Nurturing Young Talent: “Building The Future” Project 2014

20 June 2014


Photo: Elicia and Abigail at TUM’s Institute of Flight Systems Dynamics, testing out a flight simulator where they managed to pilot the plane to a safe landing. Credits: Heddergott/TUM

SINGAPORE, 10 JUNE 2014 –TUM Asia sponsored an all-expenses-paid trip on the 31st of May for two final year Junior College students to its home campus, Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in Munich, Germany.

The two beneficiaries selected for TUM Asia’s “Building The Future” project were Abigail Sim E Xuan of Victoria Junior College and Nur Elicia Nadya Binte Elvis Isyak of Tampines Junior College. This is the 2nd year that the project has been running. Established in 2012 at TUM Asia’s 10th anniversary celebrations, this project aims to nurture the passion for science among underprivileged post-secondary students – by exposing them to the fields of engineering, science, and technology at Germany’s top engineering university, the TUM. Applicants must take subjects that involve sciences, mathematics, or engineering.

The two 18 year olds – Abigail and Elicia – are due to sit for their A-level examinations at the end of the year, but what drew them to apply for the “Building The Future” project was the possibility of being immersed in a scientific environment. “The highlight of my trip to TUM was the time I spent in the lab” said Abigail. Both girls were treated to a tour of TUM’s 3 campuses in downtown Munich, Garching and Weihenstephan, followed by a 3 day lab project of their choice.

Abigail – whose ambition is to study medicine in university – chose to work in TUM’s Faculty of Chemistry, where she worked together with a PhD candidate on his research on anti-virulence, which means finding new ways to cure common infections whose bacteria strains were resistant to existing antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest challenges in the medical world today.

Elicia also chose a topic close to her heart, selecting to work in the Chair of Urban Water Systems Engineering to investigate the relationship of the occurrence of cancer from bacteria in water. “I wanted to find out how bacteria can cause colo-rectal cancer, which is what my mother was diagnosed with a couple of years ago” said Elicia. Research has revealed that these bacteria are more commonly found in the colons of patients with colon cancer than those who are healthy.

After the week-long trip, the girls have mixed feelings about being home. “I miss Germany but I am happy to be with my family again,” Elicia mentioned. “Thanks to the project, I really respect the scientists working behind the scenes to protect humankind. And I have a new found interest in lab work.” Abigail commented.


About Building The Future


Photo: Elicia and Abigail with the President of TUM, Prof. W.A. Herrmann. Credits: Heddergott/TUM

The project was founded as a giveback project to the nation of Singapore for its longstanding partnership with TUM, which was established in 2002 through the first ever German academic venture abroad: TUM Asia. TUM Asia was established by TUM with support from the Singapore government with the goal of providing a strong science and engineering centric education for the masses of Singapore. TUM is known for being an entrepreneurial university, with innovation and empowering young scientists as her key missions.

In line with these key missions of the TUM, the BTF project seeks to provide students with under privileged backgrounds an opportunity to be inspired by science and technology. Read more at

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