STEP 2015

STEP 2015
Science, Technology & Enterprise Plan 2015
Asia’s
Innovation
Capital
1 Fusionopolis Way, #20-10 Connexis North, Singapore 138632
Tel: 65 6826 6111 . Fax: 65 6777 1711 . www.a-star.edu.sg
For enquiries, please contact:
Planning & Policy Department
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
(A*STAR)
1 Fusionopolis Way, #20-10 Connexis North,
Singapore 138632
Tel: 65 6826 6111
Fax: 65 6777 1711
www.a-star.edu.sg
Published by:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
(A*STAR)
May 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
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recording or otherwise, without prior
permission of A*STAR.
Design by Ms Li Xin Hui
Foreword
This year, Singapore celebrates 20 years of Science and Technology (S&T) planning
and investments. Since the first 5-year S&T plan launched in 1991, Singapore’s S&T
landscape has grown from strength to strength. The sustained S&T investments and
commitment by the Singapore Government remained in spite of the global economic
crisis and have positioned Singapore well to seize the opportunities opening up in the
Asian region today.
This focus on research and innovation is in line with Singapore’s new economic strategy as
recommended by the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC), to put Singapore on a much more sustainable and
inclusive growth path based on productivity and innovation. The specific recommendations for this new economic
strategy were spelt out in the report by the ESC and presented to the government early last year.
The government therefore continues its strong commitment to research and innovation with an investment of
S$16.1 billion for 2011-15 under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2015 plan. This is an overall
increase of 19% over the previous 5-year period and a commitment of 1% of expected Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) to public sector research and innovation. The government also seeks to leverage on this investment to grow
the Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) to 3.5% of GDP by 2015. The long term aim is for
Singapore to be among the most research intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world in
order to create high value jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans.
Going forward, there will be increased emphasis on making economic impact and fostering commercialisation of
Research and Development (R&D). A separate Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) budget has been allocated for the
commercialisation of research discoveries and the strengthening of the enterprise ecosystem.
A*STAR has been allocated a total of S$6.39 billion for this quinquennium. A*STAR’s Science, Technology &
Enterprise Plan (STEP) 2015, is a culmination of more than 2 years of planning, incorporating valuable inputs
from experts and leaders in the research community and industry, both local and international, as well as the key
economic agencies in Singapore.
A*STAR will continue to be at the forefront of scientific excellence, and lead in innovative R&D to support Singapore’s
key economic clusters, as well as capture growth through emerging industries. But more than that, “Enterprise” will
be a key thrust in A*STAR’s S&T plan going forward. There will be enhanced and concerted efforts to engage and
anchor multi-national companies (MNCs) in Singapore, seed the innovative capacities in and gear local enterprises
for growth. To help local enterprises source for or acquire useful intellectual properties (IPs) or technologies, thus
enabling and optimising their businesses, products and services, A*STAR will also set up a new multi-agency IP
Intermediary.
STEP2015 will also see the co-location of the Science & Engineering Research Institutes (RIs) in Fusionopolis,
accelerating inter-RI collaborations and providing a suite of research capabilities, which will enhance technology
development and attract industry.
Starting in 2011, many of A*STAR’s young and bright research talents will be completing their scholarships
and returning to contribute to the S&T developments in Singapore. A*STAR’s focus in the next phase of talent
development is to develop itself as a global nexus for local and international scientific talent, who are drawn to a
unique, vibrant, inter-disciplinary and globally-connected environment for scientific research and innovation.
STEP2015 will not only see A*STAR taking science to new heights, it will also see a surge in Singapore’s key
economic clusters and help capture new economic opportunities. With our diverse scientific talent, world-class
research infrastructure and resources, I am confident that the work of A*STAR researchers will help to establish
Singapore as Asia’s Innovation Capital, and make us truly one of the most research intensive, innovative and
entrepreneurial economies in the world.
Lim Chuan Poh
Chairman, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Singapore
Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1
CHAPTER 1
Transformation of Singapore’s Economy
7
CHAPTER 2
Review of Science & Technology 2010 Plan
15
CHAPTER 3
Sustaining Singapore’s Economy Through Innovation
31
CHAPTER 4
Growing Economic Clusters Through Impactful Science
37
CHAPTER 5
Putting Science to Use
53
CHAPTER 6
Creating a Global Nexus for Scientific Talent
65
CHAPTER 7
Building World Class Research Infrastructure
73
CHAPTER 8
Resources and Targets
81
STEP2015 PLANNING PROCESS
83
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
84
EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
TRANSFORMATION OF SINGAPORE’S
ECONOMY
Since independence, Singapore’s economy has
undergone tremendous transformation. From growing
through industrialisation in the early years to powering
the economy through knowledge and innovation in the
last two decades, Singapore’s economic landscape
has diversified significantly and grown from strength
to strength, pulled back only momentarily by global
crises.
Twenty years on, after Singapore’s first directed and
definitive 5-year plan, the National Technology Plan
(1991-1995) to boost research and development (R&D)
activities and investments, Singapore has entered the
league of R&D-intensive countries. Between 1990
and 2009, Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) increased by more than 3.7 times, with R&D
expenditure accounting for 2.3% of the GDP.
Singapore’s successful transformation into a
knowledge-based/innovation-driven economy can be
attributed to the swift and concerted efforts by both
the public and private sectors to grow the country’s
science and technology (S&T) assets, a holistic
national R&D framework and strategy as well as long
term commitment by the Government to stay invested
in R&D.
REVIEW OF Science & Technology
2010 PLAN
Under the S&T2010 Plan, A*STAR was allocated
S$5.4 billion to drive mission-oriented public research
and strengthen the base of scientific talent to support
the development of the key industry clusters viz.
biomedical sciences (BMS), chemicals, electronics,
infocommunications & media and engineering.
Phase 2 of the BMS Initiative from 2006 to 2010
focused on strengthening the basic research
capabilities established in Phase 1, and building up a
strong translational & clinical research (TCR) capability
to facilitate the translation of scientific discoveries into
new forms of treatment and diagnostics. The BMS
Executive Committee, reconstituted in 2006 to be cochaired by Chairman A*STAR and the Permanent
2
Secretary for Health, spearheaded initiatives to develop
a critical mass of intellectual and human capital for TCR.
During this phase, the private sector continued to expand
its R&D presence in Singapore. Singapore’s BMS
manufacturing portfolio became more diversified when
six major projects in biologics manufacturing were
secured from leading pharmaceutical companies such
as GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech, Roche, Lonza, Baxter
and Novartis.
A*STAR has also developed a strong suite of capabilities
in science and engineering (S&E) research. To date, a
spectrum of research programmes from intelligent
energy distribution systems, sustainable materials,
future home technologies, to medical technologies, have
been initiated with more than 1,000 research
collaboration agreements (RCAs) with key industry
partners including Nitto Denko, Mitsui Chemicals,
Hewlett Packard, Fujitsu and BASF. Through targeted
industry engagement strategies, industry consortia have
been set up, helping to anchor high value-added
activities in Singapore, as well as upgrading the
capabilities of local enterprises. Local enterprises have
also benefited from the Growing Enterprises with
Technology Upgrade (GET-Up) programme.
To provide a concerted and structured effort to foster
inter-disciplinary research between physical scientists
and engineers and the biomedical scientists at A*STAR
Research Institutes ( RIs), the A*STAR Joint Council Office
(JCO) was set up in 2007. Besides conducting grant
calls on joint research areas, various events such as
A*STAR Scientific Conference and RIs Open House were
organised to promote greater inter-council interactions
among the research communities.
Commercialisation activities in terms of licensing and
spin-offs intensified towards the end of S&T2010 Plan, as
research began to mature with the potential to translate
into tangible products, processes and services.
A critical mass of more than 1,000 Singaporean PhD
talent is being nurtured through A*STAR scholarships
since 2001. With more scholars entering and completing
the PhD phase of studies, A*STAR has focused particular
attention on enhancing the quality of the PhD experience
and facilitating the deployment and development of postPhD talent. To date, more than 25% have completed PhD
and postdoctoral training and are actively contributing
in A*STAR laboratories, academia and industry.
