RSI Projects available for Y5 students in 2017

Please apply at this link:

Deadline for applications is 3rd March (Fri) 4:00pm (note the change from what was advertised in some lectures). If you submit more than one application, only the latest submission will be considered.

Do note that you are also allowed to take RSI projects under the SRP programme. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified via email for an interview.

Pls email Dr Lee Zhiying at zhiying.lee at for any clarifications.

Code: RSI001
Title: Coral Feeding

Synopsis: Hermatypic “reef-building” corals are polytrophic: while mainly autotrophic (i.e. obtaining energy through photosynthesis by their symbiotic algae), they also acquire energy through heterotrophy (i.e. feeding on plankton and organic particulate). It has been suggested that corals’ abilities to feed on, and benefit from, particles in suspension or trapped in sediment is a major strategy allowing corals to persist in highly turbid reef environments, such as those found in Singapore. Corals have also been shown to ingest harmful inorganic particulates such as microplastics. This project will investigate 1) what some corals on Singapore reefs feed on in the field, and 2) controlled aquaria experiments to determine the feeding and prey capture abilities of corals (i.e. size and amounts of prey).

Looking for 2-3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng (RSI); Dr Jani Tanzil (NUS)

Pre-requisites: a) Independent and committed to the project; b) Interest in biology and conservation; c) able to commit to doing labwork during school holidays (at least 2 weeks of each holiday)

Remarks: Project will involve lots of micrscopy work

Contact: at


Code: RSI002
Title: Environmental Science – Non-coal activated carbon as rain garden supplements

Synopsis: Urbanization coupled with deforestation has resulted in major disruption of the microclimate as well as global climate. One aspect of the climate change is an upsetting of the hydrologic cycle leading to droughts and sudden storms. Pollution from industrialization and the urban way of life add to the problem as toxic contaminants such as heavy metals are washed into water ways regularly and particularly so during storms. This has spurred governments to put more effort into developing storm water management solutions. Rain gardens with its good water holding capacity and ability to sequester heavy metals from water bodies via adsorption by filter media poses as a very likely solution. Activated carbon (AC) that is already widely used to purify liquids and gases in a variety of applications is an attractive material to use in the filter layer of rain gardens. High costs however has restricts its applications. Moreover, commercial ACs are produced from coal, which is a non-renewable resource and coal mining also has devastating effects on the environment. This project explores the use of alternative natural materials in the production of low-cost AC that can be applied to rain gardens.

Looking for 2 -3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI)

Pre-requisites: a) Dedicated and committed to research work; b) able to commit to long hours of lab work during holidays; c) strong enthusiasm.

Contact: zhiying.lee at


Code: RSI003
Title: Characterizing Gourmet Coffees

Synopsis: Coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide. The growing presence of competitively priced gourmet coffee machines has made gourmet quality coffees so much more accessible to the individuals. This project involves the characterization and determination of the bioactive compounds of gourmet coffee using various analytical methods

Looking for 2-3 students

Principal Investigators: Dr Grace Lim

Pre-requisites: Committed and independent individuals with a strong background in chemistry

Contact: grace.lim at

Code: RSI004
Title: A study of anti-microbial properties of ternary Zr-based bulk metallic glasses

Synopsis:Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are a new class of engineering materials with interesting combination of properties that offer numerous potential applications. This project involves the synthesis of ternary Zr-based bulk metallic glasses with good glass forming abilities. The anti-microbial properties of ternary Zr-based BMGs in relationship with their glass forming ability and respective microstructures are then characterised.

Looking for 2-3 students

Principal Investigators: Dr Grace Lim (RSI), Dr Lee Zhiying (RSI)

Pre-requisites: Committed individuals with a strong interest in materials science and antimicrobial work

Contact: grace.lim at

Code: RSI005
Title: Inorganic oxide coatings on polypropylene separator films for lithium ion batteries

Synopsis:Rechargeable lithium ion batteries (LIB) are one of the most important and suitable power sources for portable electronics due to their light weight and high charge density. However, many are concerned about the safety of LIB as more cases of exploding batteries have been reported. This project aims to synthesize a new composite separator and characterize its thermal stability properties

Looking for 2-3 students

Principal Investigators: Dr Grace Lim (RSI), A/P Wang Qing (NUS)

Pre-requisites: Committed individuals who have an interest in materials science

Contact: grace.lim at


Code: RSI006
Title: Unravelling machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) on disruptive technologies.

