SINGAPORE - A Swiss professor was made an honorary citizen of Singapore on Monday (Aug 14) morning, for his contributions to developing Singapore into a vibrant and well-known research and development hub.
Emeritus Professor Ulrich Werner Suter, 73, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, was conferred the award by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a ceremony at the Istana.
The Honorary Citizen Award is the highest form of recognition for a non-Singaporean. It is given by the Government to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Singapore's growth and development.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chairs the National Research Foundation (NRF), called Professor Suter a close friend of Singapore.
"Professor Suter has contributed his knowledge and time generously over more than a decade to develop Singapore's science and research landscape," he said in a statement.
Professor Suter is a leader in the field of materials science and played an instrumental role in "laying the foundation for research excellence in Singapore", said the NRF.
In 2004, he was on an international panel commissioned by the Ministry of Education to study the establishment of a research-intensive science and technology institution in Singapore.
The panel's recommendations paved the way for the NRF to be set up in 2006.
Prof Suter subsequently held several roles in the NRF.
During his time as the co-chair of the NRF Scientific Advisory Board from 2006 to 2011, he conceptualised its Research Centres of Excellence which have since become globally recognised in the fields of quantum technology, cancer science, earth science, mechanobiology and environmental life sciences.
He has chaired the NRF Competitive Research Programme International Evaluation Panel since 2011, which decides whether Singapore should invest in R&D in various areas.
He has also been Adviser to NRF since 2012, and advises it on Singapore's R&D strategy.
Professor Suter said he was moved and honoured by the reward.
"I am excited by the many new possibilities that Singapore can pursue with the strong R&D capabilities it has so vigorously built up over the years," he added.