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Commonwealth scientific community to gather in Singapore

26 May 2017

Over 400 researchers from the Commonwealth’s scientific community will gather in Singapore next month (13 – 16 June 2017) to discuss pressing issues such as climate change, future technologies, energy and carbon storage and medical research.

Notable speakers at the Commonwealth Science Conference 2017 include Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the chief scientist of the United Nations Environment Programme.  

The multi-disciplinary event, which underscores the international nature of science, is co-organised by the Royal Society and Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF).  The conference will showcase lectures and discussions with plenary speakers such as Dr Demis Hassabis, artificial intelligence trailblazer and Founder & CEO of DeepMind and other experts, with the conference themes spanning new technologies, emerging infectious diseases, sustainable cities, the future of oceans, low-carbon energy and science policy.

Other speakers include Canada’s Professor Janet Rossant, a leading authority in stem cell research who helped to establish guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research in Canada and beyond, and Singapore’s Professor Chua Nam Hai, who is spearheading research that could lead to drought-resilient plants. 

Australia’s Dr Janice Lough, who specialises in tropical coral reefs and climate change, as well as Jamaica’s Professor Terrence Forrester, who has pioneered research in nutritional stress and its impact on diseases such as hypertension, will also be speaking. 

This year’s conference follows the first Commonwealth Science Conference held in Bangalore, India, in 2014.  Singapore won the honour of hosting this year’s conference due to its reputation as a leading research hub, track record of inspiring young scientists and history of shaping Commonwealth policies.  
In 2014, Singapore President Tony Tan became the fifth recipient of the Royal Society’s prestigious King Charles II Medal. The award, given to foreign heads of state or government who have made outstanding contributions to furthering scientific research in their country, is made only in exceptional circumstances. 

“Singapore is honoured by the privilege to host this significant conference that will provide opportunities for cooperation between countries to build scientific capacity across Commonwealth nations.  This is also a valuable platform to inspire young scientists through their interactions with eminent speakers and their peers,” said the NRF’s chief executive Professor Low Teck Seng, who is co-chairing the conference.

Professor Anthony Cheetham, the Royal Society’s vice-president and treasurer, who is the other co-chair, added, “Science is global and the Commonwealth is at the very heart of that. The global network is key to tackling many of the challenges we face today from disease and climate change to food security and driving sustainable economic growth.   I am delighted that the Commonwealth Science Conference 2017 is being held in Singapore, where the commitment to research and innovation is exceptional and the rewards are so clearly seen.”

Beyond the four days in Singapore, the event will also further cooperation between researchers from different countries, as well as among doctoral students, early career scientists and established experts.

About the Commonwealth Science Conference
The Commonwealth Science Conference will be held from 13 to 16 June 2017 at the Matrix Building, Biopolis, Singapore. Jointly organised by the National Research Foundation Singapore and The Royal Society, this multi-disciplinary conference brings together leading scientists to celebrate excellence in science throughout the Commonwealth; provides opportunities for cooperation between researchers, builds scientific capacity on issues of common interest to Commonwealth countries, as well as inspires young scientists on their scientific career.  The conference will be attended by over 400 scientists from 37 Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, the Pacific and Europe.