Local Representation In Academia In Universities

Published Date: 14 January 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Marine Parade GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education: (a) whether there are updated figures on local representation in academia in universities; (b) how successful have the Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme, the NUS President's Assistant Professor Scheme and the NTU Nanyang Assistant Professorship Scheme been; (c) how much has been invested in these schemes; and (d) what have been the benefits and key impact of these schemes and the views of faculty about these schemes.

Response

1. The number of Singaporean academics as a proportion of all faculty members in our autonomous universities (AUs) has remained fairly stable at about 50% over the last 10 years.

2. MOE started the Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent (START) Scheme to develop Singaporean academics and to supplement existing schemes at the various AUs. Under START, 91 scholarships have been awarded over the past four years. As it is relatively new, most of the scholarship recipients are still studying. Of the 16 who have completed their studies, 13 are holding faculty positions at our AUs, with the rest returning to join the AUs later this year. START recipients have already demonstrated involvement in impactful, locally-relevant projects in areas such as language and palliative care.

3. NUS’s Presidential Young Professorship (PYP) Scheme and NTU’s Nanyang Assistant Professorship (NAP) Scheme aims to attract top local and foreign academics to the AUs. Thus far, NUS and NTU have granted a total of 91 awards.

4. Together, the three schemes provide different forms of support for aspiring and young academics, at different stages of their studies and careers. This comes in the form of financing support during PhD or postdoctorate stints, mentorship from faculty members and research grants.

5. On average, MOE and the AUs invested around $11 million per year on these three schemes since 2015.

6. We will continue to work with our AUs to build a strong Singaporean core in our faculty. It is critically important that we have a strong core of local academics in our AUs.

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