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Published Date: 25 August 2022

Singapore Confers Honorary Citizen Awards on Professor Sir David Philip Lane and Mr Walter Kielholz

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Singapore, 25 August 2022... Singapore has awarded Professor Sir David Philip Lane, Honorary Senior Fellow at A*STAR, and Mr Walter B. Kielholz, Honorary Chairman of Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re), with the Honorary Citizen Award for their invaluable contributions to Singapore. Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, conferred the awards on Professor Lane and Mr Kielholz at a ceremony held at the Istana today.

2   The award is the highest form of recognition bestowed by the Singapore Government for outstanding contributions by an individual to the country’s growth and development. It is conferred on those who have made a significant impact in the areas of business, science and technology, information communications, education, health, arts and culture, sports, tourism, community services or security. Please refer to Annex A for more information on the Honorary Citizen Award, and Annex B for the biographies of the awardees.

Professor Sir David Philip Lane

3   Professor Sir David Philip Lane is Honorary Senior Fellow at A*STAR, and was previously its Chief Scientist. He played a pioneering role in the strategic development of Singapore’s biomedical sciences and made distinguished contributions to cancer therapeutics research. He has also made a profound impact within Singapore’s research ecosystem, nurturing and leading the next generation of scientists as well as recruiting other scientific luminaries to Singapore. Professor Lane was also recognised for his scientific achievements with the President’s Science and Technology Medal (2017). 

4   Professor Lane served in leadership appointments at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), Singapore’s oldest biomedical sciences research institute, which has created a base of talent involved in discovery of new biomedical knowledge for future healthcare and therapeutics outcomes. Today, IMCB is well regarded by the international research community as a premier molecular biology institute. Professor Lane was also instrumental in creating impact on Singapore’s drug discovery, development and diagnostics landscape. He established A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), now the Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC), paving the way for several EDDC successes including the placement of two promising drug candidates in clinical trials, and a diverse pipeline of more than a dozen drug discovery projects. Professor Lane’s influence has attracted industry investments to Singapore, anchoring industry partners such as Chugai Pharmabody Research here, of which he is Chairman of the Board. Professor Lane is also one of the co-founders of AbAsia Biolabs, a Singapore-based reagents manufacturer and joint venture with global medical technology leader, Advanced MedTech Holdings (AMTH).

5   Professor Lane’s pioneering work in the p53 cancer gene has also contributed to Singapore’s excellence in the biomedical sciences sector. He played a significant role in the landmark discovery of the p53 cancer gene in 1979, and nearly three decades of subsequent research that has brought p53 all the way from basic discovery through to the clinic. He founded and headed A*STAR’s p53 Laboratory, one of the leading labs globally in the field that focused its research on protein interactions and how to develop drugs to inhibit such interactions using p53 as a model system.  

6   Professor Lane said, “It is a tremendous honour to accept this prestigious national award. Singapore’s commitment to research, innovation and enterprise has resulted in its growth into a vibrant hub for science and innovation, and has nurtured a strong pool of homegrown scientific talent. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to have contributed towards Singapore’s growth in the biomedical sciences.” 

7   Mr Frederick Chew, Chief Executive Officer of A*STAR, said, “Professor Lane has contributed significantly to Singapore’s biomedical sciences landscape through his excellent research in cancer, and engaging in various leadership and advisory roles at A*STAR over the years. Importantly, he has played a key role in nurturing future generations of scientists for Singapore. My heartfelt congratulations to Professor Lane on being conferred the HCA.”

Mr Walter B. Kielholz

8   Mr Kielholz is Honorary Chairman of Swiss Re and was previously its non-executive Chairman from 2009 to 2021. Prior to these appointments, he served as Swiss Re’s Chief Executive Officer from 1997 to 2002, and subsequently as the Vice Chairman from 2003 to 2009. During his stewardship, Mr Kielholz made significant contributions to the development of Singapore as a global financial centre. 

9   As Chairman of Swiss Re, Mr Kielholz supported the expansion of the company’s presence in Singapore. In January 2018, Swiss Re established its Asia-Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore to support the growth of the region’s insurance markets and provide risk financing solutions to Asia. Swiss Re’s choice of Singapore as the location for its regional headquarters has significantly strengthened Singapore’s reinsurance ecosystem and capabilities to serve Asia’s needs. 

10   Under Mr Kielholz’s leadership, Swiss Re actively supported various industry initiatives in Singapore, such as Project VeritasVeritas, which is a part of Singapore’s National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, aims to provide financial institutions with a verifiable way to incorporate the Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency (FEAT) principles into their AI and data analytics solutions. Please see link to MAS’ media release on 13 November 2019 for details on Veritas and media release on 12 November 2018 for details on FEAT. . Under Project Veritas, Swiss Re co-developed and applied a fairness assessment methodology for insurance predictive underwriting, which utilises artificial intelligence and data analytics. Swiss Re was also part of the insurance industry workgroup convened in 2019 that co-developed the Environmental Risk Management Guidelines for Insurers with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and is an anchor partner of the Global-Asia Insurance Partnership (GAIP)GAIP is a centre of excellence for insurance and risk management focused on producing actionable research insights, developing policy recommendations and co-creating innovative solutions for key risks that Asia faces. It is a tripartite partnership between the global insurance industry, regulators and academia, and supported by MAS..

11   Mr Kielholz was one of the longest serving members of MAS’ International Advisory Panel (IAP) from 2009 to 2021, and contributed invaluable insights on the importance of investing in human capital, digitalisation, data and analytics to grow insurance markets, and enhance the competitiveness of Singapore’s financial sector. In recognition of Mr Kielholz’s invaluable contributions to Singapore, he was awarded the Public Service Star (Distinguished Friends of Singapore) Award in 2015.  

12   On being conferred the Honorary Citizen Award, Mr Kielholz said, “My first visit to Singapore was in 1976 and over the years, I have witnessed Singapore's transformation into the leading global financial and FinTech hub it is today, becoming a model for other countries to emulate. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this evolution and I thank Singapore for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the insurance and risk financing landscape here.”

13   Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, "Walter Kielholz has played a significant role in Singapore’s growth as a global reinsurance marketplace.  Under his leadership, Swiss Re made Singapore its Asia-Pacific hub, creating many good jobs and strong capabilities in risk financing. My colleagues and I have benefitted from Walter’s keen insights and wise counsel, not just on issues relating to the insurance industry but also broader strategies to strengthen Singapore as a leading global financial centre. He has been a trusted friend and partner to Singapore, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to him on being recognised as an Honorary Citizen."


About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
A*STAR is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability.  A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. 

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About MAS, Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. As a central bank, MAS promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through the conduct of monetary policy and close macroeconomic surveillance and analysis. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, official foreign reserves, and liquidity in the banking sector. As an integrated financial supervisor, MAS fosters a sound financial services sector through its prudential oversight of all financial institutions in Singapore – banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors and financial market infrastructures. It is also responsible for well-functioning financial markets, sound conduct, and investor education. MAS also works with the financial industry to promote Singapore as a dynamic international financial centre. It facilitates the development of infrastructure, adoption of technology, and upgrading of skills in the financial industry.

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