Dr Norshahril Saat, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies-Yusof Ishak Institute, has won the first Syed Isa Semait Scholar Award yesterday.
The award recognises outstanding contributions of Muis postgraduate scholars.
Dr Norshahril, 32, will study the experiences of South-east Asian students who further their studies in Islamic universities in the Middle East, with the help of a $10,000 research grant accompanying the award. He said: "Contrary to what many believe, the link between Islamic institutions and how they influence thought is not clear cut."
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, who is Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said after the award ceremony at the Suntec Convention Centre that the Muslim community should build expertise in various fields, to strike a balance between keeping religious traditions alive and being part of the modern world.
Over the past 10 years, Muis has given out more than $1 million in postgraduate scholarships and grants to help 26 people further their studies in various fields.
This year's Muis Postgraduate Scholarship Award was given to Mr Muhammad Azfar Anwar, 24, who will be pursuing a master's degree in Islamic studies and history at the University of Oxford.
Ms Muneerah Abdul Razak, 23, received a Muis financial grant to read a master's in Middle East politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.