S&T2010 Plan also saw the completion and official
opening of Fusionopolis in 2008. Together with the
Biopolis, both facilities house about 2,500 scientists
working in close proximity and alongside multi-national
companies (MNCs) and small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) who have established their R&D labs in these
purpose-built, state-of-the-art infrastructure. This
success has spurred new ventures by private developers
to develop additional business and lab spaces at onenorth.
A*STAR has exceeded all the R&D performance targets
set for S&T2010 Plan. The key achievements in Human
Capital, Intellectual Capital and Industrial Capital
Developments are summarised in the table below.
SUSTAINING SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY
THROUGH INNOVATION
In 2009, the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC)
was set up to develop strategies for Singapore to
build capabilities and maximise opportunities to
achieve sustained and inclusive growth in a new world
environment. ESC assessed that Singapore was well
placed to seize opportunities in the post-financial crisis
world to create a strong presence in Asia. It recommended
that Singapore make skills, innovation and productivity
the basis for sustaining Singapore’s economic growth.
On enhancing Singapore’s innovation capital, ESC
recommended adopting supporting approaches
that would be flexible and responsive to the needs of
enterprises, namely ‘Integrating for Impact’ for the MNCs
and gobally competitive companies (GCCs), ‘Gearing for
Growth’ for the local SMEs and ‘Seeding for Surprises’
for high tech start-ups.
Against the backdrop of the ESC recommendations
on the R&D landscape, the Research, Innovation &
Enterprise (RIE) 2015 was convened in Aug 2009 to
develop strategies to strengthen public and private
R&D, expand innovation and enterprise efforts and
sustain scientific talent development. Working groups
were set up to deliberate on the five key functional
areas – namely Public R&D, Private R&D, Innovation
and Enterprise (I&E), Talent and Infrastructure – and to
ensure alignment and support across the government
agencies. Six key thrusts were identified to intensify
the R&D efforts for a more sustainable R&D system
in Singapore with greater competitive funding, and a
more integrated, collaborative and vibrant research
landscape.
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS
THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Public sector R&D is an important element of
Singapore’s strategy. By making strategic and directed
public R&D investments in key market and economic
sectors, Singapore can develop deep capabilities
against a broader spectrum of research areas and
strong domain knowledge of the technological needs of
industry. These expanded innovation capacities will in
turn enhance Singapore’s ability to attract top calibre
talent in various disciplines, stimulate significant
private sector R&D investments and entrench MNCs to
base their Asian and global operations in Singapore.
S&T2010 Performance Indicators for A*STAR
Human Capital Development
1
No. of PhD students trained and graduated
2
No. of RI staff spun out to locally-based industry as RSEs
Intellectual Capital Development
3
No. of primary patents filed
4
No. of papers published (in SCI and EI journals)
Industrial Capital Development
5
No. of industry projects
6
Industry funding ($m)
Actual
(as at 31 Mar 2011)
Target
(by 31 Mar 2011)
555
220
1,058
835
1,170
15,978
1,100
7,940
1,554
219.53
1,120
197.0
3
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Going forward, A*STAR’s scientific research will
continue to build on this solid foundation for a wide
spectrum of leading edge expertise and deep knowhow in various sectors of manufacturing. A*STAR’s
R&D agenda and priorities will remain closely aligned
with economic and technological developments in
global markets, and will continue to offer value
propositions and partnership opportunities for
companies to undertake knowledge-based activities
and innovations.
Building on the firm foundation of achievements in
BMS Phases 1 and 2, Phase 3 of the BMS Initiative
will seek to realise the full value of past and ongoing
investments made via greater integration (1) across
various players in the BMS ecosystem, particularly at
the system-level, to facilitate the translation of research
into applications for better economic value creation
within a sustainable BMS cluster and (2) across the
entire value chain from basic, translational & clinical
research, process R&D to manufacturing, to strengthen
and sustain its capabilities and develop new ones in
the BMS ecosystem. Key priorities for the Biomedical
Research Council (BMRC) include focusing on missionoriented programmes to achieve economic impact,
growing industry engagement and strengthening TCR
capabilities.
The Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC)
will remain focused in its mission to enhance
Singapore’s attractiveness as a location of choice for
MNCs seeking to base in Asia. SERC will continue to
develop and grow existing industry clusters through
deep domain expertise in a wide spectrum of areas
important to Singapore’s manufacturing sectors and
quick exploitation of new technological opportunities.
Platforms to transfer know-how and technologies
to industry will be strengthened through a variety
of customised- or broad- based approaches. SERC
will also draw upon capabilities from various RIs to
participate in multidisciplinary research programmes
to develop key technology-based solutions to meet
emerging, global societal trends.
Under the direction of the Joint Council Office (JCO),
efforts will be directed towards exploiting opportunities
at the interface between physical sciences &
4
engineering as well as the biomedical sciences. Key
thrusts for JCO include adopting an A*STAR-wide,
concerted approach to seed new thematic areas that
leverage on A*STAR’s BMS and S&E capabilities, and
instilling the culture of inter- or cross- disciplinary
research.
Working through the various working and steering
committees involving EDB and key industry players,
with inputs from various scientific advisory boards,
A*STAR has identified and developed an R&D agenda
and strategy to further strengthen Singapore’s
competitiveness in each of four large economic
clusters, namely biomedical sciences, electronics &
infocommunications, engineering and chemicals &
energy, and to position Singapore as a leading global
business location and Asia’s Innovation Capital. In
addition, strategies have also been identified and
developed to enable A*STAR to leverage on its span of
BMS and S&E capabilities to preposition Singapore to
capture emerging market opportunities and to exploit
new opportunities in areas such as medical technology
and nutrition & personal care products.
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
A*STAR proactively engages industry at various stages
of the research and commercialisation continuum to
facilitate knowledge and technology transfer in both
directions, as well as to ensure better alignment
between upstream research and downstream
commercialisation efforts. Industry engagement
platforms such as bilateral collaborations, consortia,
and Centres of Innovation (COIs) have been successfully
implemented in A*STAR. These are complemented by
outreach platforms such as the joint A*STAR-SPRING
Growing Enterprises with Technology Upgrade (GETUp) programme. In addition, industry development
groups in the A*STAR Research Councils and RIs are
constantly engaging the industry.
As the commercialisation arm of A*STAR, Exploit
Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL) manages the intellectual
properties (IPs) resulting from A*STAR research.
Besides working with various stakeholders to develop
an integrated and aligned IP strategy and identify IP-
savvy companies to adopt the developed IPs, ETPL also
provides technology intelligence and competitive
intelligence (TICI) to facilitate the translation process of
A*STAR technologies, and implement new initiatives to
encourage A*STAR spin-offs.
The two in-house gap funding programmes,
Commercialisation of Technology (COT) and Flagship,
will continue to be available to researchers to bridge
the “Valley of Death”, with an emphasis on improving
the commercialisation outcomes (in terms of licensing
and spin-offs) from these programmes.
A new multi-agency IP Intermediary will also be
established to expand the innovation capacities of
local enterprises by helping local enterprises identify,
source and use IP thus enabling and optimising their
businesses, products and services.
CREATING A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR
SCIENTIFIC TALENT
To realise Singapore’s vision of becoming a leading
global city of talent, enterprise and innovation, the
ability to attract, develop and nurture outstanding
research talent is critical. Singapore’s highly-educated
population and open policy towards international talent
coupled with world-class research infrastructure, global
networks, and financial resources will be its competitive
advantage.
As the lead government agency for R&D, A*STAR plays
a pivotal role in the development of industry-relevant
R&D human capital and establishment of conducive
conditions for the mobility of talent between the public
and private research sectors in Singapore.
A*STAR’s focus in the next phase of talent development
is to develop itself as a global nexus for scientific talent.
The vision is to position A*STAR and Singapore as a
world-class location for local and international scientific
talent at all levels, who are drawn to a unique, vibrant,
inter-disciplinary and globally connected environment
for scientific research and innovation.
