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NISTH 2nd Seed Grant

NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH)

Launched in March 2019, NTU’s Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity offers a platform for interdisciplinary collaborative research into disruptive materials and technologies, data analytics and AI for the benefit of humanity.

NISTH is an interdisciplinary centre of excellence that seeks to make sense of how technological advances impact societies, cultures and human behaviour. The Institute will bolster NTU’s ability to contribute towards Singapore’s vision of becoming a Smart Nation and will focus particularly on the impact of the fourth technological revolution on urban Asia. The Institute adopts a thematic approach that cuts across broad subject areas such as artificial intelligence, big data and health sciences.

The theme is ‘20 years from 2020’ where we imagine a time period of 20 years to find solutions to the challenges Singaporean society and people globally are facing today. NISTH brings together key scientists, scholars, industries and leaders to execute change for the benefit of humanity.

We seek to support interdisciplinary cutting-edge research that is designed to positively impact society while also leading to strong scholarship that results in leading peer-reviewed outputs and successful follow-up grants.


Background of the grant “Where Tech meets Humanity”

With the 2020 unfolding and supplying humankind with a variety of societal challenges, we could observe science and technology not enslaving but enabling humanity by breakthrough in developing mRNA vaccines, advances in quantum computing to address the problem of big data that healthcare, infocommunications, DNA sequencing and analysis actively deploy, introduction of 5G to facilitate remote operations and enhance information exchange, AI-driven discovery of drugs to target human diseases as well as facilitating interaction between distant communities via videoconferencing tools and expediting contact tracing for COVID-19 containment via usage of TraceTogether app and token. COVID-19 era has seen an unprecedent leap in digital transformation of society instigated by human needs and demands that will shape our future in next decades.

Academic and private institutions, industrial representatives, entrepreneurs, governments and NGOs are leading discovery, learning, and engagement to address the societal impact of technological innovation through human-centred approaches.

This grant call seeks for interdisciplinary, inter-party cutting-edge research that is designed to positively impact society while also leading to strong scholarship that results in leading peer-reviewed outputs and successful follow-up grants. It especially seeks to provide seed funding for collaborations between fellows from Science, Engineering or LKCMed and fellows from Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, International Studies, Arts and Education who work together across disciplines, to contribute to solving the large societal questions Singapore is facing; and who are able to effect change in the wider community with their research.

Overview of the grant

The current grant aims at interdisciplinary research to magnify the effect of the science, and thus, seeks for interdisciplinary collaborative projects that adopt, deploy, evaluate or develop AI, data science, robotics and autonomous systems, software, materials science combined with social science including ethics, empathy, policy, responsible innovation, human-factor design, human identity, creativity, global collaboration, societal values, inclusion and diversity, sustainability, and humanities approaches. The grant aims to uncover deep insights into:

  • approaches that lead to enabling and equipping humanity by harnessing science and technologies;
  • social, psychological and economic consequences that science, technologies and innovations have on humankind;
  • ethical issues and policies implemented to deliberate the role of technologies to serve humanity;
  • the conceptualization and validation of technology supported interventions to facilitate the digital transformation in post COVID-19 era.

We especially seek to provide seed funding for collaborations between fellows from Science/Engineering/LKC and fellows from Humanities/Social Sciences/Business/RSIS/ADM/NIE. Aim of the grant is to gain deep insights into the societal, economic, environmental and socio-cultural effect of science, technologies and innovation and to design and evaluate state-of-the-art interventions to accelerate digital transformation of Singaporean society (and globally).



  • Support interdisciplinary collaboration between the technical and social sciences and humanities that have a high potential to lead to findings with societal impact.
  • Boost interdisciplinary and inter-party conversation to develop all-encompassing approach to assess societal impact of science and technologies.
  • Support feasibility studies that lead to larger scale Academic-Industry-Government collaboration aimed at the assessment and adoption of technological interventions that support countering the consequences of fast pacing world.
  • Support the development of a larger grant proposal in the direction of the proposed research.

Applications from NISTH Fellows and those with external collaborators will be prioritized while revision.



A team of at least 2 PI’s can apply to this interdisciplinary collaborative research program.

The team should have at least one full-time faculty member from either the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Business School or S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies AND at least one full time faculty member from LKC School of Medicine, College of Science or College of Engineering.

Eligible PI or Co-Principal Investigator(s) should be NTU full-time faculty who are ‘NISTH Societal Impact Fellows’​​ or interested to become one. The priority will be given to grants, prepared by ‘NISTH Societal Impact Fellow(s)’.

Please see this webpage for details:

Each project is recommended to have an industry, government agency, non-profit or NGO partner affiliate who will contribute in at least one of the following ways:

  • provide access to their data
  • provide access to their daily work environment
  • provide access to relevant study participants
  • provide access to their technology
  • contribute a minimum of $5,000 in kind or in cash.


Funding Details

Use of the grant funding can include but is not limited to:

  • Developing, deploying and evaluating a novel technology-based intervention
  • Developing or validating a new method or impact measurement instrument
  • Collecting a dataset
  • Developing a case study or conducting a study
  • Multi-method or longitudinal approaches to gaining insight into ethical, social, political, legal, psychological, economic, educational and healthcare consequences of infectious diseases and COVID-19 in particular

Applications will be considered for funding in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 (excluding the contributed >$5,000 in kind or cash from external partner affiliates) over a period of 1 year, or for longitudinal studies, 2 years.


Application Details

NTU Faculty may submit their application via the following link by 5 March 2021, 5pm, Singapore local time.


Online Seed Grant Application Form​

Only submissions with a fully completed application form and CVs will be accepted for evaluation and assessment for awarding of grants. After an initial review, a subset of applications will be selected to provide additional detail (e.g., budgeting, project timeline, etc.).


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