The King Charles II medal is awarded to foreign Heads of State or Government who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering scientific research in their country.
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:
“Today we celebrate the achievements of Singaporean science by awarding President Tan the King Charles II Medal. President Tan has been associated with a transformation in Singaporean research and education over the course of his career, and has served the scientific community in many roles. Singapore has proved to be one of the success stories of global science and innovation and it is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading nations in science and mathematics education. The Royal Society is delighted to be able to recognise the contribution President Tan has made to science and education in Singapore today.”
As Minister of Education, President Tan oversaw the creation of major national universities including the National University of Singapore, where he later served as Vice-Chancellor. As Chairman of the National Research Foundation, he drove the funding of scientific research. As patron of Singapore’s Global Young Scientists Summit, he is instrumental in bringing together young scientists with Nobel Laureates, Fields Medallists and other eminent scientific researchers. He also recognizes its most outstanding scientists through Singapore’s annual President’s Science and Technology Awards.
President Tan has played a significant role in developing Singapore’s research and development capability over the last 20 years. Its expenditure on research and development has almost doubled since 1996. Its national university is regularly ranked in the top 25 in the world. Singapore is frequently cited as one of the world’s most innovative and competitive countries.
President Tan graduated from the University of Singapore with a First Class Honours Degree in Physics in 1962 and went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on an Asia Foundation Scholarship, where he obtained a Master of Science degree specialising in Operations Research. He later obtained a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide, from which he was later conferred an honorary doctorate.