Arjun Thanaraju is a recent graduate of the BSc (Hons) Biology with Psychology Programme under the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Medical and Life Sciences at Sunway University. After three years of study, Arjun graduated with a First-Class Honours in 2020.
He is currently now Regional Programme Officer of INGSA-Asia, a Regional Chapter of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). INGSA improves access and dissemination of science advice globally. In Asia, INGSA fosters science advice capacity in the region by raising awareness, supporting training and encouraging operational research on advisory principles, processes and practices in Asia. It builds regional and inter-regional networks of science advice practitioners, as well as acting as a support mechanism for policy makers within the region and encourages outreach to help increase the demand for science advice by policy makers.
Arjun’s role within this office is to manage the day-to-day operations of INGSA-Asia, which include communications, budget management, implementation of programmes, and reporting. As the Regional Programme Officer, Arjun also serves as they key liaison point between INGSA-Asia and the INGSA Secretariat based in New Zealand.
He works under the Chair of INGSA-Asia, Prof Abhi Veerakumarasivam, who is also the Dean of the School of Medical and Life Sciences at Sunway University. Prof Abhi has this to say about recruiting Arjun, “Arjun was an outstanding student, excelling both academically as well as through his extracurricular activities in the local performing arts scene. He really stood out during his internship at the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy – receiving excellent reviews from his employers. His degree at Sunway University has certainly provided him with the perfect platform to further pursue his passion in promoting science diplomacy and evidence-based policies for a more humane and inclusive world. We are so proud of him.”
When asked about his passion for the role, Arjun replied, “I aspire to contribute towards policy making that ensures equal and affordable access to quality and discrimination-free healthcare for all, specifically in the field of mental health. It is my belief that every person should be able to seek help for their mental health in the same way that they would seek care for their physical health.”
Hailing from Ampang, Selangor, Arjun completed his A-Levels at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur in 2016 before joining Sunway University. At University, he was very active in co-curricular activities such as being a member of the Sunway Peer Counselling Volunteers where he was instrumental in coordinating campaigns addressing mental health issues. During his degree programme, Arjun worked on a research project under Associate Professor Dr Audrey Lim Wei Ling of the Department of Biological Sciences, investigating the structural and functional brain differences underlying transgenderism. His study found compelling differences between the brains of transgender and cisgender individuals, and proposes a biological explanation for the occurrence of transgenderism in humans.
Current Associate Dean (International) of the School of Medical and Life Sciences, Professor Alvin Ng Lai Oon remembers teaching Arjun during his second year of study, “Arjun was in my Abnormal Psychology class. He was a stellar student who was very interactive in tutorials and writes very well. He’s also got great character that other find endearing. I’m glad he’s found work at INGSA-Asia where I believe he’ll be of great service.”
We congratulate Arjun Thanaraju on his role and wish him all the best in his work and personal development.