File 3 from BIO `06 - Academic freedom is alive and well in Singapore

Singapore may be a beautiful and extremely well-run country, but is not known as a bastion of free thinking. Nevertheless, it is recruiting some of the world's top researchers and allowing them to do--- exactly what they want. What better gift could anyone dangle in front of a researcher than new laboratory facilities, excellently trained post docs and grad students, and the opportunity to conduct open-ended research? Dr. Beh Swan Gi, director of Biomedical Sciences for Singapore's Economic Development Board, explained the country's strategy and its commitment to the future of pharma and bio. (This report summarizes some of the background behind the government's strategy). Pharma, biotech and medical devices currently account for 5% of Singapore's GDP, and the government has committed $12 billion to fund public sector research over the next 5 years.  Part of this funding is dedicated to training the next generation of scientists---for an elite group of students (with GPA's exceeding 3.8), the government will pay for their Ph.D. studies, wherever in the world they pursue them. (Providing that they spend some time working in government funded research programs after they graduate, a fair proposition). Singapore is also recruiting some of the world's top biopharma researchers, from Dundee, NCI, the Pasteur Institute, offering them laboratories and the ability to research whatever they want.  Its institutes are also partnering with some of the leading academic institutions from around the world. Sound interesting?  Here are some academic job postings from Singapore U.  Here are general job listings. -AMS