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

Five Singaporean scientists have since returned under the Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme. They are:


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). Professor Ho will be applying his expertise in Decision Science to solve 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 the Director of Industry Engagement & Collaboration and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the NUS Faculty of Engineering. At NUS, Professor Thean will conduct research on embedding electronic intelligence into materials and systems. He will also spearhead nanoelectronic and spintronic device research at NUS’ Institute of Data Science.


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 in 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. 


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 in NUS Department of Computer Science. With her prior research contributions spanning from low-power chip design to user trials of smart cities applications, she will provide research leadership on moving towards the Internet-of-Things. 

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 is returning to Singapore to join the NUS Department of Biological Sciences as Professor of Conservation Science, Technology and Policy. At NUS, Professor Koh will be leading a timely and innovative research program on nature-based solutions to inform climate policies, strategies and actions in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.




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