To achieve its aim to be a global nexus for scientific
talent, A*STAR will adopt a comprehensive talent
strategy based on five key thrusts, namely (1) sustaining
top local PhD talent flow to A*STAR, (2) attracting
international talent and strengthening international
linkage, (3) creating a world class environment for
scientific career development, (4) bridging A*STAR
talents with industry and academia and (5) promoting
science to the young people and building a pipeline of
R&D talent.
These five thrusts are mutually reinforcing and will serve
to enhance Singapore’s position as Asia’s Innovation
Capital and R&D Hub, attracting and anchoring foreign
investments in Singapore. At the same time, they
enrich the scientific landscape in Singapore, adding
diversity and robustness to the local talent pool and
help to facilitate the emergence of the next generation
of scientific leaders.
BUILDING WORLD-CLASS Research
INFRASTRUCTURE
Since 2000, purpose-built facilities and infrastructure
have been developed to enhance the research
environment in Singapore. The success of Biopolis
and Fusionopolis have earned international attention
and have helped to spur further R&D infrastructure
developments by the private sector. These lab and
office spaces will serve to co-locate public research
institutes and private labs, helping to stimulate greater
collaborations and innovations.
High performance computing (HPC) tools will be
progressively provided to meet the increasing
complexities of R&D efforts. IT services at A*STAR RIs
will be aggregated to achieve greater inter-operability,
synergy and scale economies at the organisational
level.
An array of soft infrastructure/platforms such as the
A*STAR Scientific Conference and A*STAR Research
Publication will provide opportunities for interaction
within and beyond A*STAR and allow the convergence
of great minds and ideas. In addition, A*STAR’s
operational excellence initiatives such as the iGrant
and A*STAR Resource Portal have the potential to be
developed at the national level.
5
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
RESOURCES AND TARGETS
Over the next five years, the Government will set aside
a national R&D budget of S$16.1 billion to promote
public and private R&D with the aim of increasing
the national Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) to
3.5% of GDP to track the higher GERD targets set by
many knowledge-based economies and to strengthen
Singapore’s position as the Innovation Capital of Asia.
A*STAR’s allocated 5-year budget of S$6.39 billion,
constitutes an increase of 18% over that of the S&T2010
Plan. Of this allocation, a significant portion will be
granted on a competitive basis for the best ideas to
thrive. In the new 5-year tranche, A*STAR researchers
can also tap onto competitive funds beyond those
managed by A*STAR.
6
Chapter 1
TRANSFORMATION
OF SINGAPORE’S
ECONOMY
Since independence, Singapore’s
economy has evolved significantly.
This chapter examines this
evolution and the winning moves
which have helped shape this.
1
Transformation of Singapore’s Economy
TOWARDS A KNOWLEDGE-BASED/
INNOVATION-DRIVEN ECONOMY
Singapore has consistently been ranked in the top 10
per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) countries
in the world. Globally unique, Singapore’s economy
combines economic planning with free-market forces.
Since independence, the economy has evolved
significantly in terms of diversity and connectivity to
the world (see Figure 1-1).
Up into the 1980s, Singapore’s Gross Expenditure on
Research and Development (GERD) never exceeded
0.5% of GDP. Much of the economic growth in the
early years was driven by foreign direct investments.
In the face of stiff regional competition in traditional
manufacturing and services sectors, Singapore
recognised the need to broaden and diversify its
economic base to new value-added clusters and
activities. Hence, investment in research and
development (R&D) became essential to the long-term
competitiveness of Singapore’s economy.
In the 1990s, Singapore embarked on a technology
drive to transform itself into a knowledge-based first
world economy, Singapore’s GDP grew strongly in
these years, pulled back momentarily by the Asian
Financial Crisis in 1997-98, the Sep11/Dot.Com bust
in 2001 and the global financial meltdown in 200809. Real GDP rebounded sharply with a growth rate
of 14.5% in 2010, following a contraction of 0.8% in
2009, attesting to the robustness and resilience of its
diversified economy and focused economic strategies.
Singapore’s manufacturing sector has grown in
tandem, evolving from labour-intensive manufacturing
in the 1960s to capital- and skill-intensive
manufacturing in the 1970s-1980s. In the 1990s,
Singapore’s manufacturing sector moved up the value
chain, developed new capabilities and capacities
in areas such as semiconductors and aerospace
engineering, and also played an increasingly active
role on the global stage. From the 2000s, Singapore’s
manufacturing clusters diversified further to include
biomedical sciences. As a whole, the output and valueadded for the manufacturing sector tripled in the last
two decades (see Figure 1-2).
8
The services sector in Singapore started to grow only
in the 1990s after the Government set up the Services
Promotion Division in the Economic Development
Board (EDB) and Singapore diversified its economy
into the service (and retail) sector to broaden its
economic base. In 1997, the Committee on Singapore’s
Competitiveness included services to complement the
core manufacturing sector as Singapore’s twin engines
of growth. Singapore began to grow existing hub
services and develop new high-growth hub services.
Today, Singapore is one of the leading business and
financial hubs in Asia, consistently ranked among the
top global financial centres. In the Global Financial
Centres Index 9 (GFCI9) ranking released by Z/Yen
Group in Mar 2011, Singapore was ranked fourth in
the world after London, New York and Hong Kong.
SINGAPORE’S WINNING MOVES
The success that Singapore has enjoyed so far in
transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy
can be attributed to three factors: (1) swift and
concerted efforts by both the public and private sectors
to grow Singapore’s science and technology (S&T)
assets; (2) a holistic R&D framework and strategy for
Singapore; as well as (3) long-term commitment by the
Government to stay invested in R&D.
* Concerted Nation-wide Effort
As a small country with limited knowledge capital and
resources, Singapore needs to ramp up its knowledge
assets to stay ahead and compete with the other
advanced nations at the forefront of S&T. A concerted
nation-wide effort was necessary to decisively and
swiftly develop vital R&D infrastructure, attract a critical
mass of senior researchers and scientists to jump-start
developmental efforts, especially in new R&D areas
such as the biomedical sciences, develop local talents
to feed the R&D ecosystem and promote and catalyse
greater private sector investments in research and
innovation.
In the 1980s, the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC),
recognising the need for basic R&D infrastructure to
stage R&D activities and attract R&D investments in
Fig 1-1 Portrait of the Singapore Economy
Fig 1-2 Manufacturing Sector Total Output and Value Added
Share of Manufacturing by
Cluster, 1990
Biomedical
Manufacturing
1.8%
Transport
Engineering
6.5%
Total Output
(S$mil): 72,719.9
Precision
Engineering
12.6%
Electronics
38.5%
General
Manufacturing
Industries
18.1%
Precision
Engineering
16.7%
General
Manufacturing
Industries
21.4%
Biomedical
Transport
Manufacturing
Engineering
3.9%
4.6%
Precision
Engineering
11.4%
Share of Manufacturing by
Cluster, 2010p
Total Output
(S$mil): 163,720.8
Total Output
(S$mil): 270,494.7
Biomedical
Manufacturing
Transport
8.6%
Engineering
9.3%
Electronics
Precision
34.8%
Engineering
Electronics
9.8%
51.3%
General
Manufacturing
Industries
7.7%
Chemicals
General
Manufacturing
Industries
8.9%
Chemicals
19.9%
Chemicals
22.5%
Biomedical
Manufacturing
5.3%
Transport
Engineering
9.5%
Share of Manufacturing by
Cluster, 2000
29.8%
Total Value Added
(S$mil): 16,245.1
Electronics
31.1%
Chemicals
16.0%
Biomedical
Manufacturing
9.8%
Transport
Engineering
7.5%
Total Value Added
(S$mil): 39,029.5
General
Manufacturing
Industries
11.8%
Chemicals
11.9%
Total Value Added
(S$mil): 56,863.8
Electronics
31.4%
Electronics
44.2%
Precision
Engineering
14.8%
Biomedical
Manufacturing
19.6%
Transport
Engineering
14.7%
Precision
Engineering
13.4%
Chemicals
10.7%
General
Manufacturing
Industries
10.3%
Source: Economic Survey of Singapore 2010,
Ministry of Trade & Industry, 17 Feb 2011
9
Transformation of Singapore’s Economy
Singapore, developed its 10-year master plan to build
the Singapore Science Park (SSP) to promote R&D in
Singapore and to provide a focal point for research,
development and innovation in the Asia Pacific region.
