Singapore National Academy of Science - fasas


20 Φεβ 2013 (πριν από 5 χρόνια και 2 μήνες)

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Achieving without investing in physical
infrastructure: Experiences from the
Singapore National Academy of Science

Prof Leo Tan Wee Hin


Singapore National Academy of Science

Scientists as building blocks for
national science academies

Scientists in a country work in various fields and

civil service, universities, research institutes,
polytechnics, and private sector

Their distribution in various agencies come in the way
of tapping their skills for collective gains even though
they are doing a good job on their own

When they are affiliated to a national science academy,
pooling of talent opens up more opportunities for
science promotion and science education as well as
collaboration with their parent agencies

Singapore National Academy of
Science (SNAS)

Established in 1967

Operating without a building

has been having
a virtual office even before the advent of the

Mailing address: c/o Singapore Science Centre

No full time employees

all volunteers

Only source of regular income is the S$500 paid
by each of its nine constituent societies for their
annual subscription fees

Principal mission objectives of SNAS

Promotion of science and technology to students and
the public

Even though the entire government machinery
supports a culture of S & T, SNAS still plays a role by
supporting capacity building through its various

Big science is generally not the aim of SNAS

Emphasis is more on initiatives and programmes which
popularize S & T as well as those which meet certain
needs of scientists since these can reach out to a wide
audience and be done with minimal funding

Constituent Societies of SNAS

Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science

Singapore National Institute of Chemistry

Institute of Physics Singapore

Singapore Institute of Biology

Singapore Mathematical Society

Singapore Society for Biochemistry & Molecular

Singapore Society for Microbiology & Biotechnology

Singapore Institute of Statistics

Science Teachers’ Association of Singapore

Council of SNAS


(a) President

(b) 2 Vice Presidents

(c) Honorary Secretary

(d) Honorary Treasurer

(e) Presidents and Honorary Secretaries of its 9 constituent societies
(18 members)

Having a lean Council found to be very important in getting
things done and moving forward with mission objectives

Structure involving nine constituent societies reporting to SNAS
provides multiplier effect for realizing mission objectives; the
nine constituent societies are like chapters but in different

Programs for Science Education

In collaboration with the Singapore Science Centre, the
Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science,
and the Science Teachers’ Association of Singapore,
SNAS administers the Young Scientist Badge Scheme
for primary students and the Questa Club scheme for
secondary students. These initiatives promote inquiry

Other educational programmes run by each of our nine
constituent societies

Young Scientist Badge Scheme

Allows students to engage in project
based investigations in 15

Geology , Zoology, Mathematics

Physics, Ornithology, Botany

Astronomy , Chemistry, Entomology

Ecology, Meteorology, Environment

Information Technology, Food Technology and Water

Students need to complete tasks in an Activity Card and then get
these certified by the class teacher

Successful completion of Activity Card gets student a highly
coveted ‘I am a Young Scientist’ Badge in the appropriate

Over 60,000 badges awarded annually

Young Scientist Activity Card in

Questa Club Scheme

Not structured like that of Young Scientist
badge scheme but more open

Secondary students can engage in a science
project of their liking

Successful completion of project gets them a
coveted Gold or Silver Questa badge, depending
on the quality of the project

About 10,000 Badges awarded annually

Programmes for Science Research

SNAS Young Scientist Awards

Two categories:

(a) Physical, Information & Engineering Sciences

(b) Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Each Award carries a cash prize of S$10,000, a
certificate and a trophy

Criteria: Below 35 years of age and resident in
Singapore for two years

Have been instrumental in nurturing and
encouraging young researchers in the sciences

Programmes for Science Research


Formerly known as the Journal of the
Singapore National Academy of Science

Revamped Editorial Board comprises eminent
scientists, including Nobel Laureates and
Fellows of the Royal Society

Published by World Scientific

Currently subscribed by over 370 institutional
libraries in the world

Programmes for Science Research

International Conferences

Each year, SNAS co
organizes an international
conference with at least one of its constituent societies

Variety of themes have been addressed over the years

Attracts international delegates to Singapore

Recent programmes

Forum on Creativity in the Arts,
Sciences and Technology, and 37

Physics Olympiad held in Singapore

Programs to give students national

By virtue of its position as a national
organization, SNAS awards certificates and
$S100 book vouchers to students from the
National University of Singapore and the
Nanyang Technological University who excel in
their final year examinations in the various
science subjects:

Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Microbiology,
Biochemistry, Mathematics and Statistics

Defacto commentator in
international scholarly literature on
issues related to S & T in Singapore

New role which SNAS embraced recently

not in our original

Several articles relating to Singapore: for example, world’s first
nationwide broadband network, first use of electronic road
pricing to control traffic congestion, how SNAS is carving a
niche for itself despite not having its own premises and full time
staff, E
government, etc have been addressed in journals such as
Nature, Science, New Scientist, etc as well as in book chapters of
international publishers. (
No funding needed for writing these articles)

Serves to raise profile of academy

all articles bear the SNAS

Scientists generally not keen to include other affiliations in their
journal papers


Always a constraint for any academy and SNAS is no exception

Circumvented by:

(a) riding on the commitment and enthusiasm of the SNAS Council

(b) leveraging on SNAS Council members’ parent institutions for
use of premises in organizing programs

contributes to more
effective utilization of a country’s built
up infrastructure

(c) seeking opportunities for collaboration

for example, SNAS
Young Scientist Awards done in collaboration with A*STAR, the
national funding agency for R & D.

(c) building a track record first and then seeking funds from other

SNAS experience has been very positive

(d) riding on the Internet

saving on postal expenses, etc.

Summarizing Comments

Spirit of volunteerism very much alive among scientists,
and needs to be harnessed for national good

A national science academy can open up a parallel track
for the promotion of S & T, and thus complement
government efforts in this direction

Science academies have a role to play in nation building
efforts but they need to do more to realize their true

In developing countries, science academies can make a
difference by sensitizing government to the role of S &
T in socio
economic development as well as reaching
out to the public through their outreach programmes