The four years that Dr Feng Ruili spent pursuing her PhD were not a walk in the park.
And that was after a two-year joint master’s degree in Industrial Chemistry between the National University of Singapore-Technical University of Munich, which includes completing a master’s thesis at BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany.
“I was working in Spring Singapore for about one-and-a-half years before I started my PhD. My job in Spring Singapore’s Standards Division focused on coordinating key stakeholders to draft and review standards.
“As the standards are very technical and specialised, I realised that I needed to upgrade myself technically and professionally,” says Dr Feng.
After leaving Spring Singapore in 2013, she pursued a PhD in the field of chemical process intensification that was a collaboration between Newcastle University and A*Star’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences.
While pursuing her PhD required tremendous discipline and optimism, it also came with self-fulfilment and freedom. The experience also built Dr Feng’s resilience and her ability to cope with challenges, which definitely helped in her course of work.
She says: “The research project was supported and funded by EDB and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) respectively, under the Industrial Postgraduate Programme, and Green Sustainable Manufacturing fund respectively.
“There was no bond in receiving the grant.
“I have been contemplating to do a PhD since my undergraduate studies, inspired by my final year project supervisor.”
Adds Dr Feng: “My PhD studies gave me the opportunity to meet industry partners during information sharing sessions such as the Innovative Pharmaceutical & Specialty Processing (iPSP) day, and Green and Sustainable Manufacturing symposiums.
“It was thrilling to know that the research done is of real relevance to the industry as some of the industry partners shared similar challenges.”
Dr Feng is now an assistant director at the Industry Division at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and looks into manufacturing and exportable services development as well as cross-industry cluster coordination and synergies, among other duties.