At the same time, through a bilingual education policy
and a requirement for all schools to teach Maths and
Science in English starting from first grade, Singapore
has gradually and steadily fostered an educational
environment that embraces and facilitates S&T, while
creating a pipeline of local talent.
In 1991, the National Science & Technology Board
(NSTB) was set up, under the Ministry of Trade and
Industry (MTI), with the primary mission of raising
Singapore’s capabilities in S&T. The Biomedical
Research Council (BMRC) and the Science and
Engineering Research Council (SERC) were formed
in 2000 to strategise and engineer for greater S&T
successes. In 2002, to highlight Singapore’s emphasis
on the creation and exploitation of intellectual
capital and the training of research manpower in its
transition to a knowledge-based economy, the NSTB
was renamed as the Agency for Science, Technology
and Research (A*STAR).
10
In the 2000s, the Singapore government moved boldly to
build an iconic creative research hub at one-north, where
entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers from both the
public and private sectors could co-locate and derive
synergies from closer interactions. Biopolis Phase 1, a
S$500 million development in one-north, was officially
opened in 2003 to provide world-class biomedical
R&D facilities with shared research resources and
services, and to help promote collaboration amongst
the biomedical research institutes and corporate labs
located at Biopolis.
In 2008, the Science and Engineering (S&E) research
hub, Fusionopolis, was added to the one-north footprint.
Fusionopolis was developed with the aim of catalysing
the integration of S&E capabilities and to promote
private-public sector partnerships through the colocation of public sector research institutes (RIs) in S&E
as well as corporate laboratories. Fusionopolis will
eventually see the coming together of A*STAR
researchers in the fields of materials science and
engineering,
data
storage,
microelectronics,
manufacturing technology, high performance computing,
and information and communications under one roof. By
co-locating private and public sector research entities,
Fusionopolis will provide greater opportunities for
exchanges and collaborations between researchers in
both sectors, resulting in R&D that is relevant and
responsive to industry needs.
The proximity of Biopolis and Fusionopolis also
encourages collaborations across the biomedical and
science & engineering fields, pioneering research in
inter-disciplinary areas such as medical technology.
* Holistic R&D Framework and Strategy
Starting with pockets of R&D capabilities residing in
research institutes and the universities, Singapore
has now established an emerging and vibrant
R&D ecosystem comprising public sector research
institutions (A*STAR RIs), Institutes of Higher Learning
(IHLs) including the universities, polytechnics, Research
Centres of Excellence (RCEs) and international
institutions under CREATE1, hospitals and academic
medical centres, and corporate R&D laboratories. At the
same time, Singapore’s autonomous universities were
also transformed to become more research-intensive.
To manage the research performers and to ensure the
long-term relevance of Singapore R&D investments, a
holistic R&D framework and strategy was put in place.
RIEC and NRF
The Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC)
and the National Research Foundation (NRF) were set
up in 2006 under the Prime Minister’s Office to lead
and coordinate the research of different agencies,
within a larger national framework, in order to provide
a coherent and comprehensive strategic overview and
to help advance Singapore’s National R&D Agenda.
MOE
The Ministry of Education (MOE) continues to oversee
and fund academic research at the tertiary institutions
as well as investigator-led research through the
expanded Academic Research Fund (AcRF). Its focus
is on research which is foundational in nature, with
longer timeframes and driven by knowledge creation.
1
The Campus for Research Excellence and
Technological Enterprise (CREATE) is a National Research
Foundation’s initiative to bring selected elite international
research universities to establish world-class research centres
in Singapore.
MOH
The Ministry of Health (MOH), through the National
Medical Research Council (NMRC), focuses on
scientific and health research with the aim of driving
the translation of basic research to advance human
healthcare, and to increase the translational and
clinical research capabilities of public hospitals,
research institutions and medical researchers.
MTI
The Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) continues to
drive mission-oriented research through the close
integration of the efforts of its economic agencies
A*STAR, EDB and SPRING.
A*STAR is the lead agency for fostering world-class
scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledgebased Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public
sector R&D in biomedical sciences, physical sciences
and engineering, and supports Singapore’s key
economic clusters by providing intellectual, human
and industrial capital to partners in industry and the
healthcare sector. A*STAR’s R&D strategies are closely
integrated with Singapore’s economic development
strategies, and these enable Singapore to attract R&D
projects with multi-national companies (MNCs), widen
industry reach and help local enterprises upgrade.
Together with the EDB, A*STAR has helped to anchor
various flagship R&D projects and attract more MNCs
to locate corporate R&D activities in Singapore. Some
renowned MNCs in R&D that have made Singapore
their R&D centres include Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline,
Vestas, Hewlett-Packard and Fujitsu.
Apart from supporting research at its own research
institutes, A*STAR has also played a key role as a funder
of R&D in the extramural community in Singapore.
Grants are provided, on a competitive basis, to
researchers in the universities, polytechnics, hospitals
and national disease centres to carry out investigatorinitiated research, as well as research along specific
themes. Together with the various grants provided by
the MOE, MOH and the NRF for basic investigator-led
research, these grants have helped to stimulate and
support research and innovation in the larger scientific
community in Singapore, and contributed to knowledge
creation and attracting industry projects.
11
Transformation of Singapore’s Economy
A*STAR also partners SPRING, the enterprise
development agency for growing innovative companies
and fostering a competitive small and medium
enterprise (SME) sector, to upgrade the technology
capabilities of local enterprises by providing support
such as financing, capability and management
development, technology and innovation, and access
to markets.
* Singapore’s Long-Term Commitment
to R&D – 20 Years of Science and
Technology Plans (1991-2010)
Singapore’s long term commitment to R&D is
underscored by 20 years of directed S&T plans and
government funding. The first 5-year S&T plan, the
National Technology Plan (NTP, 1991-1995), developed
and supported by an R&D budget of S$2 billion, laid
the foundation to help spur R&D growth in Singapore.
The second 5-year National Science and Technology
Plan (NSTP, 1996-2000) provided another S$4 billion
to deepen Singapore’s long-term S&T capabilities.
The third 5-year S&T2005 Plan (2001-2005) provided
S$6 billion to further strengthen Singapore’s R&D
capabilities in targeted areas, nurture local talent
and recruit global talent, and promote industry
collaborations under the three strategic thrusts of
Human Capital Development, Intellectual Capital
Development and Industrial Capital Development.
These initiatives have transformed and shaped the
R&D landscape in Singapore.
At the end of the third 5-year plan, a national level review
of R&D was undertaken to organise and intensify public
R&D. A high-level Ministerial Committee on Research
and Development (MCRD) engaged R&D institutions in
Singapore and visited five small economically advanced
economies (comprising Switzerland, Denmark, the
Netherlands, Sweden and Finland) to understand
how to best organise the country’s R&D efforts for
sustained economic growth. In its recommendations,
the committee identified five strategic thrusts to guide
Singapore’s R&D efforts:
• To intensify national R&D spending to achieve 3%
of GDP by 2010.
• To identify and invest in strategic areas of R&D.
• To fund a balance of basic and applied research
within strategic areas.
• To provide resources and support to encourage
private sector R&D.
• To strengthen linkages between public and private
sector R&D.
Fig 1-3 Science and Technology Plans (1991-2010)
12
5-year S&T Plan
National Technology Plan (NTP)
Period
1991-1995
Budget
S$2 billion
National Science & Technology
Plan (NSTP) – Securing our future
1996-2000
S$4 billion
Science and Technology 2005
(S&T2005) Plan
2001-2005
S$6 billion
Science and Technology 2010
(S&T2010) Plan – Sustaining
innovation-driven growth
2006-2010
S$13.55
billion
Key Thrusts
• Develop a technology infrastructure
• Support of private sector R&D
• Develop R&D manpower
• Deepen long-term technological capabilities
and engage in medium- and longer- term
technology development
• Strengthen R&D capabilities in targeted areas
• Nurture local talent and recruiting global talent
• Promote industry
• Focus on selected areas of economic
importance
• Balance of investigator-led and missionoriented research
• Encourage more private sector R&D
• Strengthen linkages between R&D and
business
Fig 1-4 National R&D Framework
The budget for 2006-2010 more than doubled from the
previous five years, with S$13.55 billion allocated for
R&D efforts. Under the S&T2010 Plan, A*STAR received
S$5.4 billion to support public R&D through intramural
funding of its research institutes and extramural
funding of other public sector organisations.
