University Awards
Recognising Excellence
  • A dedicated educator at heart, Prof Tan brought about transformational changes as Director of National Institute of Education (NIE) through championing educational reform in teacher education, school leadership and both content and pedagogical research. He played an instrumental role in growing NIE into an internationally acclaimed institute of education for teachers.
  • As Director and CEO of Science Centre Singapore, he revolutionised the Centre into a vibrant institution for disseminating knowledge in science and technology not only to students and teachers but to all sectors of the community. This was done through skilful packaging of scientific concepts made comprehensible to the public.
  • His pivotal role in the establishment of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum demonstrates his vision and leadership, as well as the deep lasting impact he has created in education and research. He supervised all aspects of the project, including fundraising, design and relocation of the existing collection from the former Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.
  • Prof Tan was Chairman of the National Museum Development Committee that saw the birth of the National Heritage Board. During his term as Chairman of National Parks Board, the Gardens by the Bay was initiated. As a passionate advocate for the environment, he championed Encyclopaedia of Singapore Biodiversity, a seminal compendium of the nation’s biodiversity. He played an instrumental role in the project, including securing $1.2 million in donations.
  • Prof Tan was actively involved in two major research projects — regeneration of mangroves and undertaking surveys of the flora and fauna of the mangroves, intertidal zone and seagrass beds following the creation of Singapore’s first landfill at Semakau; as well as a comprehensive marine biodiversity survey of Singapore’s coastal environment.
  • Prof Tan is Board Member of Mandai Park Holdings, which oversees the development of a new eco-attraction for Singapore. As a consultant for the Mandai Environmental Impact Assessment Study, he evaluates the project’s impact on the environment and considers protective measures.
  • As the Asia-Europe Foundation Governor for Singapore, Prof Tan upholds the aims of the Foundation, which include strengthening Asia- Europe ties and exploring opportunities for cooperation. He is lauded internationally for his expertise in science and education, and was an Honorary Visiting Professor at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham, UK. He has also been invited to serve as Education Consultant by World Bank and Madagascar’s Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research.
  • Meritorious Service Medal, Singapore (2016)
  • President’s Award for the Environment, Singapore (2007)
  • Public Administration Medal (Gold)(Bar), Singapore (2007)
  • National Order of Merit (Officer), France (2002)
  • Public Service Star, Singapore (2001)
  • National Science and Technology Medal, Singapore (1999)
  • Public Administration Medal (Gold), Singapore (1988)
"Universities must evolve to stay relevant to society and I know NUS will persist in adapting and changing to continually meet the aspirations of our lifelong learning nation."