In 2019, Dr Keng Tiong Ng was awarded a UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Awardees receive project funding for two years and mentoring from an Academy Fellow as well as an advisor from the intelligence community.
Dr Keng Tiong Ng is working as a UK Intelligence Community (UKIC) Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London where he is progressing his project
Identification of illegal threat manufacturing via wastewater markers. His research is currently listed under the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Protection Research Unit in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards at Imperial College London.
Before taking up the UKIC fellowship, Dr Ng was a postdoctoral researcher at King’s College London. He developed a rapid quantitative method utilising direct injection liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to simultaneously detect over 130 contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). These CECs, included pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, metabolites and pesticides in freshwater invertebrates, municipal wastewater and river water, which could be analysed within five minutes.
Now, he is seeing how his research combined with wastewater-based epidemiology can serve as a new source of intelligence for law enforcement agencies. It could then help prevent and intercept any clandestine activity through discreet wastewater monitoring.
Dr Ng says that as well as the two-year project funding of the fellowship, he has benefited from the training and workshops provided. He feels that these activities help develop personal skills in addition to the practical usefulness they give in carrying out his research work.
If Dr Ng’s work could find threat markers including their precursors, by-products and transformation products in sewer systems, it could benefit the intelligence community and be adapted for use by other enforcement bodies.
About the scheme
The Government Office for Science offers this Fellowship to outstanding early career science or engineering researchers. Find out more about the UKIC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship programme here.