THE NEXT DECADE
Today, Singapore is recognised as an emerging hub
on many fronts such as high-tech manufacturing, R&D
and attracting global talent. Singapore is overall wellpoised in its journey towards a knowledge-based/
innovation-driven economy.
However, the challenges and opportunities ahead will
be different. For Singapore to continue to succeed
and grow, Singapore’s strategies must be refreshed
to address and respond to new challenges and
opportunities. It is imperative for Singapore to expand
from adopting technologies and markets to creating
indigenous technologies and markets. New capabilities
and expertise must be developed and deepened so
that Singapore will be well-placed to capitalise on the
opportunities in the new landscape.
For example, stepping into the 2010s, manufacturing
will have to become more knowledge- and innovationintensive to generate higher value-added activities.
Singapore will need to continue the shift into complex
manufacturing that leverage on know-how and
intellectual property (IP). Several key manufacturing
clusters (such as electronics, chemicals, biomedical
sciences and engineering) will form the core of
Singapore’s high value-added activities.
Likewise, the focus of the services sector in the next
decade will be in exportable services such as education,
medical and financial services to tap into the expanding
middle classes in rapidly growing economies such as
China and India. Tourism will also be a key growing
service industry with the opening of the Integrated
Resorts and the attraction of international MICE2
events to Singapore. The creative industry is another
service industry that is poised to grow in the future.
To retain a globally competitive manufacturing
sector, Singapore will also need to capitalise on the
convergence of manufacturing and services, and grow
manufacturing-related services such as headquarter
activities, R&D, IP management and product lifecycle
management.
2
Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions
13
Transformation of Singapore’s Economy
In addition, the emergence of global trends and
market opportunities in areas of healthcare, wellness
and ageing and sustainable development have
necessitated the shift of R&D towards research
interfaces. Singapore should also leverage on its span
of BMS and S&E capabilities and strengths to gain
a first mover advantage in these emerging market
opportunities.
14
Chapter 2
REVIEW OF SCIENCE
& TECHNOLOGY
2010 PLAN
This chapter reviews the achievements
of the S&T2010 Plan and explores
how A*STAR’s research agenda has
developed capabilities that help fuel
Singapore’s economic development.
2
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
NATIONAL LEVEL OUTCOMES FROM Research INVESTMENTS
Twenty years after Singapore’s first directed and definitive 5-year plan, the National Technology Plan (1991-1995)
to boost research and development (R&D) activities and investments, Singapore has entered the league of R&Dintensive countries. Between 1990 and 2009, Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by more than
3.7 times, with R&D expenditure accounting for 2.3% of the GDP.
* Growth of GERD
The national Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) grew from
S$571.7 million in 1990 to S$6.0 billion in 2009. This
represents a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of
13.2%. R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP has also
been steadily increasing, from 0.8% in 1990 to 2.3% in
2009 at a CAGR of 5.6%. Singapore is targeting to increase
GERD to 3.5% of GDP by 2015.
*
Growth of BERD
The growth of private sector R&D investment has outpaced
that of the public sector R&D. Business Expenditure on
R&D (BERD) – or private sector expenditure on R&D – has
increased steadily, growing from S$309.5 million in 1990
to S$3,724 million in 2009 at a CAGR of 14.0%, compared
to a CAGR of 12.2% in the public sector R&D expenditure
(PUBERD) over the same period.
BERD has also grown as a proportion of the total expenditure
on R&D, accounting for 61.6% of GERD in 2009 (versus
54.1% in 1990). In effect, for every dollar of public R&D
spent in Singapore, about two dollars are spent on private
R&D, demonstrating that a vibrant public sector R&D scene
can stimulate significant private sector R&D investments.
*
Growth of RSE per 10,000 labour force
More R&D jobs have been created in Singapore, and there
has been a steady expansion of the talent base for research.
The number of research scientists and engineers (RSEs) as
a proportion of the total labour force grew from 27.7 RSEs
per 10,000 workers in 1990 to 87.8 RSEs per 10,000
workers in 2009.
Source: National R&D Survey
16
The number of RSEs in the private sector also outpaced
that in the public sector. In 1990, the total number of RSEs
in the public sector exceeded that in the private sector by
1,603. In 2009, the total number of RSEs in the private
sector grew to 15,068 (CAGR 13.5%), outpacing the 11,540
RSEs in the public sector (CAGR 7.4%). The total number of
PhD RSEs also grew from 970 in 1990 to 6,751 in 2009
(CAGR 10.8%).
Source: National R&D Survey
*
Growth of Patents
There has also been a steady increase in both the number of
R&D patents applied (from 142 in 1993 to 1,569 in 2009)
and patents awarded (from 52 in 1993 to 747 in 2009),
at CAGR of 16.2% and 18.1% respectively. The number of
patents applied and patents awarded per 1,000 RSEs have
also grown at CAGRs of 6.5% and 8.3% respectively over the
same period.
Source: National R&D Survey
17
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
*
International Comparison
Internationally, Singapore is ranked among the world’s
most R&D intensive countries (see Figure 2-1).
Singapore’s GERD/GDP was 2.6% in 2008 and 2.3%
in 2009. This puts Singapore in the league of research
intensive countries such as Switzerland (3.0%), United
States (2.8%), Taiwan (2.8%), Denmark (2.7%), Austria
(2.7%), Iceland (2.7%), Germany (2.6%), France (2.0%)
and Belgium (1.9%).
Singapore’s researcher intensity (FTEs1 per 1,000
Labour Force) was 9.5 in 2008 and 10.1 in 2009.
This places Singapore together with countries such as
Denmark (10.6), Japan (10.3), Taiwan (10.1), Norway
(10.0), Sweden (9.8), Korea (9.7) and the United States
(9.2 in 2007).
Singapore has consistently been ranked highly in
competitiveness rankings (see Figure 2-2). In the
Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2010-2011
published by the World Economic Forum, Singapore
maintained its third position, beating the United States
and Denmark, for the overall Global Competitiveness
Index after Switzerland and Sweden. In the World
1
Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2010 published
by Swiss International Institute for Management
Development (IMD), Singapore was ranked first,
topping Hong Kong and the United States.
Fig 2--2: International Competitiveness Rankings
Country
Finland
Israel
Korea
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Singapore
GCR 2010
7
24
22
2
1
13
3
Source: World Economic Forum (WEF) (Sep 2010), Global
Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 and Swiss International
Institute for Management Development (IMD) (May 2010),
World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010
In the area of patenting, the Government Agency
Patent Scoreboard 2010, which provides an overall
assessment of a government agency’s intellectual
property (IP) quality and quantity at a broad level,
placed A*STAR in the tenth position (see Figure 2-3).
Full-time equivalent researchers
Fig 2-1: Comparison of Selected Countries by Research & Researcher Intensity 2008
Bubble size indicates GERD in 2008 unless otherwise stated.
Source: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators 2010-1
18
WCY 2010
19
17
23
6
4
8
1
Fig 2-3: Patent ScorecardTM – Government Agencies
Govt Agencies
South Korea Electronics &
Telecommunications Research
Institute
US Department of Energy
US Navy
US Army
Japan Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science & Technology
US National Aeronautic & Space
Administration
US Department of Health & Human
Services
Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade &
Industry
France Centre National de la
Recherché Scientifique
Singapore Agency for Science,
Technology and Research
2010 Ranking
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Source: Tammy D’Amato and Lindsey Gilroy of Patent Board™
(Aug 2010), The Patent Scorecard 2010 - Government
Agencies,
http://www.iptoday.com/issues/2010/10/thepatent-scorecard-2010-government-agencies.asp
A*STAR’S ACHIEVEMENTS UNDER
THE SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (S&T)
2010 PLAN
As an R&D agency under the Ministry of Trade and
Industry (MTI), A*STAR leads the government’s efforts
in fostering world-class scientific research and talent
for a vibrant knowledge-based economy.
