Prof. Shih Choon Fong
Choon Fong Shih is University Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and serves in advisory/consultancy roles with Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, SUSTech and Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Northwest Innovation Works, among others. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Shih received his PhD from Harvard. Subsequently at the General Electric Research Lab and at Brown, he established an international reputation for his work on non-linear fracture mechanics. He is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Engineering. He was conferred the French decoration "Chevalier" in the Order of the "Legion d'Honneur" in 2005 and the inaugural Chief Executive Leadership Award for Asia Pacific from the Council for Advancement and Support for Education in 2007. He served on the judging panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering from 2012 to 2017. In 2018, Shih received Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal for his innovative research and leadership in higher education
Shih was President of NUS from 2000 to 2008 where he was instrumental in the internationalization and transformation of NUS, leading the drive to develop its reputation as a global research leader with an entrepreneurial dimension. During this period, he also chaired the Association of Pacific Rim Universities from 2002 to 2006 and was a key contributor in the founding of the International Alliance of Research Universities in 2005.
From 2008 to 2013, Shih served as Founding President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a graduate research university in Saudi Arabia. Leading KAUST in its formative years, Shih built the foundation for innovative graduate education and cutting-edge research in science and engineering, where the synergy between education and research catalyzes ideas and innovations to address global challenges and improve lives. KAUST is today a thriving university community of faculty, students, staff and families from more than 100 countries, enjoying world-class research facilities, a Research & Technology Park and Innovation Cluster.
Shih now divides his time between China, Singapore and US, working with universities, companies and government agencies to promote market-based approaches for producing liquid fuels from solar energy and other renewable sources. Such green liquid fuels can substitute fossil fuels and are critical to achieving the goals of energy security, environmental conservation and sustainable development, especially in developing countries.