Strong and broad ranging relations between Oxford and Singapore have been built over a number of years. Singapore is one of Oxford’s largest sources of students and increasingly important as a research collaborator. Since the 1960s, the Singapore government has funded more than three hundred undergraduate students to study at Oxford and many more have come independently or supported by other funding, for both undergraduate and graduate study.
Oxford and Singapore have worked together on a number of initiatives, including research partnerships such as A*STAR-Oxford Partnership and the Singapore, Peking and Oxford Research Enterprise for Water Eco-Efficiency (SPORE).
The study of Singapore currently takes place in the Asian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College. Geographically, the Centre predominantly covers South, Southeast and East Asia, and works closely with scholars in the Oriental Institute.
Opportunities to Study and Work Abroad
Oxford University's Internship Office facilitates internships in Singapore through its Summer Internship Programme for Oxford students. Both professional and research opportunities have been available with organisations such as the Tanglin Trust School, Hwa Chong Institution, A Better Florist and Singapore Myanmar Investco. Singapore Airlines have also offered internships in the Bangalore Office. Since the programme's inception, students have gained valuable work experience in Singapore and been offered permanent opportunities.
Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences
Oxford has joined with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Peking to form the Singapore, Peking and Oxford Research Enterprise (SPORE) for Water Eco-Efficiency which aims to develop sustainable water technologies. Academics in Engineering and Chemistry at Oxford, NUS and Peking engage in joint research projects and jointly supervise ten postgraduate research students studying for an Oxford doctorate. This collaboration will help to develop new ways to conserve and protect precious water resources, and offer exciting new opportunities for young scientists and engineers.
There is an ongoing research collaboration between Professor Simon Benjamin’s team in Oxford's Department of Materials and Dr Joe Fitzsimon’s group at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT), National University of Singapore (NUS). They jointly work on a range of topics including designing the hardware for first generation quantum computers, and also finding practical algorithms (the 'software') that these machines will be able to run.
Professor Dieter Jaksch of Oxford’s Department of Physics heads the CQT-Oxford Research Fellowship, a scheme through which young rising research-stars working on quantum technologies are employed as Research Fellows by the CQT. They share their time between the CQT and Oxford, with each Fellow associated with one research group in Singapore and one at Oxford. The young scientists selected for these posts are of the highest calibre with the potential to become leaders in their field, and the fellowships are intended to be one of the final career steps towards obtaining faculty positions in internationally leading universities or research institutions.
Professor Vlatko Vedral, also of the Department of Physics also collaborates with NUS’s CQT on the joint projects Occam's Quantum Razor and Quantum Synchronisation, which will develop a theory of quantum synchronization and test it experimentally using coupled ion traps and nanometer-scale mechanical resonators. Quantum synchronisation is seen as one of the emerging fields of research that will lead to new technologies such as quantum memories and quantum sensors.
The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing has been working with Singapore’s Council for Third Age (C3A) since 2009 in an innovative collaboration to assist the Singapore government in its ongoing development of national policies on active ageing. The Programme comprises the Annual Oxford-Singapore Workshop on Ageing, held in Singapore to train future leaders from government, NGOs, civil society and health professions in the area of gerontology. There is then further Oxford-based training for researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the field.
Oxford and the National University of Singapore (NUS) are both members of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), an alliance of ten of the world’s leading research universities. One of the flagship initiatives of IARU is the Global Summer Programme (GSP) at Oxford which always includes members from NUS.
The number of Singaporean students at Oxford has grown steadily over the last decade and now stands at around 300. Singapore is one of the largest sources of international undergraduates at Oxford, a remarkable achievement for a city-state with the world’s 113th largest population. The majority of Singaporeans at Oxford are undergraduates, with the remainder being fairly evenly split between postgraduate research and postgraduate taught courses. More than half of the Singaporean undergraduate students at Oxford study courses in the Social Sciences, with Humanities and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) each accounting for around a further 20%. Postgraduate research degrees are centred around MPLS, with each of Oxford's other three Divisions then accounting for around a fifth. Of postgraduate taught degrees, close to two-thirds are in the Social Sciences.
There are a number of scholarships available to Singaporean students wising to pursue studies at Oxford. The Singapore Public Service Commission offers scholarships for outstanding young men and women who want to serve Singapore through a career in the Singaporean Civil Service. The Singapore Ministry of Defence offers several scholarships for Singaporean students who wish to enter the military upon graduation. In addition to these, the Asian Studies Centre administers the Wai Seng Senior Research Scholarship which provides two years of support for a DPhil student working in the field of Asia-Pacific studies, and the A*STAR scheme which provides four-year scholarships, consisting of two years of study at the University of Oxford and two years at a A*STAR Research Institute in Singapore, open to Singaporeans, Singaporean Permanent Residents and ASEAN Nationals.
The Oxford University Malaysian and Singaporean Students' Association (OUMSSA) provides support for Singaporean and Malaysian students studying at Oxford and there are a number of societies dedicated to the wider region including the Oxford Asia-Pacific Society (OUAPS) and the Oxford Majlis Asian Society - the second oldest student society at the University and the oldest Asian student society in the world
Oxford currently has eight Singaporean academics and research staff among its faculty.
Professor Luke Ong
Professor Luke Ong is Professor of Computer Science and a Fellow of Merton College. His research interests revolve around logical methods in computation and include the semantics of computation (especially game semantics), infinite systems, software model checking, and formal analysis of programming languages.
Professor Ong was born in Singapore and read Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, before obtaining his PhD in Computer Science from Imperial College, London. After a lectureship at the NUS (1990-1992) and a research fellowship at Cambridge (1992-1993), he moved to a lectureship at Oxford in 1994, and was made professor in 2004.
With over 2,100 Oxonians, Singapore boasts the 9th largest international concentration of Oxford alumni. Many are active in the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Singapore (Oxbridge Singapore) which promotes social contact among Oxbridge alumni through organising more than 12 events each year. These include speaker events, dinners, lectures, receptions, and an annual Boat Race Dinner and Ball with its neighbouring Oxbridge alumni society in Malaysia.
Famous Singaporean alumni in politics include:
- Calvin Cheng, Nominated Member of the Singapore Parliament and a leading Asian modelling mogul
- Mrs Ow Foong Pheng, Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry
- Lieutenant-General Desmond Kuek Bak Chye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, immediate past Chief of Defence Force
- Mr Raymond Lim Siang Keat, Singaporean Minister for Transport and the Second Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Chen Show Mao, Singaporean Rhodes Scholar, corporate lawyer and Singapore Member of Parliament
- Mr Eddie Teo, Chairman, Public Service Commission
Singaporean alumni in business and finance include:
- Professor Lim Chong Yah, past President of the Economic Society of Singapore and former Chairman of the National Wages Council
- Mr Michael Hwang, Chief Justice of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- Mr Ronnie Tay, former Chief of Navy, current CEO of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Alumni from Singapore in sports and academia include:
- Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Deputy Chairman of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
- Thum Ping Tjin, better known as PJ, Singaporean Olympic Swimmer and the first Singaporean and first Oxford graduate to swim the English Channel.