The NUS Singapore Prize and Its Shortlist

singapore prize

The NUS Singapore History Prize was created in 2014, and is awarded in three year cycles. It is open to all works that deal with Singapore’s history, whether written or translated into English, by creators from any country. The prize was mooted by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, who wrote that a shared imagination of the past is a crucial glue that holds societies together.

The shortlist for the NUS History Prize features works with a more personal slant, such as Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam (2019, available here) by Hidayah Amin, which shines a light on the history of a heritage royal building in the heart of Kampong Glam. The NUS prize’s criteria and mechanism for selecting a winner in a given three year cycle will be determined by the judges, with a closing nomination date at least a year in advance of the prize being awarded.

NAC’s statement also noted that the prize money “will not be used for any purpose other than to provide financial support to the winning entrant.” It added that the fund will not be allocated for promotional purposes or be disbursed to individuals who have won a prize, including entrants themselves, their families, and their agents.

While state funding has helped many of the arts sector’s most prominent practitioners to flourish, some critics have argued that it can also be used as an instrument for censorship. This was highlighted when the NAC’s decision to withdraw funding to a contemporary dance project was criticized by some members of parliament.

The heir to the British throne, Prince William, will travel to Singapore next month to attend the third annual Earthshot Prize awards, which spotlight innovation projects that seek to address climate change. His visit will include events that will spotlight the prize’s finalists, and a summit organized by the United for Wildlife conservation group.

At Changi Airport, the royal will see a tree planted in his honor at the Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. During his trip, he will also meet Singaporeans who are working to combat the illegal trade of wildlife products that has swelled to an estimated $20 billion per year globally.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore was quick to begin testing wastewater for traces of the virus, mirroring efforts elsewhere in the world. This was largely due to the work of Dutch microbiologist Professor Gertjan Medema, who was awarded this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize for his contributions in the field of wastewater-based epidemiology. His research proved that tracking traces of the virus in wastewater can help to identify and track outbreaks earlier, and prevent them from spreading. The award is backed by an endowment of $2 million, and is governed under the University’s Statute 7 on Gifts to the University and its corresponding Regulation.