Singapore Prize Finalists and Runners-Up

singapore prize

The list of prizes in Singapore is long and varied – from national honours to international accolades. Whether it is the President’s Science and Technology Awards, Enterprise 50 or Neo4j’s graph database technology award, some of the country’s best-known names have made their mark. Others have pushed the boundaries of innovation and sustainability, creating new connections across disciplines.

The finalists of the inaugural 2023 singapore prize were feted at an event attended by Britain’s Prince William on Tuesday (November 2023). Winners in five categories ranging from a solar-powered dryer to a soil carbon marketplace and an organisation that helps restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing were handed out during the award ceremony in Victoria Theatre.

Runners-up and honourable mentions were also awarded at the event, with Neo4j winning in the Graph Database Technology category. The company, which offers an open source software platform that can store and manage structured data, was praised for its ability to provide the ability to see “the bigger picture” from multiple perspectives. The company was also lauded for its commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

A number of new prizes have emerged in recent years to recognise the work of Singaporeans and their achievements in various sectors. These include the NUS History Prize, which was established in 2014 as a way to honour Singapore’s republic history. The first prize was awarded to archaeologist John Miksic for his book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800. It was chosen by a panel comprising historian Kishore Mahbubani, Wang Gungwu of the National University of Singapore East Asian Institute and academics Claire Chiang and Peter A. Coclanis.

Other new Singapore prizes include the Home is Where We Are literary award, which aims to promote writing that highlights the everyday lives of Singaporeans. Its shortlist includes poets Yeow Kai Chai and Pooja Nansi and nonagenarian writers Wang Gungwu and Suratman Markasan, who are among those vying for this year’s award. The prize also has a translation category, which is being reintroduced after a gap of two years.

In the science sector, the President’s Science and Technology Awards was launched in 2009 to recognise outstanding scientists and engineers in Singapore. Winners of the prestigious accolade are expected to play a key role in upholding research excellence and strengthening the country’s growing community of scientific talent.

The NUS Singapore History Prize, which was established in 2014 as part of the nation’s golden jubilee celebrations, rewards books that have made a lasting contribution to our understanding of the country’s past. This year, 192 books were submitted for the award, including two titles that are being considered for the 2024 prize: historian Kwa Chong Guan’s Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore and Kamaladevi Aravindan’s novel Sembawang. Both have a strong focus on ordinary Singaporeans and their stories, foregoing the traditional view of history as a record of big movers and shakers.