Singapore Prize – A Nod to Sustainability

In a nod to sustainability, Prince William hosted the Earthshot Prize awards at the theatre of state-owned Mediacorp and donned a 10-year-old dark green suit by British label Alexander McQueen. Actors Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K Brown as well as singers Bastille and Bebe Rexha were among those who walked the event’s “green carpet” as presenters. The ceremony also featured performances by Cate Blanchett, Lana Condor and Robert Irwin.

The Singapore prize was introduced in 2014 as part of programmes to commemorate SG50. It is the first book prize devoted to the Republic’s history and is administered by NUS’ department of history. This year, historian Vincent Tong’s biography of the notorious gangster Sam Hua was selected as the winner. A four-member jury led by NUS East Asian Institute chairman Wang Gungwu picked the book from 29 submissions by local and international scholars.

Clara Chow made history at the Singapore prize by becoming the first writer to be shortlisted in three categories in the same year – English fiction, English creative nonfiction and Chinese poetry. She beats record holder Mok Zining, who is shortlisted in two categories and is 91 years old. Chow and Zining are the oldest writers in the history of the prize program.

NUS’s senior advisor (university and global relations) Kishore Mahbubani told reporters there could be plans to expand the scope of the award. He said that there are many ways of engaging with history, adding that the NUS prize seeks to “encourage engagement with the nuances of Singapore’s past”. He added that it might be possible to one day include movies, comics and other works that can help people better understand their own country’s history.

Several NUS researchers have won this year’s President’s Science and Technology Awards, a prestigious accolade for scientists in Singapore. NUS professors have won the top prizes in four different scientific fields, including the award for research in human development and the environment. The other three top prizes were awarded for biomedical engineering, chemistry and the social sciences.

The NUS professors who won the chemistry and biomedical engineering prizes are among those who won the top prizes for their work in cancer detection, drug discovery, the treatment of infectious diseases and genetic engineering. The other winners in chemistry, pharmacology and physics were NUS lecturers and professors who have worked in areas such as nanotechnology and the study of bacterial metabolites.

A total of 58 people were rewarded for their contribution to the community in various ways at this year’s President’s Science and technology awards. Originally known as the National Science and Technology awards, the awards have been elevated to Presidential status since 2009. They aim to uphold research excellence and to nurture the next generation of Singaporean scientific talent. They also celebrate the achievements of Singaporeans around the world. The award ceremonies are held annually and feature the presentation of the President’s Science and Technology medallions to the winners. It is the highest honour bestowed by the government.