The Singapore Prize recognises individuals and organisations that have contributed significantly to the country’s development by their innovative ideas, products, services or processes. This includes innovations that have improved productivity, competitiveness or enhanced quality of life.

The award was first launched in 2014 as part of the Singapore 50 programme to commemorate the nation’s fifth decade of independence. Launched by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of History, it is the first prize in Singapore that is devoted to its history. 71-year-old John Miksic won the inaugural prize with his book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, published by NUS Press with the National Museum of Singapore. The other shortlisted books were Nature’s Colony: Empire, Nation and Environment in the Singapore Botanic Gardens by Timothy P Barnard and Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore by Loh Kah Seng.

In the tradition of a healthy civil society, this prize recognises those who strive to put the interests of the common good before their own. It also aims to recognise individuals who have a strong sense of fair play and ethics in their work.

On Monday, Britain’s Prince William took to the water for a morning of dragon boating with a local team. Wearing a red and black dragon headband, the prince paddled in pairs along with athletes from the British Dragons club on the Kallang River as they rowed vigorously to the beat of a drummer standing in the bow. It was the second time the prince had tried his hand at the sport, which is popular in China and parts of Southeast Asia. The visit was a highlight of the weeklong Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore, which celebrates innovators and entrepreneurs who are tackling climate change. The prince, who leads his own foundation that promotes environmental solutions, is in Singapore to present the prizes he and his wife Princess Catherine launched in 2020.

At the lavish awards ceremony held at the Mediacorp campus, the prince donned a green velour suit and dickie bow to match the dark green carpet. He shook hands with winners and their guests, including actress Hannah Waddingham, 49, who wore a sparkling ball gown.

During the event, he met with members of a Singaporean consortium that is developing an affordable, small-scale hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that runs on methane and recycled cooking oil. The project has already received a grant from the Singapore Economic Development Board, which is working to foster more such projects in the country. The prince also visited the United for Wildlife summit, which featured representatives from law enforcement agencies, conservation groups and companies who are collaborating to fight the illegal trade in endangered species.

He was also invited to a cocktail party hosted by the Singapore Tourism Board at the Ritz Carlton-Millenia hotel, which was decorated in vibrant purple and pink for the occasion. The hotel was ranked number five on the World’s Best Hotels list this year, and is one of the top 10 hotels in the city-state.