$457 Million Set Aside to Further Strengthen Social Science and Humanities Research in Singapore

Published Date: 21 September 2021 05:30 PM

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1. At the second Singaporean Researchers Global Summit held at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today, Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing, announced that the local social science and humanities research ecosystem will receive a boost of $457 million from the Ministry of Education (MOE) over the next five years (Financial Year [FY] 2021 to FY2025). This is an increase of 31%, or $107 million, from the $350 million that was previously set aside for FY2015 to FY2020 to support key initiatives launched by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

2. This new tranche of funding aims to achieve two important objectives. First, it seeks to continue the SSRC's effort to build an excellent and vibrant social science and humanities research ecosystem in Singapore. From 2016 to 2020, the SSRC has awarded funding to a total of 37 projects under the Social Science Research Thematic Grant (SSRTG), spanning a variety of topics that are salient to Singapore's socio-economic challenges. These include projects which studied raising productivity levels in the services sector, understanding how low-income families adapt to their environments and fostering harmonious intergroup relations in early childhood. Information on the SSRTG and projects awarded in the recent 2020 and 2019 calls can be found in Annex A.

3. The new tranche of funding will also continue to invest in younger Singaporean researchers who demonstrate promise in their careers. The SSRC has awarded seven Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowships (SSHRF) from 2018 to 2020, affording these Fellows resources to pursue research programmes that would aid their development as future leaders in their respective fields. The research interests of these Fellows span a range of topics such as the psychological impact of inequality and the skills-gap in the Singapore labour market. Information on the SSHRF and awards given out in the 2020 and 2019 call can be found in Annex B.

Valuable Contributions of Social Science and Humanities Research to Singapore's National Challenges

4. "It is heartening to see the breadth of research projects that have emerged from the SSRTG over the last five years, including projects that are investigating important issues for our nation. It is valuable for researchers to examine such challenges with their independent lenses and where there are synergies, to complement Government's efforts with their expertise." said Minister Chan. Over the next five years, MOE and the SSRC hope to see more high-quality proposals submitted for funding, especially those that adopt an interdisciplinary approach in examining and tackling complex issues, such as climate change and pandemics.

5. "The proposals that we have seen over these past five years are of high quality and have been getting better over time. This is an indication that our investments which aim to grow an excellent social science and humanities research ecosystem in Singapore are paying off. My heartiest congratulations also to the SSHRF recipients or Fellows - they all hold a lot of promise to be world-class researchers in their respective fields and part of the core of Singaporean talent in our AUs in the future." commented Mr Peter Ho, Chairman of the SSRC.

New Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Graduate Research Fellowship to Strengthen Ties with Overseas Singaporeans

6. To strengthen the Singaporean core in social science and humanities research, MOE and SSRC will launch a new SSRC Graduate Research Fellowship. This programme will help build connections between overseas-based Singaporeans pursuing PhDs or postdoctoral fellowships, and the AUs in Singapore, by providing seed funding for collaborative projects. "We are aware that there are Singaporeans overseas who would like to reach out to our local AUs and work with their faculty members on locally-relevant research. The SSRC Graduate Research Fellowship is intended to facilitate such collaborations and establish meaningful linkages between them." explained Minister Chan.

7. Applications for the scheme will open in early-2022. Prospective applicants may refer to the webpages of NTU, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) for more information.

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