Foreword by Vice Dean of Research

Assoc Prof Jennifer Neo

The international standing of an academic institution is largely measured by its research activities and output.

In reflecting on the past year, I am indeed gratified to see the serious commitment of staff in helping to fulfill the Faculty's vision of achieving excellence in research. The publication output in the Faculty has increased significantly, to a ratio of 1.63 per staff. More importantly, the quality of publications has improved considerably; more than half of the published papers were in top premier journals. Research funding, from both the University and external sources, has also increased significantly over the last few years. In addition, we have secured new research facilities, with a research laboratory in our new premises on Level 4. Work on the DMRI continues and should be ready by 2003.

The Faculty is doing its utmost to cultivate a strong research culture among staff. In addition to the twenty-four full-time staff strength, we will have a total of fifteen research scholars by January 2002. We have also hired a new research scientist, with plans for another two to follow. Residency students in the new three-year programme will have to complete a research thesis as partial fulfillment of their Master's degree. Undergraduates continue to undertake compulsory research projects in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme.

The Faculty has made a strong effort at internationalisation. This is amply reflected in the list of institutions with which we have established research links. For example, we continue to collaborate and develop joint research projects with the University of Iowa in the US, the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, and the University of Helsinki in Finland. This year, we signed an MOU with the University of North Carolina, one of the top dental institutions in USA. Our MOU with the Karolinska Institutet has led to the convening of the First KI-NUS Life Sciences Symposium to be held in February 2002.

In the last seven years as Vice Dean for Research, I have worked with the Dean and Heads to develop and to cultivate a strong research priority among staff. Whilst we have made good progress, there is more to be done. At the recent IAP visit, the 2 factors that still needs to be addressed include the lack of manpower and space. As I hand over the baton of my Vice-Deanship, I wish to put on record that my job was made easier with the leadership of the past and present Dean, and the support of my colleagues and administrative staff. I thank you all. It has been a worthwhile experience.

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