Synopsis: Smart disruptive technologies such as gesture recognition in 3D space require increasingly complex hardware such as micro radars and adaptive algorithm to handle them. See Google project Soli for a better idea. This project works with the leading German engineering firm under Siemens, Infineon, tasked by Google and other technology companies to find a technology solution using machine learning and AI techniques.

Looking for 3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI) and an Infineon lead engineer

Pre-requisites: Any basic programming experience, or willing to learn. Basic understanding in machine learning or data analytics a plus, but not a pre-requisite.

Contact: guoxian.tan at

Code: RSI007
Title: 3D printed prosthetic hand

Synopsis: This project is an engineering project with an internship and experiential research program at TTSH to develop and test a 3D printed prosthetic hand with TTSH patients, under the advice and guidance of RSI scientist, TTSH medical doctor and TTSH prosthetic engineers.

Looking for 2-3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)

Contact: guoxian.tan at

Code: RSI008
Title: Image and Video Sensing

Synopsis: This project seeks to sense and predict large streams of big data to analyse using data and predictive analytics.

Looking for 2-3 students.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian (RSI)

Contact: guoxian.tan at

Sea Creatures workshop

During Science Fest this year we held a Sea Creatures workshop at the OpenLab.

Through a short lecture, we learnt about the key features of some common and some not-so-common marine organisms! Many of these can be found in Singapore waters!

In the second part of the workshop, everyone got to sew their very own little sea creature. It didn’t matter if they had sewing experience or not, the fluffy socks and gloves were very forgiving!

Here are some of the creatures we made:

We are having another workshop during the January Induction Programme. Sign up with the JIP coordinators if you are interested! No sewing skills required!

Video: Finding Faults: Identifying Earthquake Hazards Around the World

Keynote from the Raffles Science Symposium

Finding Faults: Identifying Earthquake Hazards Around the World

Asst. Prof. Judith Hubbard
Division of Earth Sciences and Earth Observatory of Singapore, NTU

Many earthquakes occur on faults that have not ruptured for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. As a result, earthquakes sometimes seem unexpected, causing massive devastation in areas that are not adequately prepared. How can we identify active faults before they slip and evaluate their earthquake hazard, and why is earthquake prediction so difficult? Prof. Judith Hubbard will discuss how earth scientists use cutting-edge techniques, such as subsurface imaging, 3D visualization, geophysical modeling, and remote sensing, to better understand and forecast earthquakes in areas ranging from Sichuan, China, where a M7.9 earthquake killed 80,000 people in 2008, to Ventura, California, where she predicts that a similar magnitude earthquake may occur in the next few centuries.

Click to view video:

Identifying earthquake hazards around the world

About Prof. Hubbard:

Prof. Judith Hubbard studies earthquake hazards with the goal of better understanding and preparing for damaging earthquakes. She uses surface and subsurface data from a variety of sources, including satellite imagery, geological investigations, and petroleum industry seismic reflection and well data, to assess the 3D geometries and kinematics of active faults. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from Harvard University and her B.S. in 2005 from the California Institute of Technology. She joined the faculty at the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University in September 2012, and plans to develop a field and laboratory research program that will focus on active faults in many part of Southeast Asia, including Sumatra, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and northern India.

Video: Science in an Uncertain World

The first keynote of the Raffles Science Symposium

Science in an Uncertain World

By Assoc. Prof. Lim Tit Meng
Chief Executive, Singapore Science Centre

Scientists can be considered as explorers searching for knowledge and solution.  They often face the unknown challenges in the pursuit of scientific discovery or innovation.  It is also quite apt to say that scientists personify the statement of ‘the more we know the more we do not know’ as new knowledge always lead us to new questions.  Scientists hence literally live in an uncertain world, because there are always surprises and mysteries surrounding them.  Dealing with uncertainty is an integral part of a scientist’s world, as demonstrated through how the nerve growth factor was discovered by a Nobel Laureate.

Click here to view the video:
Science in an uncertain world

About Prof. Lim:

A/P Lim’s scientific background includes Zoology and Life Sciences, and his current research focuses on cell death mechanism involved in Parkinson’s disease and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. He is continuing with his research programmes whilst serving as Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore.

