NUS PhD 07 February 2017

The fellowship of research

The President’s Graduate Fellowship (PGF) is awarded to candidates who show exceptional promise or accomplishment in research. According to two PhD recipients, it has allowed them to focus on their research without having to bear a financial burden.  They told Outside-In what a huge difference it has made.

Isabel Ding, second-year in Department of Marketing

“With the Fellowship, I do not have to worry much about finances and can focus on my research,” said Isabel.

Isabel’s research examines why people are not leading a healthy lifestyle, even when they know their behaviour is wrong. She aims to encourage people to eat and exercise in a healthier manner.

“Understanding the underlying psychology behind these decisions, and thinking of ways to improve people’s decisions is my main research goal,” she said. Her promising research earned her the Fellowship two years in a row in 2015 and 2016. The PGF is granted for an initial year and, subject to the awardee’s satisfactory progress, can be renewed annually up to a maximum of four years.

Isabel finds that the positive culture of the research community in NUS Business School is driving her forward in her academic career. “There is a collaborative atmosphere where faculty and students work closely together,” said Isabel.

“The school is also very supportive of us attending conferences. We are able to connect with other scholars, share and obtain feedback on what we are doing,” she added.

Isabel is supervised by Associate Professor Leonard Lee.

Ren Yuan, first-year in Department of Finance

Ren Yuan



















Ren Yuan said the PGF not only provides financial support, but also serves as a stimulus for him to work harder.

Ren Yuan’s research focuses on the financial market in China, covering areas such as credit rating inflation, behaviour biases of individual investors, and liquidity drain. His research interest stems from his previous work experience as an assistant credit analyst in a Chinese investment bank.

Ren Yuan clinched the PGF based on the fact that he has already co-authored a paper that was published in China’s Economic Research Journal: How does Demographic Structure Affect Current Account Imbalance? Empirical Evidence from the Instrumental Variable Estimation of WWII.

He believes the School is the place to start his academic career with its open culture. “You can always grab someone to talk to about academic issues. For instance, the faculty have not only excellent research published, but are also willing to help,” said Ren Yuan.

Ren Yuan is supervised is Associate Professor Qian Wenlan.