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28 November 2022 Parliamentary Replies

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on whether non-Singapore citizens can be granted PSC, A-STAR and NRF scholarships and fellowships

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on whether non-Singapore citizens can be granted PSC, A*STAR and NRF scholarships and fellowships

Parliamentary Sitting: 28 Nov 2022

Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether individuals who are not Singapore citizens can be granted Public Service Commission, A*Star and National Research Foundation scholarships and fellowships; (b) if so, whether they are required to become Singapore citizens prior to commencement of the scholarship or fellowship; (c) if so, how many have done so; and (d) how many have subsequently renounced their Singapore citizenship.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarships, A*STAR Scholarships and Fellowships, and the National Research Foundation Fellowships are established to serve different purposes.  

PSC Scholarships

PSC Scholarships are targeted at outstanding young Singaporeans who are committed to a career in the public service to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.  Hence the current policy is that only Singaporeans are eligible to apply for the PSC Scholarships. 

A*Star Scholarships and Fellowships

The A*STAR Scholarships are aimed at nurturing a pipeline of locally-based scientific talent who can contribute towards Singapore’s future economy, society and science.  Considering only those who are Singaporeans at the time of application would limit our selection pool given the size of Singapore’s population.  

The majority of A*STAR scholars are Singaporeans. Foreign-born scholars, including Singapore PRs, who take up the overseas scholarships such as the National Science Scholarship (NSS) are required, under the terms of their scholarship award, to take up Singapore citizenship no later than the 3rd year of their studies, and for the A*STAR International Fellowship (AIF), prior to embarking on their fellowship. 

Non-SC/non-SPRs who take up the local PhD scholarships under A*STAR are contractually obliged to work in a Singapore-based entity for three years upon completion of their PhD studies if they have not obtained SC/SPR.

A*STAR has awarded scholarships to over 1,700 individuals. Of this, approximately 300 individuals were Singapore PRs/foreign nationals at the point of scholarship award, making up ~18% of A*STAR’s scholar population. To date, about 90% of these scholars have applied for and have been granted SC, and about 10% are in various stages of applying for Singapore citizenship. 

A*STAR is not aware of scholars who have subsequently renounced their Singapore citizenship.

Beyond building a strong local core, A*STAR recognises that a diversity of talent is needed to strengthen Singapore’s R&D ecosystem. A*STAR also provides awards/attachments to international PhD and pre-PhD students. These students contribute to a diverse graduate student community in Singapore and help to strengthen A*STAR and Singapore’s network of international linkages.

NRF Fellowships

The National Research Foundation Fellowship provides research funding to outstanding early-career researchers to carry out research in Singapore’s Autonomous Universities and research institutions. To allow Singapore to benefit from the global research talent pool, early-career researchers of all nationalities can submit their applications through an annual open competitive call. There is no requirement for these Fellows to take on Singapore citizenship.