- POSTED: 25 Sep 2013 22:42
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The number of research scientists and engineers in Singapore has doubled to 30,000 over the past decade, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran at the 2013 President's Science and Technology Awards ceremony on Wednesday.
SINGAPORE: The number of research scientists and engineers in Singapore has doubled to 30,000 over the past decade, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran at the 2013 President's Science and Technology Awards ceremony on Wednesday.
Three-quarters of them are Singaporeans or permanent residents.
Mr Iswaran said the success of Singapore's research and development efforts is underpinned by the country's world-class research talent pool.
He said: "This attests to the growth of knowledge intensive activities in our economy, which in turn has created exciting research careers in both the public and private sectors."
Eight of Singapore's top research scientists and engineers received awards on Wednesday evening from President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
The awards recognise the achievements and contributions of both individuals and teams to research and development in Singapore.
Of the eight, two were awarded the President's Science and Technology Medal – the highest of such honours.
From a fully biodegradable drug-eluting heart stent to a new anti-glaucoma drug, Deputy President and Provost at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor Freddy Boey’s contributions have earned him this year’s medal.
The new anti-glaucoma drug is currently being tested on five patients in Singapore and could place Singapore on the world medical map again.
The other recipient of the President's Science and Technology Medal is National University of Singapore's (NUS) Professor Barry Halliwell.
Apart from being one of the world's most highly cited researchers in his field -- which includes Biology and Biochemistry, Neuroscience and Behaviour -- he has also built up the research structure in NUS.
Two were also presented with this year's President's Science Award.
One of them is Professor Boris Luk'yanchuk from A*STAR's Data Storage Institute, who has worked on different projects relating to advanced concepts in Data Storage Techniques.
Professor Yu Hao from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore is the other recipient.
He was recognised for his research on the molecular mechanisms underlying plant reproduction; in particular, the process of flowering in plants.
Prof Yu's discoveries have helped to improve crop yield, especially in food production for economically important plants like rice and oil palm.
As for this year's President's Technology Award, it was the team from A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research that impressed the panel the most.
Led by Professor Li Haizhou, the team has developed a suite of speech and language technologies that allow the translation of Asian languages.
Previously, traditional human language technologies were developed using English and other major languages and could not be applied to Asian languages.
One of these technologies is the "Abacus engine", which can identify the accent, dialect, language and identity of a speaker through his or her voice and translate the language to another.
The technology has been accredited by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.
It is a platform that is also deployable by many mobile and internet companies for various uses.
These include speech-to-speech translation, multilingual real-time chatting, messaging, and web and documents translation.
Three promising research scientists and engineers aged 35 and below also received this year's Young Scientists Awards from Mr Iswaran.
They are NTU Assistant Professor Robin Chi Yonggui, NUS Assistant Professor Qiu Cheng Wei and Dr Khor Chiea Chuen from A*STAR.
This is the fifth year that the President's Science and Technology Awards are being presented.