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Singapore as a Biomedical Hub

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Thanks to an investment of S$3.7 billion to enhance existing biomedical R&D infrastructure and to build brand new facilities, Singapore is becoming known as the biomedical hub for Asia and a leader in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

We caught up with Professor John Wong, President of the World Health Summit & Vice Provost, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, to find out more about recent industry developments taking place in the area, and the opportunities awaiting scientists in Singapore and beyond.

TN: How has the impact of local funding benefited the progression of Singapore’s scientific status?

Professor Wong: Singapore’s significant investment in research has greatly benefited the development of a flourishing ecosystem of both strong principal investigator-led science, as well as multidisciplinary programs spanning fundamental, translational, and clinical science within the last decade. Many Singaporeans are now making a career in research and academic medicine, and some of the world’s best investigators have either moved to Singapore, or collaborate on a scale not seen before.

TN: What is the short- and long-term outlook for Singapore as global player in the clinical science market?

PW: The outlook is excellent, as Singapore has always invested in education and science. Singapore believes in creating value, and with Asian life expectancy rising, and the twin challenges of chronic disease and infectious disease affecting a population which represents half of mankind, it is critical that Asian centres develop solutions for the problems that our community faces.

TN: What are the current focal therapeutic areas in Singapore?

PW: At the National University of Singapore and the National University Health System, with its National University Hospital, National University Cancer Institute and National University Heart Center, our focus has been on the following areas: Cancer, Cardio-Vascular Disease, Diabetes and Obesity, Neurocognitive Disorders, Infectious Disease, and Eye Disease. These are interrogated with platforms ranging from bioethics and health service research, to molecular epidemiology, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, immunology, molecular pathology, biomarker development, advanced imaging, drug development, and clinical trials.

TN: Please outline the factors which have most significantly contributed to Singapore’s successful rise in the world of clinical science?

PW: A shared vision, close collaboration, and communication between policy makers, funding agencies, researchers across the entire spectrum of science, the strong pipeline of talented students who want to make a difference, and our global partners in academia and industry.

TN: Do you have any advice for researchers looking to advance their career in Singapore?

PW: We are one large sandbox. If we develop a community of people with integrity, talent, a commitment to excellence, and a sense of collective purpose where we bring our individual talents to bear on problems that the community grapples with and celebrate each other’s success, we will have a lot of meaningful fun and create a legacy to be proud of.

Candidates looking to advance their research career in Singapore should visit the Contact Singapore website at www.contactsingapore.sg to find out more about taking steps towards moving to Singapore. Here, you can find all the information that you need about specific opportunities within the clinical sciences industry, or life in Singapore in general.

Louise Conlin, Editor, Technology Networks