LKY Scholars
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Inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Scholars announced

Three outstanding young scholars are set to begin the next stage of their studies at Fitzwilliam College after receiving the prestigious inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Scholarships.

The recipients of the scholarships – which are generously funded by the Hong Leong Foundation and the Kuok Family – were formally announced by the Master of Fitzwilliam College, Professor Nicola Padfield, at a ceremony in Singapore on Friday 14 September. 

Fitzwilliam College established the scholarships in honour of Lee Kuan Yew, who studied Law at Fitzwilliam from 1947-1949 and was later an Honorary Fellow of the College. They are designed for talented Masters and PhD students working in fields connected to Singapore, and reflect Lee Kuan Yew’s strong belief in the power of education.

Isabelle Lim (MPhil in English Studies), Aisha Sobey (PhD in Architecture) and Yong Ren Tan (PhD in Chemical Engineering) will begin their programmes at Fitzwilliam College in October 2018. In addition to the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarships, they have also received funding from the Cambridge Trust, the Trinity Henry Barlow scheme and The Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore (CARES). 

Isabelle Lim’s scholarship is funded by the generous support of the Hong Leong Foundation. She will study for an MPhil in English Studies, and plans to focus her research on the study of Singaporean literature in relation to postcolonial urban planning. Prior to her scholarship at Fitzwilliam College, Isabelle studied at the University of Chicago.

Aisha Sobey and Yong Ren Tan’s scholarships are funded by the generous support of the Kuok Family. Aisha will study for a PhD in Architecture, focusing on an evaluation of the impact of Smart City technology on inequality in Singapore. Yong Ren’s research will explore strategies for developing green and sustainable biofuels to reduce carbon emissions, both in Singapore and globally, and will focus on understanding soot formation during combustion of biofuels. Yong Ren will pursue his PhD research both in Singapore, as part of the Cambridge CARES research centre (, and in Cambridge.

Professor Nicola Padfield, Master of Fitzwilliam College, said “This announcement today marks a really exciting and a very personal step forward in Fitzwilliam College's continuing relationship with Singapore. By building on the memory of Lee Kuan Yew, a great scholar in his time at Cambridge, the College is now enabled to support a new generation of scholars to make their own contributions, in their very different fields. Whether it is a question of exploring the impact of the Smart Nation project in reducing inequality, or seeking to reduce environmental pollution by better understanding the soot formation of fuels, or examining knowledge production and liberal arts education in a post-colonial world – these three scholars have won their funding against very serious competition and we celebrate tonight both their success and the fantastic generosity of our benefactors.”  

Over the past century more than 150 students from Singapore have come to Fitzwilliam College. The Lee Kuan Yew Fitzwilliam Scholarships will build on this historic connection by investing in the next generation of outstanding young scholars, and promoting intellectual exchange between Singapore and the University of Cambridge.

Photo: Yong Ren Tan, Professor Nicola Padfield, Dr Lee Suan Yew, and Isabelle Lim at a private Fitzwilliam College alumni event at the Tanglin Club, Singapore.

Applications for the academic year 2019/20 scholarship scheme opened on 1 September 2018, and details are available at

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