The PSTA consists of the following awards:
- President's Science and Technology Medal (PSTM)
- President's Science Award (PSA)
- President's Technology Award (PTA)

The President's Science and Technology Medal (PSTM)

The President's Science and Technology Medal is awarded to outstanding individuals who have made distinguished, sustained and exceptional contributions and played a strategic role in the development of Singapore through the promotion and management of R&D. Recipients receive a specially designed gold medal and a citation.

The President's Science Award (PSA)

The President's Science Award is presented to research scientists and engineers in Singapore who have made outstanding contributions in basic research leading to the discovery of new knowledge or the pioneering development of scientific or engineering techniques and methods. Recipients will receive a crystal trophy, a citation and a prize of $50,000.

The President's Technology Award (PTA)

The President's Technology Award gives recognition to research scientists and engineers in Singapore who have made outstanding contributions to research & development resulting in the invention or discovery of significant technology with industrial applications. Recipients will receive a crystal trophy, a citation and a prize of $50,000.

About A*STAR

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their immediate vicinity. A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, and with other local and international partners. For more information about A*STAR, please visit .

Source: A*STAR

Ms Evelyn Ho
Deputy Director
Corporate Communications Department
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Tel: +65 6826 6103 (Office) / +65 9682 6922 (Mobile)

Dr. Sarah Chang KC 
Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Tel: +65 6826 6442 (Office) / +65 9762 7818 (Mobile)

Copyright 2012 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

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