More than half of the Fellows under the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowship scheme chose NTU as the place to conduct their research. Since the launch of this research fellowship in 2007, 20 out of 38 Fellows have chosen NTU, with the rest going to a mix of other universities and public agencies.
NRF Fellow Assoc Prof Christos Panagopoulos, who joined NTU's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 2008, said: "I had a choice between top 10 schools in the UK, Europe and USA until I realised the potential at NTU."
The European Young Investigator (EURYI) Award winner in Physics has since led his team to win an NRF Competitive Research Programme (CRP) grant in 2009 on Interface Science and Technology. The project investigates novel materials with functionalities beyond the current state of technology and explores new perspectives to enhance the design and development of highly sensitive micro- and nano-scale devices.
Assoc Prof Hilmi Volkan Demir, also an NRF Fellow and a EURYI Award winner with NTU's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, added: "There is a lot of encouragement for scientific excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship at NTU. This creates a good ecosystem which allows us to work together."
Launched in May 2007, the NRF Fellowship is a globally competitive scheme that seeks to build up a pool of bright, passionate researchers in science and technology. Comparable to The European Young Investigator Awards scheme in intent and prestige, it offers a high-profile incentive for the best and brightest researchers to build their careers in Singapore. The scheme is part of the nation's plans to transform into a knowledge-intensive economy by building up capabilities, enhancing competencies in existing technologies, and seeking out promising new research areas.
Selected from a large number of outstanding graduates from top international universities such as Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Cambridge, Caltech and Tokyo University, the young researchers will also bring start-up grants of US$2.3 million over five years and be the nucleus of future leading research groups.
In the first year of the prestigious scheme, 4 out of the 9 NRF Research Fellows chose NTU. In 2009, 7 out of 9 chose to hold their fellowships at NTU. In 2011, half of the Fellows selected NTU as host institution, a testament of the university's strengths in science and technology.