The past President of the Singapore Institute of Biology, A/P Lim currently co-chairs the 2012 International Biology Olympiad Committee in Singapore. A/P Lim is a major  contributor to science education on a national level, playing an active role in shaping the biology curriculum in particular.

Raffles Science Institute Guest Lecture Series

Three lectures by distinguished guests from Kew Gardens and Natural History Museum London

All are welcome to attend these free talks. Please register here to RSVP.

Session 1

Date: 7th November 2012, Wednesday
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Venue: Raffles Institution (Y5-6) Lecture Theatre 3, Blk A Level 3

1. The Flora of Lord Howe Island – Origins and Diversity
By Dr Bill Baker, Head Palms Section, Kew Gardens

Lord Howe Island is a minute volcanic landmass (12 km2) in the Pacific Ocean that is home to 241 native plant species, more than 100 of which are found nowhere else. How did such extreme endemism arise in so small a space? What mechanisms promote species divergence in the face of the homogenising influence of ongoing gene flow? In this talk, we explore these questions using a text book case study ­ the Howea palms ­ and place this important case of sympatric speciation in plants in the context of the island’s flora as a whole and speciation thinking in general.

2. Evolution and Diversity of Pacific Island Psyllids
By Dr Diana Percy, Research Entomologist, Natural History Museum 

Psyllids are small, plant-feeding insects related to aphids, scales and whiteflies. They exhibit interesting modifications in morphology and biological habits related to living on different plant species. By using a combination of phylogenetic, ecological, and behavioural analyses, I will discuss how this insect group has diversified and evolved. I will demonstrate how this relatively little known insect group can provide comparative studies of speciation mechanisms as interesting and amenable as more well known model insect systems.


Session 2

Date: 9th November 2012, Friday
Time: 4pm to 5pm
Venue: Raffles Institution (Y5-6) Lecture Theatre 3, Blk A Level 3

Global Palm Biogeography and the History of Tropical Floras
Dr Bill Baker, Head Palms Section, Kew Gardens

Palms are iconic of the tropics ­ they are common throughout the world’s rain forests, where they may account for a substantial proportion of standing biomass and function as keystone species, providing important ecosystem services and influencing their surroundings. Palms are evidently important to modern rain forests, but what can they tell us about the rain forests of the past? With their fossil record dating back to 90 million years, can they shed light on the origin of the rain forests themselves? Here, using a time-calibrated ‘tree of life’ for palms, we address these questions and obtain challenging answers that prompt reflection on perceived wisdom about the evolution of tropical floras.


Getting to RI Y5-6 (previously known as Raffles Junior College


Map of RI Y5-6:

To all visitors, please enter via Gate 3 and report to the Security Command Centre first. Thank You!

All are welcome to attend these free talks. Please register here to RSVP.

Please email abigayle[dot]ng[at] if you have any enquiries.

Café Scientifique – The life of an A*STAR scientist

You are cordially invited to a café scientifique session by a research mentor from A*STAR to share about the life of a scientist working in A*STAR IMRE. Find out first hand from an A*STAR researcher what it takes to do cutting edge research at the cross-roads between physics and chemistry. At the same time, he is also looking for students who are interested in doing research in the area of physics and chemistry. If you are interested to do research in these areas, come prepared for a face-to-face interview.

Date: 9th May (Wed) Time: 230-330pm Venue: OpenLab

Kindly register your attendance for this café scientifique at

Public perception on dolphins in captivity – the Singapore story

An NUS Department of Biological Sciences Seminar

Date: 13th April Friday

Time: 11am

Venue: DBS Conference Room 2

About 60% of captive dolphins in Asia are obtained from the wild and a recent survey has shed light on the attitudes of Singaporeans towards captive dolphins. This is extremely interesting as it has important repercussions on how we proceed with public education in Singapore – the majority of Singaporeans are for keeping dolphins in captivity.


Research Projects & Marine Biology Programme


If you’re interested in science research, do check out some of the research projects we offer internally as well as externally. They cover a wide range of topics in Biology and Physics

Please check out the research project titles and synopses here.

The application form can be downloaded here.

Deadline for application is 19th March.


If you are interested in marine biology, we have a marine biology programme just for you. To find out more, please visit this link.

Apply online here.

Deadline for application is 16th March.