Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme

Scheme Objective

The Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme seeks to attract outstanding overseas-based Singaporean research leaders back to Singapore to take up leadership positions in Singapore’s autonomous universities and publicly funded research institutes. NRF works closely with the senior leaders of the autonomous universities and research institutes to identify potential leaders.

Returning Scientists

Seven Singaporean scientists have since returned under the Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme:


Professor Ho Teck Hua is a renowned scholar in behavioural economics, operation research and data analytics. He was the William Halford, Jr. Family Professor of Marketing at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He has returned to Singapore and is currently the Senior Deputy President and Provost at the National University of Singapore (NUS). In addition to his leadership role at NUS, Professor Ho conducts research on solving societal challenges in healthcare analytics, transportation analytics and customer analytics.


Professor Aaron Thean is a well-respected opinion leader in the microelectronics community and prolific inventor with more than 50 US patents. He was the Vice President of Process Technologies and the Director of the Logic Devices Research at IMEC, a premier nanoelectronic research institute based in Belgium. He has returned to Singapore and is currently Dean at the College of Design and Engineering (CDE), Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and  Director of the Hybrid Integrated Flexible Electronic Systems (HiFES) Programme at NUS, where he conducts research on embedding electronic intelligence into materials and systems.


Professor Chua Nam Hai, world-renowned for his contributions to plant biology and biotechnology, is Andrew W. Mellow Professor and Head of Plant Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. He has returned to Singapore to establish his research activities at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory. His new research programme could potentially impact Singapore’s food security R&D as well as in the area of synthetic biology and enzyme engineering. 

Peh Li-Shiuan

Professor Peh Li-Shiuan was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Associate Director for Outreach of the Singapore-MIT Alliance of Research & Technology (SMART). She has returned to Singapore and is currently the Provost Chair Professor at NUS’ Department of Computer Science. With her prior research contributions spanning from low-power chip design to user trials of smart cities applications, she provides research leadership on moving towards the Internet-of-Things (IOT) at NUS. 

Prof Koh Lian Pin

Professor Koh Lian Pin brings 16 years of international research experience in the field of sustainability and environmental science, having worked in institutions across Switzerland, Australia, and the United States. He was formerly Chair of Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Adelaide and Vice-President of Science Partnerships and Innovation at Conservation International Foundation. He has returned to Singapore to join the NUS Department of Biological Sciences as Director of the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, and Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Chair Professor of Conservation. At NUS, Professor Koh leads a timely and innovative research program on nature-based solutions to inform climate policies, strategies and actions in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.

Khong Pek-Lan

Professor Khong Pek-Lan is one of a handful of radiologists who is able to bridge the gap between basic research, clinical research, and clinical care. She was formerly Clinical Professor of Radiology and Head of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and has returned to Singapore and been appointed Director of the Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC) and Professor of Radiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS. At NUS, she advances research in quantitative imaging biomarkers which will be helpful in the identification and treatment of diseases, in turn providing a shorter timeframe and lowering the overall cost for diagnosis.


Prof Luke Ong

Professor Luke Ong Chih-Hao is a theoretical computer scientist with specialisation in the theory of programming languages and logic in computer science. He is recognised as one of the pioneers of game semantics, and its use on model checking for software, and the decidability of higher-order model checking. He was formerly Professor of Computer Science and Tutorial Fellow of Merton College at the University of Oxford. He has returned to Singapore to take up a Distinguished University Professorship at NTU to develop inference algorithms for programmes in universal probabilistic programming languages to widen the public’s access to statistical machine learning. Prof. Ong will also be appointed Vice President (Research) at NTU from 1 January 2023.



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