Header

Happy Lunar New Year to all our readers!

This newsletter highlights the work carried out by the non-profit philanthropic organisations funded by Temasek Trust, and the stories of their various beneficiaries.

1st Quarter 2014 Newsletter

2014-1q-story1

Building Green Champions Among Our Youth

In November 2013, Singapore Technologies Endowment Programme (STEP) partnered with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in an initiative called the STEP-NUS Sunburst Environment Programme, which aims to groom eco-friendly guardians among the youth of Asia. 130 young participants were invited to join this initiative and become champions of environmental protection.   

Launched by the Guest of Honour, Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, this weeklong programme saw youths aged 13 to 15, from Singapore, China and India spend time together engaging with environmental experts from around the world, on topics such as climate change, air pollution, biodiversity and sustainability.

Addressing the students at the RELC Auditorium in Singapore, Ms Fu stated that environmental issues couldn’t be solved in isolation, since they do not observe physical and sovereign boundaries. She cited the recent haze problem as an example, and said, “an approach of global inclusion and shared responsibility is needed because the youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and thus they must develop a thorough understanding of the issues.” 

To reinforce their commitment to the environment, participants were asked to write and present a paper on an environmental topic. Study visits were arranged to the Tropical Marine Science Institute’s St. John Island Laboratory, Sungei Buloh and Bukit Timah Nature Reserves, NEWater Plant and URA’s City Gallery.  Students were also encouraged to do their part to protect the environment by planning an environmental project in their own country.

In the words of one of the participants, Jonathan Chee, 14, from Bukit View Secondary School: “I’d like to know how changes in our climate affect our economy, way of life and food production. I hope this programme will ignite passion in terms of environmental awareness.” 15-year-old Krish Desai from India said he wanted to “venture into research and politics to increase food security and tilt laws in favour of the poor.”

STEP in partnership with NUS plans to continue building environmental champions through this programme in 2014 and beyond.

2014-1q-story2

Rehabilitation Made More Fun For Recovering Patients

A session of physical rehabilitation or road safety training could soon become more appealing for patients recovering from the effects of strokes, falls and dementia. The initiative currently features four game-based prototypes designed to improve the rehabilitation experience and are available at two Day Rehabilitation Centres in Singapore: AWWA Readycare Centre in Ang Mo Kio and St. Andrew's Community Hospital in Simei.

This was made possible by Temasek Cares, Singapore Polytechnic and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), with the launch of the Temasek Cares-TRiC programme (Technology-Assisted Rehabilitation in The Community), in October 2013.

One such prototype is the Bilateral Limb Manipulator, which supports the movements of the user's affected limb. Mr Eric Ho, Manager of AIC's Care Integration Division, explained that the equipment could also help elderly people who suffer from conditions such as strokes, to find their balance and dodge on-coming traffic, by practicing on a floor projection system, which simulates road-crossing scenarios. 

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Amy Khor, who launched this initiative, said, "the programme is timely as Singapore grapples with the challenges of a rapidly ageing population."

If the programme continues to be successful, AIC will extend the innovations to more Day Rehabilitation Centres around Singapore.

2014-1q-story3

Using Sustainable Aquaculture for Safer and More Affordable Food

Global fish stocks are decreasing due to overfishing. In parallel, the demand for fish continues to rise globally, driven by increasing public awareness of its health benefits. This situation is not sustainable in the long term.

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) has partnered with several agencies, such as the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, to deploy sustainable aquaculture, which plays an important role in contributing to food security. This involves the cultivation of fish with good feed conversion ratios in a commercially viable and ecologically friendly way.

To that end, two collaborating teams at TLL, led by both Prof Laszlo Orban and Dr Yue Gen Hua respectively, collected genetically diverse varieties of Asian seabass (barramundi) for the purpose of selective breeding. This process does not involve genetic modification; the strongest and healthiest are chosen from among the offspring of mass-crossed parents through the use of cutting-edge molecular technologies. Using this approach, the scientists look to improve growth rate and disease resistance, as well as maximise levels of omega-3 fatty acids, relative to those of fish grown by other farming practices.

In November 2013, a delegation led by National Development Minister, Khaw Boon Wan, visited TLL to witness a modular pilot scale automated Recirculating Aquaculture System, which can potentially supply over eight million kg of food fish per year. This would be sufficient to provide for half a million people, using a small land footprint equivalent to four blocks of HDB flats.

 “It is important that research ultimately leads to economic and societal benefits,” said Prof Orban. “As a result of this process, safer and higher quality seafood can be made available to consumers at an affordable price.” 

2014-1q-story4

Tele-Rehabilitation Made Available to Elderly Stroke Patients

Did you know that only a quarter of stroke patients discharged from local hospitals continue with rehabilitation? The main reasons behind this are the physical, social and financial obstacles patients face getting to rehabilitation centres from their homes.

Associate Prof Gerald Koh, a public health physician specialised in geriatric rehabilitation, who passionately believes that stroke patients need to continue with post-discharge therapy, has teamed up with Associate Prof Arthur Tay and Dr Yen Shih-Cheng from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in NUS to develop tele-medicine as a way to overcome these barriers.

Tele-medicine allows patients to remain in their homes, while communicating in real-time with their therapists. With the generous support of the Singapore Millennium Foundation and in partnership with the National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, the team has developed a low-cost tele-rehabilitation system incorporating real-time video-conferencing, so that therapists can communicate with their patients remotely.  Using wireless motion sensors worn by patients on their wrists or arms, data is transmitted to the therapist via the internet, allowing them to monitor and prescribe suitable alternative exercises, remotely. 

The study has progressed into a clinical trial of one to two years, and the team hopes to develop the system further to support other acutely disabled patients, beyond stokes, to access affordable and effective rehabilitation.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 17th January 2014 - NCSS and Temasek CARES' Bursary Helps Children with Special Needs Access Early Intervention Programmes. [more]
  • 9th December 2013 -  MAS and Temasek Foundation Provide Technical Assistance to Central Banks in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam[more]
  • 24th October 2013  - Singapore to Share Public-Private Partnerships Experience on Water and Waste Water Infrastructure Projects with Indonesia. [more]

Click here to view all media releases.