Under the S&T2010 Plan, A*STAR was allocated S$5.4
billion to drive mission-oriented public research and
strengthen the base of scientific talent to support the
development of the key industry clusters.
* Biomedical Sciences
Since the launch of the Biomedical Sciences (BMS)
initiative in 2000, A*STAR has developed key capabilities
in BMS to develop this sector as the fourth pillar of
Singapore’s economy, alongside electronics, engineering
and chemicals.
Based on a report released by the Massachusetts
Biotech Council in Apr 2009 on integrated bioclusters
around the world, Singapore was ranked as one of the
emerging bioclusters that was “taking strides forward
with significant government support”. Singapore was
recognised for strengths in manufacturing of high-value
biomedical products, and a good reputation for R&D and
clinical trials.
BMS Phase 1 (2001-2005): Setting the Stage
Prior to 2000, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
(IMCB) was the only full fledged BMS research institute
(RI). Pockets of biomedical research were located in the
Singapore Science Park and the National University of
Singapore (NUS), but there was no critical mass of BMS
research activities in either the public or private sector.
Fig 2-4: Alignment of Bmrc Research with Industry Sectors
19
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
During Phase 1 of Singapore’s BMS Initiative from
2001 to 2005, four new RIs were established by the
Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) to develop
core capabilities in bioprocessing, genomics &
proteomics, molecular & cell biology, bioengineering &
nanotechnology and computational biology. Together
with IMCB, all these institutes were then physically
brought together at Biopolis.
Major multi-national pharmaceutical companies, such
as GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Takeda began to set
up corporate labs in Singapore, to take advantage of
the shared services and facilities at Biopolis, as well as
opportunities to collaborate with A*STAR scientists.
Significantly, A*STAR has been successful in recruiting
a critical mass of renowned scientists and top
international talent to lead its RIs and spearhead its
research programmes. Such luminaries include Prof
Sir David Lane (co-discoverer of the p53 gene and
founder of Cyclacel), Prof Sir George Radda (pioneer of
nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and former Chief
Executive of UK Medical Research Council), Prof Edison
Liu (former Director, Division of Clinical Sciences,
National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health),
and Prof Jackie Ying (former Professor of Chemical
Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
BMS Phase 2 (2006 To 2010): Building The Team
Phase 2 of the BMS Initiative from 2006 to 2010
focused on strengthening the basic research
capabilities established in Phase 1, and building up a
strong Translational & Clinical Research (TCR) capability
to facilitate the translation of scientific discoveries into
new treatments and diagnostics.
To drive this new phase, the Biomedical Sciences
Executive Committee (BMS Exco) was reconstituted in
2006 to be co-chaired by Chairman A*STAR and the
Permanent Secretary for Health. Working through the
BMS Exco, various initiatives were implemented by
A*STAR and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop a
critical mass of intellectual and human capital for TCR
such as:
• Nurturing more clinician scientists, through the
inauguration of Singapore Translational Research
Investigator Awards and Clinician Scientist
Awards.
20
• Providing more funding opportunities such as
the BMRC-NMRC (National Medical Research
Council) Bedside & Bench Grant Call to encourage
collaborations between clinicians and basic
scientists.
• Establishing TCR Flagship Research Programmes
in cancer, neurosciences, eye diseases,
cardiovascular/metabolic disorders and infectious
diseases to address specific health problems of
strategic interest to Singapore and Asia.
• Consolidation and reorganisation of medical
schools and teaching hospitals at Kent Ridge and
Outram into Academic Medical Centres.
During this phase, the private sector continued to
expand its R&D presence in Singapore. Significantly,
Singapore’s BMS manufacturing portfolio became
more diversified when six major projects in biologics
manufacturing were secured from GlaxoSmithKline,
Genentech, Roche, Lonza, Baxter and Novartis.
More recently, major pharmaceutical companies have
also begun to actively negotiate with A*STAR, the
medical schools and the hospitals clusters to set up
public-private R&D partnerships.
* Physical Sciences and Engineering
A*STAR has also developed a strong suite of
capabilities in science and engineering research,
with seven steady-state RIs under the Science &
Engineering Research Council (SERC), supporting
Singapore’s four key manufacturing industry sectors in
electronics, infocommunications & media, chemicals
and engineering. The SERC strategy to build up a
strong and diverse portfolio of capabilities is aimed at
continually enhancing A*STAR’s value proposition to
its partners and translating research ideas to industry.
SERC has also taken significant steps to foster
multidisciplinary research and initiate research
programmes in intelligent energy distribution systems,
sustainable materials, future home technologies, and
medical technologies. These programmes tapped on
the core capabilities residing in the RIs and universities,
integrating them to develop new technologies that
demand multidisciplinary solutions. HOME2015, for
instance, has the participation of researchers from
SERC RIs, BMRC RIs, NUS and Nanyang Technological
University (NTU) in 11 joint projects such as home-based
medical diagnosis system and configurable multimodal
robot. SERC has also identified four growth themes
in Innovative Services, High Value Manufacturing,
Sustainable Development and Healthcare & Lifestyle
as major cross-cutting disciplines that integrate the
capabilities of the RIs.
SERC’s RIs have closely aligned their research with the
needs of the industry, resulting in over 1,000 Research
Collaboration Agreements (RCAs) with industry.
Projects ranged from one-to-one collaborations with
multi-national companies (MNCs) or small and medium
enterprises (SMEs), to consortia involving multiple
companies and joint laboratories with corporate R&D
organisations. These collaborations have helped to
anchor high value-added activities in Singapore, as
well as contributed to upgrading the capabilities of
local enterprises.
Today, SERC has several platforms to engage
industry. For the SMEs, SERC offers a broad suite
of technological capabilities and assistive schemes
such as the Growing Enterprises with Technology
Upgrade (GET-Up) programme which has benefitted
local enterprises via the secondment of researchers
and engineers as well as the provision of technical
advice and customised technology roadmaps. Success
stories include Resin & Pigment Technologies Pte Ltd,
which was established as ExxonMobil’s first contracted
compounder in Asia, and Cal-Comp Technology Pte Ltd
which has successfully developed an environmentallyfriendly coating technology that will reduce particulate
contamination in Hard Disk Drives (HDDs).
For the MNCs and globally competitive companies
(GCCs), SERC adopted an integrative and customised
approach with initiatives including the A*STAR
Aerospace, A*CAR, MEMS, and 3D-TSV consortia,
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Joint Labs
established between companies and RIs. Such
engagements have allowed SERC to attract companies
like Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Mitsui Chemicals, BASF,
Seiko and Nitto Denko to set up R&D centres in
Singapore, creating highly-skilled jobs and generating
economic impact for Singapore.
SERC RIs also support industry by providing access to
key research infrastructure and shared facilities for
test-bedding and characterisation. For example, the
SERC Nano-Fabrication and Characterisation (SNFC)
facility provides a wide spectrum of nanofabrication,
characterisation, analysis and testing services for all
researchers, such as those in the semiconductor and
precision engineering industries. The Fabrication,
Processing and Characterisation (FPC) initiative will
also support the development of highly specialised
multidisciplinary capabilities and new, emerging
industry sectors, notably in the printed electronics,
bioelectronics & medical devices, photonics, advanced
display and memory areas.
Fig 2-5: Alignment of SERC Research with Industry Clusters
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REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
New technologies have also emerged from the research
undertaken in SERC RIs. For example, in 2008,
researchers at the Institute for Materials Research and
Engineering (IMRE) developed a flexible substrate film
that can be used to create next-generation bendable
electronic screens and solar cells. IMRE also created a
spin-off company to commercialise the technology and
attracted venture funding to scale up manufacturing
of the film, potentially creating a new industry and
reaping value for Singapore.
