Recognising Young Defence Technologists

21 Apr 2023

It’s one thing to dream about unravelling the world of defence technology as a student. It’s another to actually get to do it.

At the YDSP Congress held on 19 April 2023, over 300 students, parents, principals, teachers, and members of the Defence Technology Community basked in the enthusiasm of bright young minds gearing up to become the next generation of defence technologists. It was the culmination of a full year of intense activities under the Young Defence Scientists Programme (YDSP), where over 380 students from 19 schools were able to experience an out-of-classroom, immersive learning experience with Singapore’s top defence technologists and researchers.

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Students shared their projects via stage presentations and poster exhibitions at the event.

In his keynote address, Chief Executive Mervyn Tan shared the importance of providing diverse opportunities for students to gain real-world insights. He said: “The innovations of our scientists and engineers prepare Singapore for the challenges we may face tomorrow. Platforms like YDSP are opportunities for bright young minds to develop their interests in technology and inspire them to be Singapore’s next generation of defence scientists and engineers.”


DSTA Chief Executive Mervyn Tan addressing the audience.

The event was also graced by Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Defence Heng Chee How, who presented 30 YDSP Scholarships and 35 DSTA Junior College Scholarships to students in recognition of their outstanding academic and co-curricular achievements.


SMS Heng (middle in white) with some recipients of the YDSP and DSTA Junior College Scholarships.

Chin Jen Bin, a DSTA Scholarship recipient and participant of a four-month internship at DSTA through Research@YDSP, reflected that the stimulating experience of YDSP gave him a glimpse into the wide variety of projects DSTA works on. In particular, he got to learn how gamification could potentially enhance the effectiveness of marksmanship training, while also making it more engaging for trainees.

“The eye-opening experience made me realise the importance of defence tech for a small city state like Singapore. It also reminded me of the need to keep up with tech, especially in this increasingly changing and complex world. I’m thankful and appreciative for the scholarship, and I’m excited for more opportunities in DSTA!”

Nicholas Pramono, a participant from the YDSP Science & Technology (S&T) Camp in December 2022, appreciated the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities with new and emerging tech during the five-day session.

“I learnt more about the intricacies of machine learning and artificial intelligence, especially in the context of utilising autonomous unmanned ground vehicles. YDSP was a great opportunity to deepen my understanding of the use of technology and its diverse applications,” he shared.


Nicholas and his group demonstrating their autonomous unmanned ground vehicle prototype to SMS Heng. The group was also the winner of the YDSP S&T Camp in December 2022.

Apart from nurturing students, YDSP has also benefitted DSTA staff like Head Engineering (C3 Development) Jerry S/O Tamilchelvamani, who served as a mentor for Research@YDSP.

He elaborated: “Compared to my usual role managing and leading developments, it was a pleasant experience to guide these budding youths. I got to go back to the basics during my mentorship journey, and it was exciting to celebrate every small win with my mentees along the way. I was very impressed with how they quickly levelled up to deal with software and artificial intelligence development. Students who wish to pursue a career with the Defence Technology Community should be passionate about learning and making a difference, and I believe YDSP will be a great platform to kickstart their journey.”

Keen to find out more about YDSP? Check out the details here!


All smiles around as Head Engineering (C3 Development) Jerry S/O Tamilchelvamani posed with his Research@YDSP mentees.