Tech And Materials Science Come To The Fore At Singapore’s 2023 President’s Science And Technology Awards

Two of Singapore’s top scientists and three rising stars were honored at the 2023 President’s Science and Technology Award Ceremony for their scientific, technological and economic contributions to Singapore.

AsianScientist (Oct. 24, 2023) – Singapore has honored two scientists at the prestigious 2023 President’s Science and Technology Awards (PSTA). The awardees were recognized for their leadership and contributions to Singapore’s science and technology ecosystem. The winners received their awards from President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on October 20, 2023 at the official residence and office of the president of Singapore.

The PSTA are the country’s top honors for research scientists and engineers in Singapore. They were launched in 1987 as the National Science and Technology Awards and are currently made up of three awards—the President’s Science and Technology Medal (PSTM), the President’s Science Award (PSA) and the President’s Technology Award (PTA). This year, President Shanmugaratnam presented the PSTM and PSA.

The PSTM was awarded to Mr Quek Gim Pew—a pioneer in Singapore’s science and tech ecosystem. He is recognized for his outstanding contributions in shaping Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) space.

Over the course of his career, he was instrumental in developing local capabilities in space technology, quantum engineering, artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing. He was also a champion of STEM-related initiatives dedicated to nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Mr Quek is also an advocate for collaboration and fostered partnerships with local and international entities, enabling collective quantum research endeavors. His work accelerated the growth of Singapore’s quantum capabilities and solidified the nation’s reputation as a globally recognized hub for quantum research. He is currently the Senior R&D consultant of Singapore’s Ministry of Defense and sits on various boards of agencies, organizations and Institutes of Higher Learning.

The PSA was awarded to Dr Qiu Cheng-Wei for his contributions to the field of topological thermal diffusion and radiation. Dr Qiu is an Associate Professor and the Dean’s Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) College of Design and Engineering.

His research has paved the way for ground-breaking techniques to contain and dissipate heat. His recent breakthrough in material science can enhance thermal conduction better than silver and gold—potentially cooling a room down without using any power.

The ceremony also saw three rising stars in Singapore’s research landscape awarded the Young Scientist Awards (YSA). The YSA are awarded to researchers aged 35 years and below who are actively engaged in R&D in Singapore. The award is administered by the Singapore National Academy of Science and supported by the National Research Foundation.

Dr Chang Guoqing from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was recognized for his work uncovering quantum potential among natural materials. He harnesses advanced mathematical and computation methods to predict and discover hidden quantum behaviors in these materials.

Meanwhile, under the biological and biomendical sciences category, Dr Tan Yong Zi from NUS was awarded for pioneering new techniques in cryogenic electron microscopy to improve the drug development process. His work can help the medical community identify new targets for drug development.

On the tech front, Dr Soujanya Poria from the Singapore University of Technology and Design was recognized for his work developing conversational AI models that are equipped with multimodal reasoning abilities. Dr Soujanya and his team combined text, audio and video data from human interactions to develop AI systems capable of understanding human intentions and emotions.

Source: The President’s Science and Technology Awards, NRF ; Images: NRF
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