The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) was conceived with the foresight of a visionary leader, Prof Arthur Lim, the founder and first Medical Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), who had keenly pursued the idea of an eye research institute in a period of time when research was hardly in vogue in Singapore.
Established in 1997, SERI is Singapore’s national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research. SERI’s mission is to conduct high impact eye research with the aim to prevent blindness, low vision and major eye diseases common to Singaporeans and Asians. Over the last decade or so, SERI has conducted landmark research that has led to tangible outcomes, actual patient benefit, and success stories. It has paved the way for significant improvements in how eye diseases are treated and prevented, not just for Singaporeans or Asians but on a global scale.
At its inception, SERI saw a national remit in ophthalmic and vision research, and till today, despite the demarcations introduced by the healthcare clustering system, SERI bridges both entities with a presence in each cluster. SERI ensures that its facilities and resources are open to researchers across Singapore so that the greatest benefit may be obtained from what is a relatively small clinical ophthalmology catchment area in Singapore.
SERI has grown from a founding team of five in 1997 to a faculty of 200, encompassing clinician scientists, scientists, research fellows, PhD students and support staff, with an annual budget of approximately S$18 million. This makes SERI one of the largest research institutes in Singapore and the largest eye research institute in Asia-Pacific. In addition, SERI has over 219 adjunct faculties from various eye departments, biomedical institutes and tertiary centres in Singapore. SERI has amassed an impressive array of publications totaling 1,879 scientific papers as of December 2013, and has secured 181 external peer-reviewed competitive grants worth $169 million.
To date, as of December 2013, SERI’s faculty has been awarded 285 national and international prizes and filed 77 patents. SERI has further contributed to research manpower training, including more than 150 Masters, PhD and post-doctoral students, many of whom now work in hospitals, the biomedical sciences industry, academic institutions and A*STAR institutes.