SINGAPORE – British scientists and Swiss business executives were presented with national awards on Thursday (25 August) for their contributions to Singapore.

Professor David Lane, Honorary Senior Fellow of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Walter Kielholz, Honorary Chairman of Swiss Re, received an Honorary Citizen Award from President Halima Yacob in Istana.

The award is the highest recognition for foreigners and is awarded for life to those who have made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of Singapore.

Professor Lane, 70, received a leadership appointment at A*Star’s Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology and was responsible for establishing what is now known as the Center for Experimental Drug Development.

He played a key role in attracting industry investment and scientific talent, and was named A*Star’s Chief Scientist in 2009.

He was also instrumental in the discovery of the p53 oncogene in 1979 and was knighted in 2000 for his contributions to cancer research.

His expertise in this area led him to found and lead A*Star’s p53 lab. It is one of the world’s leading laboratories specializing in genetics.

Meanwhile, 71-year-old Kielholz is one of the longest-serving members of the International Advisory Board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from 2009 to 2021.

The committee advised MAS on its financial strategy and Mr Kielholz provided insights to strengthen the competitiveness of Singapore’s financial sector.

During his time as Chairman of Swiss Re, he supported the expansion of the company’s presence in Singapore and in 2018 the reinsurer established its Asia Pacific regional headquarters here.

Under his leadership, Swiss Re also supported several industry initiatives here. This included co-developing and applying methodologies to assess the equity of insurance predictive underwriting using artificial intelligence and data analytics as part of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Both men said they were honored to receive the award.

Professor Lane said, “I am deeply grateful to have been able to contribute to Singapore’s growth in biomedicine.

He said the city-state has become a vibrant hub of science and innovation and a strong pool of locally grown scientific talent.

Kielholz said he was grateful to be part of Singapore’s journey to become a global financial hub.

“I first visited Singapore in 1976.

“Over the years, I have witnessed Singapore transform into the leading global financial and fintech hub it is today, becoming a model for other countries to follow.”

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