R&D Programme Awarded With 7 Marine Research Projects

By klaireaustria

Nov 28, 2016 06:00 AM EST

The country of Singapore has one of the most urbanised marine environments in the world. And yet coral reefs are thriving in its waters, with more than 200 species of reef-building corals and about 200 species of fishes documented on reefs here.

A research project by the National University of Singapore (NUS) hopes to find out why these reefs have managed to survive.

The project is one of seven awarded by the Government under the National Research Foundation's (NRF) marine science research and development programme. Deputy Prime Minister and NRF chairman Teo Chee Hean made the announcement at the official launch of the St John's Island National Marine Laboratory on Monday (Nov 28).

NRF will invest S$25 million over five years in the programme, which hopes to develop more talent in marine science research by training research scientists, engineers and PhD students in the field. There will also be internships and collaborative partnerships with industry for technology development and applications. 

The seven awarded projects cover a variety of topics including the development and decline of algal blooms in Singapore, the ecological engineering of seawalls to enhance biodiversity, and how Singapore's coral reefs could be affected by planned development projects.

These projects will address "pertinent national challenges", Mr Teo said.

NRF said it received 30 white papers since the call for projects under the programme was launched in October last year. An international evaluation panel recommended awards to the seven projects based on their quality and relevance to Singapore.   

A well-equipped marine science facility like the St John's Island National Marine Laboratory will also complement Singapore's research and development the manage and conserve its waters and coastline, added Mr Teo.

The laboratory, which is Singapore's only offshore marine research facility, was designated a national research infrastructure in March. This means that the laboratory will be open to all researchers in Singapore and international partners.

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