Top young minds meet for science challenge

Some of the world's top young minds will put their research and fieldwork skills to the test this week in this year's Singapore International Science Challenge (SISC).

The biannual event, launched on Monday, features 19 high school teams from countries such as the United States, China, Russia and Japan, and eight local junior college and IP school teams.

This year's theme is water issues and students will discuss how to ensure clean water for a global population, among many topics. They will present their research projects on topics ranging from diabetes prevention to water filtration in rural areas. They will also explore the hydrology of the Kallang River in a new fieldwork challenge and develop concepts for a floating city.

Teams will be reshuffled in each part of the challenge to promote greater international collaboration.

"It's rare for us to work with people from so many different countries. I'm definitely excited to see what new perspectives others come up with," said Sarah Binka, 16, from Australia's Aberfoyle Park High.

The students, aged 15 to 18, will also see their work published in an inaugural edition of the SISC Proceedings, an academic publication reviewed by the National University of Singapore and Agency for Science, Technology and Research academics.

"It's crazy that we get to publish at this age," said National Junior College (NJC) participant Andrew Ng, 16. "Scientists usually take many years of hard work to get there."

Taking place alongside the challenge is a conference for science teachers from different countries to develop lesson packages on selected topics.

"We hope that packages with global examples will give students more international perspective," said NJC teacher and challenge co-organiser Allan Goh.

Awards for best scientist and best team will be given out at the closing ceremony on Friday.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew launched the five-day challenge at NJC on Monday.

He said: "The vital challenges that we face are on a globalised level - climate change, water, food security and energy. This is a time where you can build strong networks and identify potential partners to work with in time to come."


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