Published on 28 Nov 2023

Winners of the Nanyang Awards 2023

We are proud to announce the winners of the Nanyang Awards 2023 from the School of Materials Science and Engineering. 

Nanyang Research Award 2023 – Professor Chen Xiaodong

Professor Chen Xiaodong, a trailblazer in the field of mechanomaterials and flexible electronics, has been awarded the Nanyang Research Award for the second time – a testament to his unwavering commitment and dedication to research excellence. Professor Chen’s innovative pursuits have led to groundbreaking innovations, such as the world’s first plant-based robot, an artificial neural network for e-noses, and chemically mediated artificial neurons. His latest innovation, a universal soft interconnector called BIND (biphasic, nano-dispersed) interface, simplifies the assembly of stretchable devices while delivering superior mechanical and electrical performance. His contribution to pushing the boundaries of wearable electronics has resulted in the creation of stretchable diodes for next-gen wearable electronics and an ultrathin elastic conductor that can withstand up to 300% strain while maintaining high conductivity after repeated deformations. Professor Chen’s accomplishments and visionary research leadership have significantly influenced academia, fostering innovation and nurturing the next generation of researchers.

The Nanyang Research Award gives the highest recognition to individuals or teams who have made outstanding contributions to extending the frontiers of knowledge. 


Professor Chen Xiaodong (centre), recipient of the Nanyang Research Award, with Deputy President & Provost - Prof Ling San (left) and President - Prof Ho Teck Hua (right). Photo: NTUsg

Nanyang Education Award (College) 2023 – Associate Professor Tan Lay Poh

Associate Professor Tan Lay Poh has been awarded the Nanyang Education Award (College) for her instrumental role in advancing the College and University’s educational endeavours through her various management portfolios. As the previous Associate Chair (Academic) of MSE, Associate Professor Tan worked closely with the MSE Curriculum Review Committee to align the undergraduate Materials Engineering curriculum with the NTU2025 education framework and ensured that the curriculum was adept in capitalising on the industry shifts. She oversaw the implementation of MSE’s two new specialisation areas -‘Materials and AI’ and ‘Materials and Sustainability’ - providing students with more options to enhance their degrees in specific materials science fields. In teaching, she developed a new Design Thinking course (MS4633 Engineering Solutions by Design Thinking) that teaches students to solve ill-structured engineering problems through complex decision-making to devise human-centric engineering solutions in a multidisciplinary setting. In 2021, she was appointed the Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Core (ICC) Office, where she played a crucial role in achieving the University’s educational objectives through the implementation of the ICC curriculum. Associate Professor Tan is passionate about enhancing students’ learning experience and makes it her quest to equip students with the right skills to prepare them for the future of work.


Associate Professor Tan Lay Poh (centre), recipient of the Nanyang Education Award (College), with Deputy President & Provost - Prof Ling San (left) and President - Prof Ho Teck Hua (right). Photo: NTUsg 

Nanyang Education Award (School) – Professor Yan Qingyu Alex

Professor Yan has been awarded the Nanyang Education Award (School) for prioritising holistic knowledge application in his teaching. Professor Yan is renowned for his practical and relevant teaching style through the use of real-world examples to explain complex theories and formulas. His teaching methodology involves connecting theoretical solutions to observable phenomena – a method that not only aids in better understanding of concepts but also prepares students for future career challenges.

The Nanyang Education Award is the highest honour conferred by the University to faculty members for teaching. The Award recognises the dedication and achievements of faculty members who demonstrate outstanding, innovative teaching, and enrich the learning experiences of NTU undergraduates. These Award recipients inspire students through their dedication to excellent teaching practices and their genuine concern for their student’s learning experience. 

Our heartiest congratulations to these faculty members on their excellent achievements!