Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 02/18/2013 04:16 | By Channel NewsAsia

Investment in research encourages young scientists to return to S’pore

Investment in research encourages young scientists to return to S’pore

Investment in research encourages young scientists to return to S’pore

SINGAPORE: Singapore has committed more resources toward research, innovation, and enterprise.

It recently hosted the inaugural Global Young Scientists Summit, which brought many bright sparks of the international scientific community together.

Several young researchers came back to Singapore to further their research, even though they hold qualifications from prestigious universities overseas.

Ng Hui Khoon, who has a PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology, said: "At the same time when I was looking for a post—doctoral position, the Centre for Quantum Technologies was just being set up in Singapore as well. So this was a very good opportunity for me. They were hiring people, they were having this huge research lab that was getting a lot of prominence in the world. So this in itself was actually a very attractive thing for me."

Graduate student Reuben Ng is studying ageing and public health at Yale University’s School of Public Health. He hopes his work can help Singaporeans age positively.

He said his area of study is focused on helping older people prepare for retirement psychologically because that has been associated with longer life and better health.

"Because most of the time we focus on physical variables on old people and I think it’s equally important to look at mental health and psychological variables," he said.

"We’re doing this thing known as non—invasive intervention, for longer lives and healthier lives, so it’s not just having an injection, or eating a pill but how you can change your mental health, how you can change your mindset so that it could lead to longer and healthier lives at a lower cost."

Mr Ng added: "I think in Singapore, we are facing an ageing population so I want to come back and contribute that way. I think first of all, most of my research has been based in the US and I want to come back and do studies so that we can have an evidence base so we know what we can do to make a difference to older people here in Singapore. Building the evidence base provides a bedrock on which policy decisions or programme decisions can be made on."

Biomedical researcher Khoo Xiaojuan hopes to inspire a new generation of scientists by joining the teaching faculty at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

She said: "What Singapore has to do is to organise, maybe invite people from different aspects of academia. So not just from the universities or research institutes, but those doing other things in the biomedical, pharmaceutical industry — people who are doing teaching, or have set up their own companies, and invite them to come back to talk about their experience."

Ms Khoo said this will go some way in changing mindsets that science is boring.

— CNA/xq

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