sustainABLE NUS Showcase 2017
Students and staff from the Faculty of Science explained their research and education programmes to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Mr Masagos ZULKIFLI in an inaugural two-day event, sustainable NUS Showcase 2017, held on 29 and 30 August.
This exhibition drew together a number of key NUS’ initiatives to create a sustainable model city of tomorrow, in some instances using the university itself as a testbed for the innovations.
Guest-of-Honour Mr Masagos Zulkifli heard from project researcher, Foo Maosheng on how Faculty of Science researchers are planning to use Black Soldier Fly larvae to recycle food waste in Singapore. This could help produce a significant proportion of the animal feed needed for chickens and fishes, and fertilisers for farming in Singapore
One of the educational programmes featured is the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) programme. BES seeks to create agents of change who are passionate about the environment, scientifically informed about the issues, and creative in generating solutions and opportunities. The programme coordinator further explained other activities lined up for this year, including the nature guiding group BES Drongos, which seeks to help members of the public appreciate conservation issues on walking tours.
On the research front, NUS hosts the Marine Science Research and Development Programme. This is a $25 million national initiative by the Singapore National Research Foundation to conduct strategic research on the island’s marine ecosystems. A number of key projects have been designed and performed by Faculty of Science professors. Prof HUANG Danwei, Department of Biological Sciences, leads a project to study the adaptation of coral reefs to environmental changes. This is particularly important to understand and stabilise the coral reefs along Singapore’s coastline. Prof Peter TODD, also Department of Biological Sciences, on the other hand, leads a project to engineer Singapore’s seawalls to include greater habitat complexity that his team has shown to enhance biodiversity.
Prof Darren YEO, Department of Biological Sciences, also explained to the public how his lab’s research collaborations with PUB, the National Water Agency, explore enhanced reservoir sustainability and restoration in Singapore. In particular, his research investigates how biological approaches, for example using a combination of different aquatic plants, can improve the quality of raw water, without having to use chemicals. These approaches are therefore more environmentally- and ecologically-friendly.
Profs Rudolf MEIER and Hugh TAN, also from Department of Biological Sciences, showcased their project on a possible food waste to food security transformation pathway in Singapore. This project shows how a part of the huge amount of food waste generated daily in a highly urbanised society, such as Singapore, can potentially be converted into Black Soldier Fly larvae, a high-quality animal feed for chickens and fishes, as well as fertilisers for vegetable farming. This method of waste-to-food conversion could contribute towards Singapore’s food sustainability efforts.
The other featured projects studied eco-efficient waste treatment and monitoring technologies, bio-economic modelling towards sustainable development and the generation of free renewable energy out of carbon dioxide and water.
Prof Darren Yeo’s lab’s research on aquatic food webs can help Singapore develop potentially cheaper and more ecologically-friendly ways to manage or improve the raw water quality in our reservoirs for enhanced sustainability
Prof Huang Danwei’s research on coral reefs helps Singapore understand the complex issues at heart in the interplay between shipping activities and biodiversity preservation along Singapore’s coastline
Prof Peter Todd’s team has designed, built and installed complex habitats that help bring back biodiversity to our seawalls