To date, SERC has been successful in developing
technologically-based partnerships which attract,
retain and grow high value-add industries in Singapore
especially in the microelectronics and data storage,
aerospace and marine & offshore industries.
Going forward, SERC will continue to play a key role to
foster and catalyse growth in Singapore’s economy.
*
Multidisciplinary Research
There has also been a concerted effort to foster interdisciplinary research between the physical scientists
and engineers and the biomedical scientists at
A*STAR. The A*STAR Joint Council Office (JCO) was set
up in 2007 to stimulate and support collaborations
across the BMRC and SERC RIs through “bottom-up”
grant calls as well as programmes such as the A*STAR
Medical Technology Initiative. Besides conducting
grants on joint research areas, various events such as
A*STAR Scientific Conference and RIs Open House were
organised to promote greater inter-council interactions
among the research communities.
* International S&T Partnerships
On the international front, A*STAR represented
Singapore at several multilateral S&T fora. In 2009,
A*STAR played host to the 13th ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting on Science and Technology (AMMST) and the
58th ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology
(COST) meeting in Singapore. A*STAR also contributed
towards regional and international S&T cooperation,
having chaired the ASEAN COST between 2009 and
2010.
In addition, A*STAR partners many international S&T
agencies and actively seeks out new ones. Regular
22
dialogues/bilateral S&T meetings with key partners
have been initiated. In areas of common interests, joint
projects leveraging on complementary strengths were
also spearheaded.
* Biopolis and Fusionopolis
The development of Biopolis and Fusionopolis at onenorth is instrumental to the R&D capability build-up
of Singapore and A*STAR. Fusionopolis was officially
opened on 17 Oct 2008, just five years after the
completion of Biopolis in 2003. Purpose-built stateof-the-art infrastructure and the presence of a critical
mass of scientific talents housed at the A*STAR RIs
located within Biopolis and Fusionopolis have attracted
MNCs and SMEs to establish their R&D laboratories
here.
Such keen interests have led to private developers’
ventures to develop additional business and laboratory
spaces. Fusionopolis Phase 2B (FP2B) and Biopolis
Phase 3, completeted in Oct 2010 and Jan 2011, are
developed by the private sector.
* Human Capital Development
Since 2001, A*STAR has nurtured a pipeline of
more than 1,000 Singaporean PhD talent through its
scholarship and fellowship programmes. For S&T 2010,
555 PhD students have also been trained at A*STAR
RIs and have graduated with PhDs from A*STAR
partner universities. This is above the S&T2010 target
of 220 students. Over the same period, 1058 RSEs
have also been spun out from A*STAR RIs to industry,
contributing to the transfer of knowledge and expertise
to add value to private sector companies.
By 2008, the initial cohort of PhD scholars began to
return to A*STAR laboratories. Particular attention was
given to enhancing the quality of the PhD experience
at A*STAR, finding a good fit for returning scholars and
creating career development opportunities for young
PhD talent. Flexible career advancement pathways
were open within A*STAR, into industry and academia.
In the last few years, the opportunities to pursue
sponsored PhD training have expanded considerably,
particularly as NUS and NTU moved towards
establishing themselves as research-intensive
universities. The Singapore International Graduate
Award (SINGA) was initiated by A*STAR in 2007 to offer
opportunities for international students to pursue PhD
studies in Singapore at NUS, NTU and A*STAR.
Upstream in the talent development spectrum, A*STAR
and the RIs continue to work with the Singapore
Science Centre and schools under the Youth Science
Programme to reach out to and inspire a passion for
science among talented youths and early stage
scientists. The A*STAR Science Award for Junior
College and Upper Secondary were launched in 2006
and 2008 respectively. Together with research
attachments, science competitions and fora, these
programmes engaged young minds to build the
pipeline of scientific talent amongst the next
generation.
EXTERNAL SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF
BMRC RESEARCH INSTITUTES
The External Scientific Review (ESR) was established
to provide a critical and objective assessment of
the quality of research, the impact of scientific
achievements, and overall administration and
organisation at the BMRC RIs.
Chaired by Dr Sydney Brenner and co-chaired by Prof
Georg Friedrich Melchers and Prof Bertil Andersson,
the ESR committee comprised more than 25 domain
experts.
The ESR Committee praised the establishment of
Biopolis, with the recruitment of talented scientists and
the development of the research programmes at the
five reviewed RIs, as a major achievement by BMRC.
It noted that Singapore had achieved international
recognition as a centre for biomedical research in a
short span of time.
Fig 2-6: BMRC Research Foci and Technology Platforms
* Intellectual Capital Development
BMS Phase 2 has made steady progress towards
deepening basic research, broadening capabilities and
advancing TCR.
Five of BMRC’s more established RIs, namely
Bioinfomatics Institute (BII), Bioprocessing Technology
Institute (BTI), Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS),
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) and
Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN)
have matured and developed deep strengths in their
respective fields. An External Scientific Review (ESR)
process was carried out to provide external validation
of the scientific excellence and output of these five RIs.
(See story box for the key findings of the ESR process).
Through its research units, BMRC had built up
considerable strength in the following research foci:
molecular, cellular and developmental biology, cancer
genetics, stem cells and regenerative medicine,
immunology and infectious disease, metabolic
medicine and biomedical engineering.
In addition, BMRC has successfully nurtured a
collaborative environment that led to an increasing
number of collaborations within the BMRC RIs/
Consortia and resulted in high-impact joint publications
and the development of novel technologies or products.
For example, in 2007, IBN, GIS and IMCB jointly
developed a PCR-based diagnostic miniature device
that could rapidly detect the H5N1 avian flu virus from
throat swabs.
23
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
Seven new RIs/Consortia/Centres have been set up
since 2006 (see story box) to strengthen TCR.
BMRC has also developed strong links with the
extramural community in the hospitals, specialty
disease centres and universities. For example,
IMCB, GIS and Experimental Therapeutics Centre
(ETC) joined eight other institutions, including DSO
National Laboratories, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical
School Singapore, National Environment Agency,
NTU, NUS and Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases
to form the Singapore Dengue Consortium that aims
to share findings related to better understanding of
the dengue virus and the development of prevention,
treatment and eradication strategies.
In addition, through its extramural grants and
consortia grants, BMRC has supported more than
350 projects in the last five years. More recently, it
created the Bedside & Bench Grants to encourage
and support a greater flow of ideas, insights and
discoveries between basic scientists and the clinical
community.
BMRC has also developed strong strategic networks
with international partners, including:
• SICS’ partnership with the Liggins Institute of
the University of Auckland (New Zealand) to
develop a new research programme in growth,
development and metabolism.
• Bilateral Collaborative Research Fund with the
UK Medical Research Council (MRC) to support
research proposals in infectious diseases.
A*STAR and UK MRC jointly awarded S$4.5m in
grants to six collaborative projects in May 2010.
• Joint research funding with the Hungary National
Office for Research and Technology (NKTH) and
the New Zealand Health Research Council, both
in 2008.
Capabilities in Science and Engineering (S&E) were
also strengthened. All seven SERC RIs are now
mature RIs. The scientific excellence and industry
relevance of all seven SERC RIs had been validated
by the reviews conducted by the SERC External
Review Committee (ERC) conducted in 2008-2009.
(See story box for the key findings of the ERC).
24
NEW BMS RESEARCH INSTITUTES
New research institutes/consortia set up since 2006
include:
• The Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) was
established to build up a critical mass of expertise
in immunology, to support translational efforts and
clinical research in Singapore. SIgN currently has 18
core laboratories, focusing on three major themes of
infection, inflammation and immunoregulation.
• The Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences (SICS)
was set up to strengthen A*STAR’s capabilities to
facilitate the translation of scientific advances in
basic science into new diagnostics and therapeutics,
and nurture clinician-scientists and investigators.
SICS focuses on two disease-oriented research
programmes, namely Growth, Development &
Metabolism (GDM) and Infection & Immunity.
• The Centre of Molecular Medicine was also
repositioned to form the Institute of Medical
Biology (IMB), to provide the interface between
basic science and medicine through research that
investigates the mechanisms of human diseases.
