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23 January 2017
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation awards research grants to 4 projects that aim to tackle Singapore’s social issues

From left to right: Mr Alan J. Wilson, Regional CEO, MSIG Holdings (Asia), Mr Yoshihito Nomura, Executive Director of the MSIWF, Dr Tan Ngiap Chuan, Ms Maria Cecilia Rojas Lopez, Dr Kinjal Doshi, Dr Rufaihah Bte Abdul Jalil, Mr Takeshi Saito, Managing Director, MSIG Singapore and Mr Michael Gourlay, CEO, MSIG Singapore

23 January 2017, SINGAPORE — The 2016 winners of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation (MSIWF) research grant, awarded last Friday, 20 January, for exceptional insight and potential, comprised of some of Singapore’s leading researchers that aim to make a difference by solving Singapore’s key traffic and healthcare issues for the nation’s ageing population.

The 2016 winners are:

  • Ms Maria Cecilia Rojas Lopez, PhD candidate at the School of Civil and Environment Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, for her research that will lead to the development of traffic schemes and policies for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on footpaths. For this project, Rojas Lopez will study cyclists’ behaviour and their interaction with other path users, which is a potential issue since bicycles have been allowed on footpaths in Singapore since March 2016.
  • Dr Tan Ngiap Chuan is a Family Physician, Senior Consultant and Director, Research at SingHealth Polyclinics. His proposed study aims to find out how common is the age-related loss of muscle mass and muscle function, known as “sarcopenia” among elderly patients. Sarcopenia has been shown to be worse amongst the elderly with diabetes. Muscle weakness resulting from the reduced muscle bulk and strength will subject the elderly to increased risks of frailty, falls, fractures, hospitalisations and even premature deaths. The findings from this study will allow doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to identify the reasons leading to sarcopenia, so that solutions can be developed and assessed if they are effective in reducing the muscle bulk loss, in maintaining or even strengthening their muscle functions.
  • Dr Kinjal Doshi, principal clinical psychologist at Singapore General Hospital, aims to create a better tool for use in identifying loss of functional abilities among the elderly.
  • Dr Rufaihah Binte Abdul Jalil, assistant professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, will design a diagnostic tool for atherosclerosis, a main illness known to harden the arteries usually affecting the elderly.

MSIWF is a non-profit organisation that is part of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited, and supports researchers in Japan, Singapore and Thailand for practicable research in two key areas: senior citizen welfare and traffic safety. The MSIWF research grant is unique compared to others, as it supports interdisciplinary research at its early stages, where it is generally tougher for researchers to obtain funding elsewhere.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of MSIWF grant support in Singapore, which was introduced in 2007 for the first time outside of Japan. Since then, MSWIF has supported 38 research projects and has disbursed grants worth more than about S$363,000.

“It is our mission to help secure a sustainable future for the communities at large. With a growing ageing demographic in Singapore, solutions for improving the quality of life are critical for sustainable growth. This grant from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation aims to empower talented researchers to do just that,” said Mr Alan J. Wilson, Regional CEO of MSIG Holdings (Asia) Pte Ltd.

The call for the 2016 grants was launched in June last year, and a total of 246 applications were received globally. The winning projects will conduct their research over the next 12 months and their findings will be published in scientific journals as well as shared with the Foundation during next year’s presentation ceremony in 2018.

For more information, please contact the MSIG Asia communications team at communications@msig-asia.com.

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