Scientific collaboration key to solving global challenges like climate change: DPM Heng

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SINGAPORE - A strong spirit of collaboration will not only see the world through the Covid-19 pandemic, but will be crucial in solving other global challenges like climate change, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Jan 17).

Addressing young scientists at a virtual summit, he cited how thousands of scientists had contributed to the climate field after American scientist Eunice Foote discovered the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide in 1856 and made a conjecture on how it could influence global temperatures.

He said: "Today, with this body of knowledge, we are able to robustly model the effects of climate change. In other related fields, scientists have made clean energy sources more viable - from solar, to wind, and, increasingly, hydrogen."

"New discoveries and innovations have enabled sustainable human development at a reduced cost to the environment," added DPM Heng in a pre-recorded opening address at the 2022 Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS), which is held virtually this year.

The annual summit, which runs from Monday until Friday and is hosted by the National Research Foundation (NRF), will feature 21 eminent scientists and Nobel laureates and engage over 800 young researchers from 40 countries.

The summit, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, was also attended by former president and GYSS patron, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam. He had decided to organise a forum for global young scientists to gather in Singapore after his visit to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 2010 when he was then the NRF chairman. The Lindau meetings, established in 1951, bring together Nobel laureates and young scientists for a science conference.

Dr Tan also received a special anniversary publication that showcased the summit's 10-year history and achievements - such as having hosted nearly 4,000 participants from 50 countries.

In his opening speech, Mr Heng, who is the NRF's current chairman, said that the path from research discovery to implementation at scale is often a multi-year, if not a multi-decade journey.

He added: "This requires not just working in global partnerships, but also deep commitment and sustained investment."

Citing the example of Newater and Singapore's journey towards water sustainability, Mr Heng said that the country had initially explored the idea of water recycling in the 1970s, but it was only until much later that the technology had b...

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