A simple device for providing clean drinking water and a climate-mapping tool are two innovations to receive the World Future Foundation (WFF) PhD prize. The prize, awarded to five National University of Singapore (NUS) PhD students every year, was made possible thanks to a gift from WFF, an organisation that supports environmental technology and sustainable development.
Mr Lu Bo, Managing Director of WFF says, “WFF was founded based on observations that the way man is living, the rate at which we consume and how we are managing the planet have become unsustainable. To repair and fix the future, we have made it our mission to spearhead innovation and seek science-driven solutions that can steer the world towards a sustainable future.”
Dr Liu Hongjun, a former NUS PhD student, was awarded the WFF prize in 2011 for his invention, a nanosilver ceramic filter in straws and bottles that can turn water from rivers and ponds almost instantly into clean, safe water for drinking. The idea was developed after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China.
A year later, Dr Liu founded AGplus Technologies, a tech-social company, with the primary goal of developing advanced technologies and translating them into affordable products to alleviate societal problems such as the deprivation of safe drinking water. The company collaborates with humanitarian charity Mercy Relief to find new ways to bring clean water to poverty-stricken areas and crisis zones.
Dr Liu is thankful to WFF for inspiring him to take on a more committed role in social entrepreneurship.
With cities getting warmer, Indonesian-born researcher and inaugural WFF Prize winner Dr Steve Kardinal Jusuf has made it easier for urban planners and designers to identify ‘hot spots’ in urban areas with climate-mapping tool named STEVE (Screening Tool for Estate and Environment Evaluation).
The tool has been used to map places such as Punggol, one-north at Buona Vista, and Marina Bay.
“The WFF PhD Prize is an endorsement to researchers that their research is of good quality and may have a positive impact on other people’s lives. The Prize gave me confidence and recognition that my research has benefitted the society at large and has the potential to be improved further,” Dr Jusuf shares.
Since 2010, WFF has been awarding PhD Prizes to help nurture and empower a new generation of scientific talents capable of spearheading research and innovation in sustainability. The organisation has made a gift to award the WFF Prize from 2011 to 2015, and has plans to continue doing so.
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