Nurturing the Future of Defence
19 Jul 2019

A record 90 scholarship awards were presented by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Defence Scholarship Awards Ceremony on 19 July 2019.

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Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng noted that applicants continued to meet the high eligibility bar set for them. He said that the selection criteria for scholarship recipients has widened to take into account the need for expanded skill sets beyond traditional academic confines, to deal with rapidly evolving defence and security demands. This year's recipients come from 20 different educational institutions, including the polytechnics.

Dr Ng also highlighted that Singapore would benefit from the wide range of domain expertise that the scholars will go on to acquire. He said: “More than half our recipients will pursue STEM-related courses. The others will pursue diverse fields, including political science, economics, psychology, international relations and law. For the first time too, we have award recipients studying Information Systems Technology and Design, which is timely given the expanding cyber threats.”

A total of 36 DSTA Scholarships, nine SAF Scholarships, eight Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security, 16 SAF Merit Scholarships, six SAF Engineering Scholarships, 10 Defence Merit Scholarships, and five SAF Medicine Scholarships were presented at the ceremony.

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DSTA Scholarship recipient Esmanda Wong, who will be studying Computer Science at the National University of Singapore, said: “DSTA appeals to me greatly as it will allow me to apply what I learn in Computer Science to help make Singapore a safer and more secure place for my family and friends.”

Another recipient was Alvin Tan, who will pursue a double degree in Computer Science and Economics at Nanyang Technological University. A self-taught programmer, Alvin became interested in the applications of digital technology for defence during his National Service days as a security trooper at Changi Air Base.

“I saw there were a lot of applications of tech in the security field. For instance, we can use artificial intelligence in surveillance, such as video analytics in monitoring systems, and unmanned vehicles for patrols. That reduces a lot of manpower and increases efficiency in the air base," he said. Alvin hopes to bring his passion in programming and IT to work on real-life projects and make a positive contribution in the areas of artificial intelligence and IT for Singapore.

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Esmanda (Left) and Alvin receiving their scholarship certificates from Dr Ng.