Adwin Ong is. Not policing if we are eating our fruits and vegetables (though we really should!), but he’s screening Singapore’s fruits and vegetables to detect pesky pesticide residues that could cause adverse health effects.
Ong is a scientist at the National Centre for Food Science (NCFS), and we can rely on his work for peace of mind to know that our foods in Singapore are safe for consumption.
Hear from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) Scholar as he talks about how he pushes science and technology boundaries at NCFS to drive transformation in the food industry and offers his two cents worth on making the most out of one’s university experience.
An Aligned Vision Was All It Took To Convince Me
I applied for the Singapore Sustainability Scholarship as my belief in the importance of a safe, reliable, and sustainable food supply is aligned with the vision and mission of the Singapore Food Agency. A safe and reliable food supply is imperative for the security of our nation and the health of our people. Furthermore, food science and the food industry have always been of interest to me as many new and exciting innovations are constantly being developed, such as sustainable food technologies and alternative food waste management.
Getting Scientific & Making Real Impact
I am currently a scientist at the NCFS Food Safety Monitoring & Forensics Department, where I perform routine analysis of imported and locally produced fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products, to detect pesticide residues using precise qualitative and quantitative chemical instruments such as gas and liquid chromatographs with tandem mass spectrometers and other detectors. It also involves the preparation of standards, user maintenance, and performance checks for instrument operation. Apart from my daily responsibilities, I also work on optimising and developing test methods to accurately detect and quantify even the tiniest amount of pesticide residues.
As part of SFA’s Technological Transformation, I work closely with external agencies and vendors to provide automated solutions for sample preparation in our various specialist laboratories. Since sample preparation usually involves repetitive and menial tasks, this automation initiative optimises manpower for higher-value work, such as research and development of test methods for new and emerging food safety risks to ensure the safety of Singapore’s food supply.
A Word of Advice for Freshmen & Future SFA Scholars
Now that I have completed my undergraduate studies, if I could tell my freshman self one thing, it would be to not focus all my attention on academic pursuits but dedicate some of that time to personal development and exploring passion and interests. Since the days we spend as students give us the most freedom for such ventures, allocating time for these will help make the university experience a more fulfilling and enjoyable one.
Students often worry about the fulfilment of their scholarship bond upon graduation. Perspectives make a difference. Rather than viewing bond fulfilment as a commitment, you can look at it as an opportunity for a meaningful and rewarding career that impacts the lives of the people around you. If you are interested in the food industry and have a passion for food safety and security, the Singapore Sustainability Scholarship (SSS) with SFA offers you the perfect opportunity.
ADWIN ONG RENG JUN
Singapore Sustainability Scholarship
From: Bachelor of Science (Honours), Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Now: Scientist, National Centre for Food Science (NCFS), Food Safety Monitoring & Forensics Department
* SSS is jointly offered by NEA, PUB and SFA