|A*STAR Announces New Leadership Appointments From 1 Apr 2009|
A*STAR is well-poised to continue fostering cross-council collaborative research to drive Singapore’s transformation into a knowledge-based innovation-driven economy
1. The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced today the four new leadership appointments that would take effect from 1 Apr 2009. With the new appointments, A*STAR will be well-poised to further strengthen its scientific capabilities and foster cross-council collaborative research to drive the transformation of Singapore into a knowledge-based innovation-driven economy:
Prof Sir George Radda
2. As Chairman of BMRC, Sir George will build synergy between the BMRC family of seven research institutes and three consortia; as well as work together with Prof Charles Zukoski, his counterpart in the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), to foster cross-council research. Sir George has extensive experience in cross-council work while he was the Chief Executive of Medical Research Council in the UK from 1996 to 2003. During that time, he chaired the inter-council working group on behalf of the Research Councils, UK, to develop a combined strategy and vision for seven research councils across the UK, to bring them together in a partnership. This experience is highly relevant as he works with Prof Zukoski to develop cross-council initiatives between BMRC and SERC as well as enhance inter-RI collaborations across the BMRC research institutes.
3. Sir George, who will take over the reins of BMRC from Prof Sir David Lane, is no stranger to A*STAR. His association with A*STAR began in 2003 when he was a member of the A*STAR Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council. He further deepened his relationship with A*STAR when he became the Chairman of SBIC when it was officially opened in April 2006, and when he assumed the post of Deputy Chairman of BMRC’s Biomedical Sciences & Technology Group in October last year.
4. He has contributed much to A*STAR in the past six years. As Chairman of SBIC, he led the consortium to harness the existing imaging expertise and capabilities in Singapore, and worked towards developing them into a focused national platform to support the growth of multi-disciplinary research activities. A major achievement of Sir George’s is the establishment of the Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC) – a joint venture with the National University of Singapore. Today, CIRC is one of the few clinical research sites in the world to use an innovative advanced medical imaging solution developed by Siemens. Sir George was awarded the 2008 National Day Public Service Medal for his contributions to the development of research in Singapore.
5. Said Sir George, "It is an honour and I am very much aware that the responsibility of the chairman of Biomedical Research Council is a heavy one. Yet, at the same time, I am excited and energised by the challenge and opportunity of helping to shape the future direction of research in Singapore, in particular, that of bringing biomedical research in close collaboration with the physical and engineering sciences. I look forward to working with my fellow scientists and leaders within A*STAR and BMRC towards creating a vibrant future for Singapore”.
Prof Low Teck Seng
6. Prof Low Teck Seng will become the Deputy Managing Director (Research) of A*STAR. In this newly created role, he will explore and study how A*STAR can strategically synergise the work of the two councils – BMRC and SERC – to enhance and promote cross-council research efforts. He will be working closely with Sir George and Prof Zukoski as well as the two Council Executive Directors, Prof Lee Eng Hin and Prof Chong Tow Chong, in this area.
7. Prof Low was the founding principal of Republic Polytechnic (2002 - 2008) and the founding director of A*STAR’s Data Storage Institute (1992 – 1998), previously known as the Magnetics Technology Centre. He was awarded the National Science and Technology Medal in 2004 – the highest honour bestowed on an individual who has made distinguished, sustained and exceptional contributions, and played a strategic role in the development of Singapore through the promotion and management of R&D. Prof Low’s background in research and administration, including the years as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in the National University of Singapore (1998 - 2000), will put him in good stead as he oversees the effort to better facilitate and support cross-council and multi-disciplinary research.
8. Said Prof Low, “The area that I will be working on is a completely new area. It poses a challenge since it is an uncharted territory, and yet it also offers many possibilities as I will be able explore how best to promote cross-council work without the encumbrance of precedents. I am looking forward to working on this together with my colleagues at A*STAR.”
