Published on 19 Feb 2023

15th International Science Youth Forum (ISYF)

After two digital iterations, the 15th International Science Youth Forum (ISYF) welcomed delegates back to Hwa Chong Institution physically from 15th to 19th January, 2023. The theme, “Reconnecting, Reimagining: Looking Ahead to a Better World” celebrated the arrival of 107 delegates from 13 overseas schools all across the world and 25 local schools to share their passion for science.

Delegates, educators, facilitators and school leaders at ISYF 2023 Mass Photo-Taking.

Enriching activities were lined up for delegates over the 5-day event. The Team Project Challenge offered delegates a unique opportunity to showcase their creativity, problem-solving skills, and scientific knowledge. Delegates worked together in teams to ideate and prototype a Rube Goldberg machine based on a specific challenge theme. The challenge provided a platform for participants to tap into their creative talents and apply scientific concepts they had learnt, in a hands-on and practical setting. With the diverse delegations at ISYF, delegates walked away not only with a deeper appreciation for science, but also a myriad of new perspectives.

A team of delegates with their Rube Goldberg Machine at the Team Project Challenge.

In the Masterclasses, delegates were invited to sharings by Nobel Laureates and eminent scientists, who deepened delegates’ understanding in their fields of research. One of the speakers was Sir Tim Hunt (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2001), who provided an insightful sharing on his journey to discovering cyclins. He emphasised the importance of staying curious and open-minded in scientific research. Delegates were captivated by Sir Tim's friendly and open demeanour, as well as his candid discussion on his breakthrough discovery. Sir Tim's sharing was truly a highlight of the Masterclasses and a reminder of the potential for exciting and meaningful discoveries in the field of science.

Prof Peter Preiser (Associate Vice-President, Biomedical and Life Sciences, NTU) took the delegates on a deep dive into the future of medical diagnostic solutions. He shared extensively about his work, giving delegates a glimpse into the real life experiences of scientists. His sharing helped delegates gain more perspectives on scientific research, such as how it relates to commercialisation, which undoubtedly was incredibly valuable to their budding young scientific minds.

Engaging masterclasses by [from top left, clockwise] Prof Peter Preiser, Sir Tim Hunt and Prof Xu Rong. 

Prof Xu Rong (Research Director for Engineering and Physical Sciences | School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, NTU) opened her Masterclass with an account on the importance of renewable energy in our world today. Her sharing sparked the delegates’ interests to learn more about the various catalysts designed for challenging reactions. Delegates took the chance to inquire more about the extensive process of selecting different substances to be studied, effectively drawing links between Prof Xu’s sharing and their own research projects. She had definitely enlightened many, and inspired all to persevere in their research journeys ahead. 

ISYF IAS NTUGrand Ceremony Panel Discussion with Nobel Laureates and Eminent Scientists.

The highlight of ISYF was the Grand Ceremony Panel Discussion. Chaired by Prof Yeo Kiat Seng (Associate Provost for International Relations, Singapore University of Technology and Design), it brought together panelists Sir David MacMillan (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021), Prof Hartmut Michel (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1988) and Prof Bertil Andersson (President Emeritus, NTU). The panellists answered questions on a variety of topics, whilst underscoring the importance of science in our present world. The ceremony was graced by Ms Lim Wan Yong, Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development. In her speech, she highlighted the significance of gathering once again in person, and working together as a scientific community to solve problems to make a positive impact on society.

The Grand Ceremony was followed by the poster exhibition, where delegates were given the opportunity to present their science research to Ms Lim, the panellists and their peers. Delegates gained insights with regard to their peers' fields of research and acquired an interdisciplinary perspective of the research topics.

In addition to the scientific programmes, delegates were also led on a tour around Singapore to explore its beauty and culture. Delegates were taken to some of the famous landmarks in the city-state, including the iconic Esplanade Theatres, Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion statue. Delegates also had the chance to sample delicious local cuisine of Singapore, including famous hawker food such as Mee Goreng and Chendol.

Exciting Cultural Exhibition by delegated from various countries.

Foreign delegations also showcased their unique cultures. During the Cultural Hour, delegates from the United Kingdom, Chinese Taipei and Mexico gave engaging presentations about their cultures, while delegates from Indonesia and United States of America performed a traditional Balinese dance and square dance respectively. The delegation from Thailand serenaded delegates with their dance performance. At the Cultural Exhibition, all delegations showcased their uniqueness, including their snacks and popular pastimes. Through trying out different cuisines and games, delegates gained a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures and forged precious friendships.

The enriching and fun-filled forum culminated in a farewell luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, graced by Mr Beh Kian Teik (Chief Executive Officer, National Research Foundation). Over the course of 5 short yet rewarding days, delegates had the valuable opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals around the world, share their passion for Science and grow with one another. As the delegates embark on their journeys ahead, we hope that the invaluable experiences and connections they had made during ISYF 2023 will inspire them to create a better world.


Written By: Liu Weichu and Isaac Yeap Sheng Rong from Hwa Chong Institution

Pictures By: Isaac Yeap Sheng Rong, Xu Hanming, Phua Yi Jun, Fang Hao, Liu Lekuan, Huo Xingyu and Liu Weichu from Hwa Chong Institution