Young local scientists should be mentored to conduct own research

Traditional ways of measuring output of research scientists are the quality of scientific journals they publish in and the total number of research articles they manage to publish (Scientists 'must play in top league'; March 4) .

A*Star, being the issuer of grants, would probably be looking at these objective indicators in ranking their research scientists.

But besides getting their research published, good research scientists could also stimulate the inclination towards research in their students, inducing them to become researchers. Good scientists could also mentor young scientists to conduct their own research.

When I was a junior on the faculty at the National University of Singapore more than 10 years ago, my mentors would help me conduct my own research as well as get published in local and international journals.

Getting established overseas researchers to come and run research labs in A*Star is good.

But it is more important to get them to train many more local researchers in doing top-class research.

Top overseas scientists will eventually retire back home, but we must use them to train many more younger local researchers.

A critical mass of established local researchers is needed to keep Singapore in the top league of medical research.

Desmond Wai (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'Young local scientists should be mentored to conduct own research'. Print Edition | Subscribe