Dr Alex Matter
9. Dr Alex Matter will take over from Prof Sir David Lane as the Chief Executive officer of ETC. He will continue to build on Prof Lane’s work, and chart new grounds for this very young unit. Dr Matter has a long association with A*STAR. He has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) since 2005, a member of the A*STAR Investigator Selection Panel in 2007, and a member of the ETC Project Review Committee in 2008.
10. As the Chief Executive of ETC, Alex will enhance A*STAR’s capabilities in pre-commercial/pre-clinical drug development, and help to translate A*STAR’s scientific discoveries into potential new drugs and treatments. With his vast experience and deep knowledge of drug discovery and development in Norvatis, in particular in his discovery, with his team of 300 scientists, of Glivec®* (imatinib) – the first oral drug shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), and referred to as the “magic bullet” for cancer, Dr Matter will bolster A*STAR’s ability to close the gap between the bench and the bedside.
11. Said Dr Matter, “I am extremely excited and thrilled to have this opportunity to continue to make contributions to advance Singapore’s biomedical research efforts. My role at ETC is to continue what David has put in place and work towards ensuring that ETC continues to add value to discoveries done at the lab benches here in A*STAR, and take them to the next stage of development.”
Prof Sir David Lane
12. Prof Sir David Lane will take on a new advisory role as Chief Scientist of A*STAR and return to his first love – research in the lab. Prof Lane’s rich background in key leadership roles, such as Chairman of BMRC, Chief Scientist of Cancer Research UK, Executive Director of IMCB, and his experience in a start up – Cyclacel Pharmaceutical Inc, give him the breadth and depth of experience to provide A*STAR with insights and guidance on scientific development at a strategic level. In this non-executive role, Prof Lane will be able to engage in scientific discussions at the A*STAR-wide cross-council level and, at the same time, have sufficient time to pursue his research.
13. Prof Lane has been associated with A*STAR since 2002 when he was the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of IMCB. He later took over the reins of IMCB as its Executive Director from 2004 to 2007, and subsequently assumed the positions of Chairman of BMRC and Chief Executive of ETC. Prof Lane was instrumental in establishing ETC and building it up from scratch in a matter of over two years. He has also been extremely successful in attracting scientific talent to ETC and in putting together a team of more than 60 in just over a year.
14. Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, said of the new appointments, “I am happy that we have assembled a team of eminent scientific leaders of sterling quality to contribute to our R&D efforts in Singapore. All of them are already closely associated with A*STAR and their agreement to take on these key leadership roles reflect their continued excitement about the R&D journey that we started nearly a decade ago. I would like to specially thank Sir David Lane for all his contributions as Chairman of BMRC and CEO of ETC and welcome him onboard in his new role as Chief Scientist of A*STAR. I would also like to welcome Sir George Radda as the new Chairman of BMRC, Dr Alex Matter as the new CEO of ETC and Prof Low Teck Seng as the DMD (Research). I am confident that under their leadership, BMRC, ETC and A*STAR will make even greater strides in conducting world class research that will benefit Singapore and create opportunities for Singaporeans.”
15. Said Prof Lane, “I have full confidence that Sir George and Alex will take BMRC and ETC to the next level, and advance A*STAR’s scientific excellence and international standing. I am very excited about my new role which will allow me to spend more time on my research, and look forward to working with Chairman of A*STAR, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, and my other colleagues in both Councils to help shape the research agenda for A*STAR and Singapore”.
AGENCY FOR RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Notes to the Editors:
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About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
A*STAR is Singapore's lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 22 research institutes and consortia and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. The Agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent.
About the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC)
The Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) oversees the development of core research capabilities within A*STAR research units specialising in bioprocessing; chemical synthesis; genomics and proteomics; molecular and cell biology; bioengineering and nanotechnology and computational biology. Through competitive grants, the Council also supports research in the wider scientific community such as public universities and hospitals. As part of its efforts to advance human healthcare, BMRC actively promotes translational medicine and cross-disciplinary research. The Council also engages in human capital development in the biomedical sciences and promotes societal awareness of biomedical research through outreach programmes.