Enhancing the Role of Science Centre Singapore in Engineering Innovation

Enhancing the Role of Science Centre Singapore in Engineering Innovation

Championed by:

Fellow Hang Chang Chieh
Executive Director
Institute for Engineering Leadership
National University of Singapore

Fellow Quek Gim Pew
Chief Executive Officer
DSO National Laboratories

Fellow Raj Thampuran
Managing Director
Agency for Science, Technology and Research

The Academy recognises the need to secure a substantial pipeline of engineers in Singapore through raising greater awareness and interest in the profession.

Further to the discussions with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Science Centre Singapore (SCS), Professor Hang Chang Chieh and his team studied the issue extensively and prepared a white paper proposing the SCS to attract students to the engineering profession by showcasing local success stories in engineering innovation and entrepreneurship, and future engineering innovations in collaboration with local universities, research institutes and industry. The objective of the white paper is to propose ways to significantly enhance the role of SCS in inculcating students’ interest in engineering innovation. A strong and sustained interest will not only motivate students to take up engineering as a choice of study in universities, it will ensure that more will pursue engineering as a life long career.

The proposal consists of two steps (Incremental and Radical), both of which are strongly recommended for Government to invest and implement soonest in order to capture the minds and hearts of young Singaporeans. In the Incremental Step, more regular exhibits in the SCS will be added in engineering innovations which are appealing to secondary school students; they will include relevant and stimulating cases of local successes in innovation and entrepreneurship. In the Radical Step, SCS will fully embrace the stimulation and inculcation of students’ interests in engineering innovation in its mission.

In line with its object of furthering the role played by the SCS in stimulating and supporting students’ interest in engineering, the Academy team identified the Miraikan, Japan’s Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, as a potential model for SCS to consider. A possible collaboration with the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA) is also under consideration, with the working group currently examining methods of adapting their micro and nano satellites in forthcoming projects to engage primary and secondary school students. SCS will secure substantial involvement of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and industry in co-hosting exhibits of Singapore innovations and growing the “Maker Initiative” to attract wide attention and help students sustain interests beyond science to engineering innovation and entrepreneurship.

To ensure continuity to create impact, a 5-year support is recommended. The total 5-year proposed budget will be $24.6 million (including the setup cost of $6.5 million). The white paper was circulated to the Academy Fellows for comment in November 2013. A final copy will be submitted to the CEO of SCS. The next step is for SCS to deliberate on the acceptance of the recommendations, seek the necessary government funding and drive the implementation phase. The Academy team will continue to lend its expertise should support be required in seeking government funding to implementing the recommendations.