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Speech by Professor Tan Chorh Chuan at the Embassy of France in Singapore

Speech by Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Chief Health Scientist, Ministry of Health & Executive Director, MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation at the Embassy of France in Singapore on 26 April 2022

Ambassador Marc Abensour,

Distinguished Guests,

Fellow award recipients,

Ladies and Gentlemen.


It is a great pleasure to be at this ceremony for the conferment of the Legion of Honor (“Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”) by the French Government.

I am extremely honoured to be receiving this prestigious award alongside my fellow colleagues Professor Leo Yee Sin, and Professor Laurent Rénia who is receiving the National Order of Merit (“Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite”) award.

It is very fortunate and meaningful that we could gather for this ceremony, and for me to have the opportunity to share this honour with all of you in-person.

We have come a long way in our fight against COVID-19. Research and innovation, and international partnerships were absolutely critical in providing the world with the scientific insights and tools needed to control the pandemic. These in turn were built on decades of prior investment in basic research, and extensive collaborations between scientists across many disciplines and countries.

Key France-Singapore S&T collaboration

In this regard, Singapore and France have enjoyed deep R&D partnerships and linkages between our innovation ecosystems. These reflect the broader, excellent, and longstanding relations and cooperation underpinned by our Strategic Partnership.

Following the inception of the France-Singapore Year of Innovation (YOI) in 2018, we have maintained the momentum and established the France-Singapore Joint Committee on Science and Innovation (JCSI) in 2019.

These collaborations have enabled us to enhance and promote higher education, research and innovation in areas of common interest, including industry partnerships, and developing entrepreneurial ecosystems in both countries.

A noteworthy example is the France-Singapore Scientific Working Group on Infectious Diseases (SWGID). This is a very timely initiative proposed by Ambassador Abensour and coordinated by Professor Leo Yee Sin. It was set up to jointly look at infectious disease research using COVID-19 as a starting point.

Beyond public health, we also share common interests in advancing research in key areas such as AI, Synthetic Biology and Agrifoodtech.

These common interests have led to the inception of CNRS@CREATE in 2019. We are very honoured that this is the French National Centre for Scientific Research’s first overseas subsidiary, with 4 International Research Labs (IRLs) based in Singapore at the CREATE campus to support transdisciplinary research programmes.

It is very heartening that the enthusiasm and interest to collaborate continues to grow within the research and innovation communities in Singapore and France. This will pave the way to further deepen the strong relations that Singapore and France already enjoy.

In closing, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Ambassador Abensour and the French Embassy for your strong support and valued partnership, and the Government of France for bestowing this signal honour upon me.

Thank you.

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