A*Star scientist to stop taking applications for 'No Star' grant

A*Star scientist to stop taking applications for 'No Star' grant

THE Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) scientist who started an arts grant out of her own salary will stop accepting new applications by Sunday.

Dr Eng Kai Er, 30, wrote in her blog three weeks ago that she has received a "huge number of applications and an abundance of great proposals".

She added: "I am sorry to announce that I will close applications on March 1 so that the number of proposals I will eventually have to reject will not continue to increase."

The scientist had started the "No Star Arts Grant" last October to protest against her bond to a job she is not interested in.

She is serving out her six-year bond with A*Star for two scholarships she had taken to study at Britain's Cambridge University and Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute.

Dr Eng, who is also a dancer and choreographer, declined to be interviewed when The Straits Times contacted her last week.

She wrote in her blog last year that she "understands the pain of having a paid job that is not aligned with her interests" and the arts grant was her way of helping more people get jobs they are interested in.

Under the grant, she has promised to give $1,000 each month from her own salary to support different arts projects until October this year.

Her actions stirred controversy.

Some thought she showed a lack of appreciation for the money spent on her, while others felt the Government should let scholarship holders serve bonds in their areas of interest.

So far, five projects have received funding under Dr Eng's arts grant.

Last month, she gave out two grants of $1,000 each to two projects - one to playwright Joel Tan, and the other to performance artist Loo Zihan.

leepearl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 24, 2015.
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