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President of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology

Saudi Arabia


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Shih Choon Fong is the Founding President of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, a position he officially joins in December 2008.  He is currently serving as President of the National University of Singapore (NUS) since 2000.


After seven years at GE’s Corporate Research Lab, where he led the Fracture Research Group, he took up an academic position at Brown.  A recipient of the Swedlow Award and the George Irwin Medal from the American Society for Testing and Materials, Shih was consultant to NASA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among others.  He is a member of the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. 


After 30 years in North America, Shih returned to Singapore in 1996 as the founding Director of the National Institute of Materials Research and Engineering with concurrent appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of NUS.  He is the founding President of the Materials Research Society of Singapore, affiliated to the International Union of Materials Research Societies. 


Shih has made significant contributions in nonlinear fracture mechanics and computational methods for fracture analyses.  With more than 150 publications in leading scientific journals, he is listed by the Institute for Scientific Information as among the world’s most highly cited engineering researchers.    


As President, Shih has actively promoted NUS’s global profile.  He serves on the governing boards of several university consortiums and as Chairman Emeritus of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of 37 leading research universities. He chairs the Governing Board of the APRU World Institute, an institute of advanced studies to address scientific, social and economic issues of global importance. 


Shih is also a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Engineering and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He was the inaugural recipient from Asia Pacific for the 2007 Chief Executive Leadership Award presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.  He has been awarded the French decoration "Chevalier" in the Order of the "Legion d'Honneur". 


In Singapore, Shih has served on several national-level committees including the Economic Review Committee that crafted wide-ranging strategies for re-making Singapore.  He is Chairman of the Singapore-MIT Alliance Governing Board, Executive Committee member of the Economic Development Board, as well as Board member of the National Research Foundation. 

Shih holds a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University.