3 min read

The A*STAR PhD programme for career success | Burak’s story

The A*STAR PhD programme for career success | Burak’s story

by Jenny Shippen

Computer Science student Burak is taking the A*STAR route to achieve his PhD.

After completing the first two years of his research degree in Newcastle, he’s now studying at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore.

Burak successfully applied to the prestigious A*STAR Research Attachment Programme (ARAP) which is open to current 1st and 2nd year PhD students. The programme offers an outstanding opportunity to study at both Newcastle University and the A*STAR Research Institute, supporting students to develop their scientific skills in high-quality international research settings.

Here, Burak explains more about A*STAR, why he applied to the programme and how he thinks it will benefit his career.



  1. What is A*STAR?

  2. Why did you apply?

  3. What impressed you about A*STAR?

  4. What have been the highlights so far?

  5. What A*STAR advice would you give?

  6. Can you share some application tips?

What is A*STAR?

A*STAR is a research organisation in Singapore that specifically focuses on scientific research and development. It offers various programmes and initiatives to support research and development in areas such as information technology, computer sciences, biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering.


Why did you apply?

I’ve been looking for a career that would allow me to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in my field and use the skills and scientific training I’ve gained while working in world-class research environments.

The A*STAR PhD programme offered me exciting opportunities that a normal PhD just couldn’t offer. 

I think it will have a significant impact on my career; in my professional growth and development – opening the door to increased visibility within the scientific community – and in helping me build a strong professional network.

It offers strong industry connections and just the prestige and recognition of being associated with A*STAR will elevate my professional profile.


What impressed you about A*STAR?

A*STAR provides access to cutting-edge research facilities and resources, enabling researchers to work on innovative projects and contribute to advancements in their fields.

It encourages collaboration between researchers and external partners, such as universities, industry, and other research institutions. This collaborative atmosphere allows for the exchange of knowledge and interdisciplinary work.

Working closely with industry partners also bridges the gap between translating research outcomes into practical solutions.

Through A*STAR’s professional development programmes, workshops, and training opportunities, researchers stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in their field, develop transferable skills, and improve their career prospects.


What have been the highlights so far?

The initial few months of my PhD in Singapore were quite challenging, but the supervisor and the experienced researchers were very encouraging and really engaged with my work. They helped me settle in and organised plenty of events to meet new people. Working closely with them was invaluable in terms of skill development, research guidance, and career advice, too.

Training programmes, research day events and joint meetings have made significant contributions to my career goals – helping me develop a much broader worldview of how scientific research is carried out.

There’ve also been opportunities to socialise with colleagues outside of work, strengthen bonds, and foster a sense of community within the organisation through social activities, such as team-building events, outings, and celebrations.


What A*STAR advice would you give?

The A*STAR programme is a great opportunity for PhD candidates looking for more than just a regular PhD.

To take part you need to thoroughly understand the programme you’re interested in, including its objectives, research focus areas, eligibility criteria, and application process. Familiarise yourself with the specific requirements and expectations, too, and make sure your skills and research interests align with the programme.

You should also consider your academic background, interests, and long-term goals when selecting a research area within the A*STAR programme and identify the areas that align with your passion in your current PhD. 


Can you share some application tips?

Academic performance is typically an important factor in the selection process. Highlighting any relevant achievements, research projects, or publications in your application may significantly strengthen your application.

Craft a well-written application that showcases your research interests, possible work plans, objective and project description, and scope of work for joining the programme. Make sure you include the unique qualities, skills, and contributions that will make you a strong candidate.


Discover more about A*STAR, including how to apply for the research attachment programme (ARUP) on our doctoral college website. Expressions of interest in the programme are published twice a year – in May and November.

Considering a postgraduate degree? We offer over 300 programmes making it easy for you to find and pursue your passion. Explore postgraduate study with us.


Discover Postgraduate Study at Newcastle