First Scholarships Awarded Under New Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme (START) - Giving Singaporeans a Career Jumpstart in Academia

Published Date: 05 August 2015 12:00 AM

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1. At the inaugural Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme (START) Award Ceremony today, students keen on a research and academic career received their scholarships from Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education. The scheme will support our universities in building up a strong Singaporean core of academic and research talent. This year, 19 students were awarded scholarships under START. The list of recipients can be found in the Annex.

START

2. START aims to support young Singaporeans who are keen to pursue academic careers at our local Autonomous Universities (AUs) by providing scholarships at the undergraduate as well as the postgraduate levels. START comprises the Ministry of Education - Autonomous University (MOE-AU) Scholarship and selected postgraduate faculty development programmes offered by the AUs to Singaporeans.

3. The MOE-AU Scholarship sponsors students’ undergraduate studies at local or overseas institutions. Generally, recipients are expected to complete their undergraduate and Master’s degree (if any) in four years. Each MOE-AU Scholarship recipient is paired with an AU, with the university providing tailored academic mentorship and other developmental opportunities during the recipients’ studies. Upon completion of their studies, MOE-AU Scholarship recipients are expected to apply for and obtain a postgraduate scholarship from the AU with which they are paired. The MOE-AU Scholarship is fully funded by MOE.

4. At the postgraduate level, MOE will co-fund 50 per cent of the cost of postgraduate faculty development programmes offered by the AUs, such as the National University of Singapore’s Overseas Graduate Scholarship and Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Nanyang Technological University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences International PhD and Postdoctoral Scholarship. These scholarships support outstanding students as they pursue PhD and postdoctoral programmes at top overseas institutions, before returning to serve in our local AUs.

Enhancements for PhD and Masters by Research Students in AUs

5. At the event, Mr Heng also announced enhancements to the terms and conditions for Singaporean PhD and Masters by Research students in our AUs who are on Research Scholarships supported by MOE. Effective 1 August 2015, there will be an increase in their monthly stipends and they will also start receiving Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions while doing their programmes.

6. MOE supports research scholarships in the AUs to train postgraduate manpower to support Singapore’s long-term vision to be a research-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy. The research scholarships are given to deserving postgraduate research students in the AUs to cover tuition fees in addition to a monthly stipend. The stipend is meant to cover living expenses and lower the opportunity costs of pursuing postgraduate research programmes (as such students would otherwise be working and earning a salary). From 1 August 2015, the monthly stipends will be increased for Singaporean students. Singaporean PhD and Masters by Research students will also start receiving monthly voluntary CPF contributions, pegged at the prevailing employer’s CPF contribution rate of 17 per cent. These enhancements will help reduce the opportunity costs and better support Singaporeans pursuing their PhD and Masters by Research in our AUs. Currently, postgraduate research students do not receive CPF contributions as they are not employees.

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