Temasek Poly opens new centre for vets and aquaculture

Temasek Polytechnic's new animal science centre will allow students like Ms Azmi to have internships and work on projects at its facilities. Here, she works on a live cat, with a stuffed one wrapped in the white blanket.
Temasek Polytechnic's new animal science centre will allow students like Ms Azmi to have internships and work on projects at its facilities. Here, she works on a live cat, with a stuffed one wrapped in the white blanket.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A new facility at Temasek Polytechnic (TP) will train students and boost local expertise for the growing aquaculture, veterinary and biomedical industries.

The four-storey Centre for Aquaculture and Veterinary Science - the first of its kind here - was officially opened yesterday.

It houses facilities for veterinary care and support for pet animals, research on marine and freshwater species as well as animal model studies for biomedical research.

Students from three diploma courses at TP - veterinary technology, biotechnology and chemical engineering - will be able to have internships and work on projects in these facilities.

For instance, veterinary technology students, with support from staff, will manage services at an animal clinic and wellness facility, which will open to the public next year. Services available include animal health screenings, dog daycare programmes and grooming.

Ms Syahidah Azmi, 20, a third-year veterinary technology student, said the new animal clinic mimics those in the real world. "It gives us a better experience of how to perform services."

The new centre will also undertake projects in breeding and vaccine development, among others, in its Aquaculture Research Facility, to meet the growing demand for local aquaculture production.

It will have several research and test labs to develop products such as vaccines and testing services such as pathogen detection and animal virus isolation.

One of its facilities will house animals such as rodents and rabbits in a 500 sq m area in order to study disease mechanisms and treatment.

Minister of State for National Development, as well as for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who was the guest of honour at yesterday's event, said the centre will have a positive impact on aquaculture and veterinary sectors, which are crucial for Singapore.

"It is important that our farmers develop their capabilities in growing more with less, by harnessing technology and innovation," he said, noting that Singapore lacks resources like land, sea space or labour that other countries have.

"In the case for food, it is especially important because we cannot depend entirely on overseas imports because uncertainties can arise from time to time... We must have some level of local food production."

TP also signed an agreement with Apollo Aquaculture Group, a fish farm, to conduct research and training for students in areas such as aquaculture and engineering. Each year, at least two veterinary technology students will get to work with Apollo as part of the Earn and Learn Programme, a work-study scheme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Temasek Poly opens new centre for vets and aquaculture'. Print Edition | Subscribe