THE number of science-trained doctors in Singapore is set to double by 2015, as the Government announced its target of training more clinician-scientists.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a $3.7 billion, five-year boost to the biomedical sciences research and development budget, announced earlier this month.

That sum is part of a $16.1 billion research and development kitty for the next five years, most of which is intended to increase economic outcomes and industry value from research and development activities.

Speaking at a scientific conference yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said a key goal was to have 160 such researchers by 2015, up from the current 80. The conference at Suntec Convention Centre was jointly hosted for the first time by health-care group SingHealth and the Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) medical school.

These scientists, who also treat patients, get dedicated time to do their research and are the 'critical link' to help convert biomedical laboratory research into medical applications, DPM Teo said. Such efforts are important to ensure that health care remains affordable, to meet the needs of Singapore's ageing population.

But the current shortage of clinician-scientists is a key bottleneck to growing industry collaborations, he pointed out. 'Grooming a larger pipeline of world-class clinician-scientists is therefore a priority,' he said.

More doctor-scientists by 2015