86 students get A*Star scholarships

Eighty-six students were awarded Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) scholarships at a ceremony at Biopolis yesterday.

The A*Star scholarship programme, launched in 2001, is part of the Government's continual effort to develop a steady pipeline of highly skilled scientific talent.

Under this programme, students can undergo scientific training at local and international universities.

The scholarship is awarded for undergraduate, PhD and post-doctoral studies. Last year, 109 scholarships were awarded.

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Over 700 students have completed their PhD or post-doctoral education under the programme.

During yesterday's ceremony, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stressed that research and development (R&D) plays a key role in building a knowledge-driven and innovative economy.

He noted that last year, the Government announced a $19 billion Research, Innovation and Enterprise plan to support research, innovation and enterprise activities over the next five years.

Four areas that have been prioritised under the plan are advanced manufacturing and engineering; health and biomedical sciences; urban solutions and sustainability; and services and digital economy.

These are areas where there are national needs and economic opportunities, and in which Singapore has developed capabilities, Mr Gan said. He added that human talent was the most important factor in the R&D landscape.

"It is therefore important that we continue to build a solid local talent base to drive science and innovation in Singapore to ensure our continued success," he said.

About 80 per cent of this year's scholarship recipients were Singaporean when they were awarded the scholarship, consistent with previous years' figures.

As stated in their contracts, A*Star's foreign-born scholarship recipients must become Singapore citizens during their PhD studies.

A*Star International Fellowship awardees must do so before starting their fellowship.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline '86 students get A*Star scholarships'. Print Edition | Subscribe