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Lian Pin Koh

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Lian Pin Koh
Lian Pin Koh in September 2023
Alma materPrinceton University (PhD), National University of Singapore (BSc, MSc)
OrganisationNational University of Singapore
Known forConservation science, TED talk
AwardsWorld Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2013

Lian Pin Koh (born 1976 in Singapore) is a Singaporean conservation scientist. He is Associate Vice President and Chief Sustainability Scientist at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he oversees and champions sustainability-related research. He employs a whole-of-University strategy to bridge academia with policy makers, industry and civil society, driving the change needed across all sectors to tackle the twin planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

By initiating and spearheading engagements with stakeholders locally and at international fora, Prof Koh seeks to promote societal understanding of the world we live in, and amplify the university’s and Singapore’s contributions to sustainability efforts globally.

He is presently also the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Chair Professor of Conservation, Vice Dean of Research at the Faculty of Science, Director of the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, and Director of the Tropical Marine Science Institute at NUS.

An internationally renowned name in the field of sustainability and environmental science, Prof Koh is one of the most highly cited conservation scientists in the world, with over 20 years of international research experience under his belt. His previous stints include Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at ETH Zurich, Chair of Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Adelaide, Vice President of Science Partnerships and Innovation at Conservation International Foundation. He was also the Founding Director of Conservation Drones, a non-profit organisation that seeks to introduce drone technology to conservation scientists and practitioners worldwide.

Koh has received multiple awards including the Frontiers Planet Prize, National Champion, in 2023, the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Level II in 2014, the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship in 2011, the ETH Fellowship in 2008, and was also named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2013.

In 2020, Koh received a prestigious award from the National Research Foundation of the Singapore Prime Minister's Office under its Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme.[1] Established in 2013, the Scheme seeks to attract outstanding overseas-based Singaporean research leaders back to Singapore to take up leadership positions in Singapore's autonomous universities and publicly funded research institutes. Koh was the sixth recipient of the award.

On 14 January 2021, Koh was appointed as one of nine Nominated Members of Parliament (NMP) in the 14th Parliament of Singapore, which began on 21 January 2021.[2]



Koh studied at Hwa Chong Institution for his pre-tertiary education in Singapore. He completed his Bachelor of Science (with First Class Honours) and Master of Science degrees at the National University of Singapore in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Koh received his PhD from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, New Jersey, US in 2008.[3] Following that, he received postdoctoral training at ETH Zurich.



Koh's scientific contributions include the study of species co-extinctions[4] and modeling the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture across the tropics.[5]

His research focuses on developing innovative science and science-based decision support tools to reconcile societal needs with environmental protection.[6] He addresses this challenge through field studies[7] and experiments,[8] computer simulations and modelling,[9] as well as by co-opting emerging technologies for use in environmental research and applications.[10][11]

His more recent research as Director of the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions seeks to produce policy-relevant science on nature-based climate solutions – tackling climate change by protecting and better managing natural ecosystems – to address knowledge gaps, build capacity and deliver pragmatic solutions and innovations to inform climate policies, strategies and actions to achieve the centre's vision.

Prof Koh’s research is complemented by his rich work in advocacy, which has seen him offer a science-based perspective to socioeconomic and environmental issues on both local and global platforms, including speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP27 in Sharm El Sheik and COP28 in Dubai), TED Global and TEDx conferences, among others.



Koh has published over 150 journal articles,[12] including Nature,[13] Science,[14] and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.[15] He is one of the most highly cited conservation scientists in the world. His research has received over 27,000 citations (with an h-index of >75).[16]

Koh is a pioneer in the use of low-cost drone technology for environmental applications.[17] Koh founded Conservation Drones which has received numerous awards and media coverage.[18]

Koh was an invited speaker at the TED Global 2013: Think Again conference in Edinburgh, where he spoke on the positive use of drones.[19]



Koh is a regular plenary speaker at international meetings, including the WWF Fuller Symposium in 2012,[20] the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2013,[21] and the Intergovernmental Eye on Earth Summit in 2015.[22]

Koh's work has been featured in international media, including the New York Times,[23] Smithsonian Magazine,[24] Scientific American,[25] NewScientist,[26] the Telegraph,[27] among others.


