PhD Prize in Environmental and Sustainability Research

Developments

Award Ceremony For PhD Prize Held At NUS

Singapore – Ten PhD graduate students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have been recognised for excellence in environmental and sustainability research. They received the World Future Foundation (WFF) PhD Prize in Environmental and Sustainability Research – an award of US $10,000 each – from Dr Feng Lun, Chairman of the World Future Foundation, at an award presentation ceremony held at NUS today.

This year’s prizewinners had conducted cutting-edge research on a wide range of topics that include membrane distillation, giant clam conservation in Singapore, sustainable energy storage solutions and environmentally-friendly cryocooling systems for electronics.

Dr Wang Peng from the Faculty of Engineering at NUS, for instance, has developed high performance membranes for distillation that can be used in desalination, wastewater treatment, processing of foods and other real world applications. On the other hand, his counterpart Dr Teh Pei Fen from NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering has discovered new, readily available materials that can help produce the next generation of lithium ion batteries. By pairing that with an innovative, cost effective and environmentally benign production process, Dr Teh can greatly enhance their performance and efficiency.

This year’s prizewinner list also registered a number of firsts. For the first time in the history of the Prize, a thesis that focused on social sustainability was honored and its author Dr Yeo Su-Jan from NUS School of Design and Environment recognized for her insightful research on Singapore’s nightlife. Her fellow prizewinner, Dr Ishani Mukherjee from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy also became the first candidate to be commended for public policy analysis thanks to her work on the government and regulation of biodiesel in Indonesia.

Introduced in 2010, the WFF PhD Prize is the first award of its kind to recognise excellence in doctoral-level (PhD) environmental and sustainability research in Singapore. It also offers the highest cash award among student prizes at Singapore’s universities.

Chairman of the Board, World Future Foundation, Dr Feng Lun said, “Over the past 5 years, the PhD Prize has given me confidence. At the World Future Foundation, we believe that active research into new technologies and innovative solutions is the way forward in addressing pressing environmental issues. Over the last five years, 50 young and talented winners of the WFF PhD Prize in Environmental and Sustainability Research have contributed innovative solutions and fresh ideas to their chosen fields and we hope that these outstanding researchers will go on to make a great impact in promoting sustainable development in Asia and beyond.”

NUS Vice Provost (Graduate Education), Professor Mohan Kankanhalli said, “This year, the five NUS winners were chosen amongst 164 high quality submissions from PhD candidates. Our students’ achievements reflect NUS’ strength in sustainability research, and we are proud that they have demonstrated passion, creativity and innovativeness in developing multi-disciplinary, sustainable solutions towards solving environmental problems. The Prize provides a timely impetus for these young and talented researchers to continue to contribute towards environmental sustainability.”

NTU Associate Provost (Graduate Education), Professor Yue Chee Yoon said, “Over the past five years, we have seen remarkable ‘green’ research innovations submitted for the award, which is testament to NTU’s leading role in sustainability research. I believe that the winners this year will continue their ground breaking work, and conceive innovative solutions that contribute to a more sustainable world for the benefit of humankind.”

Handpicked from a field of more than a thousand submissions, this year’s winners were assessed based on the societal and economic relevance of their research (for example, commercial potential); evidence of novelty (for example, patents); and a demonstrated passion for environmental and sustainability research.