New award named after PM Lee Hsien Loong to recognise Smart Nation projects by polytechnic students

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the launch of the Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore on April 20, 2015.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the launch of the Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore on April 20, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Polytechnic students will from next year be able to apply for a new award that encourages them to take on interactive digital media projects.

The Lee Hsien Loong Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Smart Nation Award is made possible by the Prime Minister's $250,000 donation to the endowment fund set up for education awards.

The award was announced by Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (May 3) at the first of Republic Polytechnic's graduation ceremonies this year.

“The award encourages polytechnic students to tap on their creativity and skills to embark on IDM projects that improve the lives of Singaporeans, or forge closer community ties,” he said.

These include projects that harness technology, such as video games, mobile apps, or virtual reality, that could make public transport more convenient, buying and paying for groceries easier or living a healthier life more accessible, Mr Ong added.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a press release that the award also reinforces the SkillsFuture movement because of the "highly applied nature" of the projects.

“To build a Smart Nation, and make full use of IT in our lives, we need to gather good ideas from many sources. I want to encourage young people to be interested in IT, and to come up with creative ways of using IT to improve our lives," said Mr Lee.

“There is lots of enthusiasm and talent among Polytechnic students. I hope this new award will stimulate more Polytechnic students to do their best, to use their imagination and skills to do outstanding projects in Interactive Digital Media, which will make a difference to Singapore.”

To qualify for the award, entries must be IDM projects that are the work of full-time polytechnic students. They must also be completed within the preceding 12 months from the opening date for applications.

Full-time polytechnic students who wish to submit their projects for consideration can do so through their schools in late April each year, starting from 2017.

Projects can be individual or group-based and can be done as part of students' course of study, or outside of it. However, a group should comprise at most six members and must have at least one Singaporean in it.

Each year five projects will be chosen as winners, with each receiving $1,000. 

Projects will be judged based on criteria including their potential impact on Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, that aims to tap on technology to improve the lives of people, as well as the students’ technical competence and presentation skills.

A total of 4,726 students including 112 adult learners will be graduating from Republic Polytechnic this year. This is its largest cohort since the polytechnic started in 2002.