  1. ^ "Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme". www.nrf.gov.sg. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  2. ^ Abdullah, Zhaki (14 January 2021). "Nine new Nominated Members of Parliament to be appointed". CNA. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Meet the Team".
  4. ^ Koh, L. P. (10 September 2004). "Species Coextinctions and the Biodiversity Crisis". Science. 305 (5690): 1632–1634. Bibcode:2004Sci...305.1632K. doi:10.1126/science.1101101. PMID 15361627. S2CID 30713492.
  5. ^ Koh, Lian Pin; Wilcove, David S. (30 August 2007). "Cashing in palm oil for conservation". Nature. 448 (7157): 993–994. Bibcode:2007Natur.448..993K. doi:10.1038/448993a. PMID 17728739. S2CID 4399026.
  6. ^ Koh, L. P.; Ghazoul, J. (28 May 2010). "Spatially explicit scenario analysis for reconciling agricultural expansion, forest protection, and carbon conservation in Indonesia". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107 (24): 11140–11144. Bibcode:2010PNAS..10711140K. doi:10.1073/pnas.1000530107. PMC 2890708. PMID 20511535.
  7. ^ Koh, Lian Pin (August 2008). "Can oil palm plantations be made more hospitable for forest butterflies and birds?". Journal of Applied Ecology. 45 (4): 1002–1009. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01491.x.
  8. ^ Koh, Lian Pin (June 2008). "Birds Defend Oil Palms from Herbivorous Insects". Ecological Applications. 18 (4): 821–825. doi:10.1890/07-1650.1. PMID 18536244.
  9. ^ KOH, LIAN PIN; GHAZOUL, JABOURY (5 March 2010). "A Matrix-Calibrated Species-Area Model for Predicting Biodiversity Losses Due to Land-Use Change". Conservation Biology. 24 (4): 994–1001. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01464.x. PMID 20214672. S2CID 205658244.
  10. ^ "ConservationDrones.org". conservationdrones.org.
  11. ^ van Andel, Alexander C.; Wich, Serge A.; Boesch, Christophe; Koh, Lian Pin; Robbins, Martha M.; Kelly, Joseph; Kuehl, Hjalmar S. (October 2015). "Locating chimpanzee nests and identifying fruiting trees with an unmanned aerial vehicle". American Journal of Primatology. 77 (10): 1122–1134. doi:10.1002/ajp.22446. PMID 26179423. S2CID 23264358.
  12. ^ "Lian Pin Koh – Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.sg.
  13. ^ Gibson, Luke; Lee, Tien Ming; Koh, Lian Pin; Brook, Barry W.; Gardner, Toby A.; Barlow, Jos; Peres, Carlos A.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.; Laurance, William F.; Lovejoy, Thomas E.; Sodhi, Navjot S. (18 December 2013). "Corrigendum: Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity". Nature. 505 (7485): 710. doi:10.1038/nature12933.
  14. ^ Bawa, K. S.; Koh, L. P.; Lee, T. M.; Liu, J.; Ramakrishnan, P. S.; Yu, D. W.; Zhang, Y.-p.; Raven, P. H. (18 March 2010). "China, India, and the Environment". Science. 327 (5972): 1457–1459. Bibcode:2010Sci...327.1457B. doi:10.1126/science.1185164. PMID 20299578. S2CID 21529643.
  15. ^ Phelps, J.; Carrasco, L. R.; Webb, E. L.; Koh, L. P.; Pascual, U. (15 April 2013). "Agricultural intensification escalates future conservation costs". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110 (19): 7601–7606. Bibcode:2013PNAS..110.7601P. doi:10.1073/pnas.1220070110. PMC 3651457. PMID 23589860.
  16. ^ "Lian Pin Koh – Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.sg.
  17. ^ Koh, Lian Pin. "A drone's-eye view of conservation".
  18. ^ "ConservationDrones.org". conservationdrones.org.
  19. ^ Koh, Lian Pin. "A drone's-eye view of conservation".
  20. ^ "Speakers | Pages | WWF". World Wildlife Fund.
  21. ^ "CGI University 2015 – Agenda Day 2". Clinton Foundation.
  22. ^ "Eye on Earth Summit 2015 to be held under royal patronage of The President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan | Eye on Earth". eoesummit.org.
  23. ^ Gorman, James (21 July 2014). "Drones on a Different Mission". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Siber, Kate. "The One Use of Drones Everyone Can Agree on, Except for Poachers". Smithsonian.
  25. ^ Platt, John R. "Eye in the Sky: Drones Help Conserve Sumatran Orangutans and Other Wildlife". Scientific American Blog Network.
  26. ^ "Tropical forests axed in favour of palm oil". New Scientist.
  27. ^ Wood, Ian. "Palm oil boycott will not protect rainforests". The Daily Telegraph. London.