Singapore Prize Winners Announced

The winners of this year’s Singapore Prize were announced on Tuesday (May 21). Among the five winning categories, the top award in the science category went to Gunnlaugur Erlendsson of Sweden for his work designing tyres that are more sustainable and reduce tyre pollution. His work could lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gases from vehicles, which is a key source of climate change. The runner-up in the science category was Hong Kong-based researcher Wu Wenhua for her discovery of a natural antidepressant, which can ease depression and other mental disorders.

The winner of the art category was Singapore-based artist Tan Wee Hwa, whose works explore the theme of the human body. She was praised for her use of colour, shape and line to create works that are both beautiful and thought-provoking.

This year’s winners in the business category were SME companies that have differentiated themselves through branding. Jointly organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) and Lianhe Zaobao, the awards recognise businesses that are both competitive and innovative.

In addition to the five winning categories, the prizes also honour outstanding sportspeople and teams. The finalists are selected from the nominations received from various sports associations, and are chosen by a panel of judges comprising former athletes and representatives from the sport industry.

A new category was introduced in 2024 to recognise the efforts of home-grown translators, comic book authors and debut writers. The new categories are in addition to the existing prize categories for poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction written in Singapore’s four languages.

An additional ten shortlisted writers have been honoured for their outstanding work in English and Chinese literature. Clara Chow became the first writer in the history of the prize to be shortlisted in three separate categories and two different languages — she was shortlisted in the English fiction, Chinese fiction and English creative nonfiction categories.

The prize, named after Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, is awarded every two years to cities that are deemed to be living up to the criteria of creating liveable and sustainable urban communities. The 2020 winner was Vienna, which was chosen after a convincing submission.

In a speech at the ceremony, Prince William said that the prize was designed to encourage and inspire young people to find solutions to global challenges, including climate change. He added that it was important to look beyond “silver bullet” technologies and focus on achieving the bigger picture. The prize money — PS1 million apiece for each of the five winners — will be used to scale up their ideas. During his visit, the royal will meet scientists and entrepreneurs to discuss their work and hear about the challenges they face. He will also plant a Tembusu sapling at the Jewel at Changi Airport, in memory of the late Queen Mother, and unveil a plaque to mark the launch of the prize. He is due to leave Singapore on Friday (May 23). During his trip, the prince will travel to Myanmar and the US.