To date, IMB has 22 laboratory groups focusing on
research in diseases such as heart disease, cancer,
and degenerative diseases, and has established
extensive collaborations and networking structures
with hospitals and disease centres, such as NUH
and National Skin Centre.
• BMRC also established the Experimental
Therapeutics Centre (ETC) and the Industry
Development Group (IDG) to strengthen the
commercialisation capabilities of its RIs and
consortia.
• The Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) was
created to build a coordinated national programme of
imaging research, and to bring together substantial
strengths in the engineering and physical sciences
with those in the biomedical sciences.
• The Singapore Stem Cell Consortium (SSCC) was
set up to catalyse the translation of basic stem cell
research into clinically viable stem cell therapies for
chronic debilitating diseases.
• Led by renowned neuroscientist Dr Dale Purves
from Duke University, the Neuroscience Research
Partnership (NRP) with Duke–NUS Graduate
Medical School (GMS) was established to create
neuroscience research capability in A*STAR and
Biopolis, and complements the translational and
clinical research interests of the Duke-NUS GMS.
EXTERNAL REVIEW COMMITTEE OF
SERC RESEARCH INSTITUTES
with Sweden’s Linkoping University to pursue
research in environmental technologies.
The External Review Committee (ERC) was established
to critically review research carried out in SERC RIs,
in terms of scientific excellence and the economic
impact of their achievements and activities, to shape
the agenda of the SERC RIs going forward and to
position them to take maximum advantage of future
opportunities.
• The SIMTech Sustainable Manufacturing Centre
Chaired by Prof William Schowalter and co-chaired by
Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, the ERC comprised
24 domain experts.
The ERC noted the significant achievements of the
SERC RIs. Research at the RIs appeared to be very
good, and was supported by excellent facilities and
infrastructure. Peer recognition of the RIs was also
steadily improving,
The RIs had developed robust research programmes to
meet the medium- to long- term needs of Singapore’s
economic sectors. Key initiatives include:
• The Experimental Power Grid Centre (EPGC)
(previously known as SINERGY Centre) was
launched in Nov 2007. EPGC’s Command & Control
Facility at Fusionopolis was completed in end-2008
and has since been operational.
• The Advanced Digital Sciences Centre (ADSC)
with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
was launched in Fusionopolis in Oct 2008.
The centre’s focus on digital sciences raises
Singapore’s position as a hub for cutting-edge
research and complement the country’s strategic
thrust in interactive & digital media. Its flagship
programme is the Human Sixth Sense Programme.
• The first translational clinical research facility at
Fusionopolis, the Singapore Advanced Imaging
Laboratory for Ocular Research (SAILOR), was
officially opened in Mar 2010. The opening marked
the culmination of five years of productive and
close collaboration between Institute for Infocomm
Research (I2R) and the Singapore Eye Research
Institute (SERI).
• Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
(SIMTech) announced in Mar 2010 a collaboration
was launched in Nov 2009 to showcase and promote
the concept of sustainability in manufacturing.
The Centre aims to work with industry to develop
and implement innovative technologies to reduce
emissions, waste and toxicity in manufacturing,
as well as promote the recycling and reuse of
resources.
• The Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences
(ICES) set up the Kilo Laboratory on Jurong Island
to develop new process techniques and solve
problems of scale-up and manufacturing for the
pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals industries.
The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, the Kilo Lab
is a platform to train and develop a new generation
of engineers and chemists in Singapore.
• SERC also spearheaded new programmes
including Robotics, eHealth, Medical Technology
and Terahertz, leveraging and integrating
capabilities across RIs. For example, A*STAR’s
Fuel Cell Technology programme leveraged on the
combined capabilities of IMRE, ICES and SIMTech.
To promote and support multidisciplinary research
involving scientists from both BMRC and SERC, the
A*STAR Joint Council Office (JCO) was set up in late
2007. To date, a total of six grant calls have been
completed and a total of 43 cross-disciplinary projects
have been funded in areas such as bioimaging,
disease diagnostics and drug discovery. It also
supported nine workshops in thematic areas aimed
at fostering interaction between SERC and BMRC
scientists. To promote cross-council interactions, the
annual A*STAR Scientific Conference was organised to
bring together researchers across the A*STAR family
to learn about each other’s work and explore interdisciplinary research opportunities. JCO also facilitated
the formation of the A*STAR Chemistry Club, officially
launched in Jan 2009.
In 2009, A*STAR formed a strategic alliance with the
Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative
Technology (CIMIT) to create greater opportunities for
impactful innovations in the area of medical technology
25
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
NEW SERC RESEARCH PROGRAMMES
A number of new multidisciplinary programmes were
spearheaded at SERC. They include:
• The Intelligent Energy Distributed Systems (IEDS)
research programme, comprising 10 research
projects, was launched in Mar 2008 to develop
capabilities in smart grid technology.
• The Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU) research
programme was launched in May 2009 to develop
capabilities in CCU. A total of 7 projects were awarded
over 3 years.
• The Sustainable Materials research programme
was launched in May 2009 to develop new,
environmentally friendly materials to support
engineering applications relevant to Singapore’s
industries. A total of 8 projects were awarded over
3 years.
• The Metamaterials research programme was
established to develop capabilities for modelling,
simulation, fabrication and characterisation for
metamaterial applications such as imaging and
sensing, nanoplasmonic devices and nanophotonic
integrated circuits and systems, microwave and
THz devices and systems. 3 research projects were
awarded over 3 years from Dec 2009.
• The HOME2015 Phase 2 research programme was
launched to build on the capabilities developed
and move to an integrated systems level approach
towards the development of future smart homes. 11
projects were granted over 2 years from Mar 2010.
(medtech) and at the same time develop an environment
conducive to train innovators for the growing medtech
industry in Singapore thus fostering a vibrant medtech
innovation ecosystem in Singapore. A*STAR, together
with EDB, also engaged Stanford University to establish
the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign (SSB) Programme
to train the next generation of Asian medtech innovators
in Singapore.
For S&T2010, A*STAR RIs have filed 1,170 primary
patent applications and published 15,978 papers in
science and engineering journals, exceeding the 5-year
targets.
26
• The Integrated Nano-Photo-Bio Interface research
programme aims to develop and strengthen
multidisciplinary capabilities in the nanotechnology,
photonics and biological sectors. This will complement
existing application-driven programmes in the
biological and medical areas. 8 research projects
were awarded over 3 years from Mar 2010.
• The Artificial Cognitive Memories (ACM) research
programme is aimed at the development of an
innovative memory-based intelligent system with
cognitive functions to emulate the human memory.
The ultimate goal of ACM is to pave a new way to
realise cognitive intelligence. 1 project was awarded
for 3 years from Feb 2010.
• The Terabits research programme seeks to support
the disk drive industry by developing 10Tb/in2
magnetic recording to increase the area density
of hard disk drives by 30 times. It also aims to
integrate relevant research resources in Singapore
and accelerate the transformation of Singapore to
become the R&D and manufacturing hub of the hard
disk drive of the future. 12 research projects were
awarded over 3 years from Jan 2010.
• The Medtech Ingestible Capsule research
programme was launched in Jul 2008 to develop
an ingestible microcapsule for inspection, diagnosis
and therapy of the GI tract. It is a multidisciplinary
collaboration between the NTU, Institute of
Microelectronic (IME), the Data Storage Institute
(DSI) and I2R, consisting of 7 research projects.
Of note, based on the Nature Asia-Pacific Publishing
Rankings 2010, A*STAR was ranked among the top
ten most prolific agencies in the Asia-Pacific region, in
terms of the total number of research papers published
in the prestigious Nature Publishing Group’s portfolio
of Nature-branded journals. By country rankings,
Singapore came in fifth overall, out-performing New
Zealand, Taiwan and India.
* Industrial Capital Development
Partnering with private sector companies to perform
R&D are important components of A*STAR’s mission.
As an indication of A*STAR’s efforts to engage industry,
for S&T2010, 1,554 industry projects have been
performed in A*STAR RIs since 2006. The industry
funding received stands at S$219.53 million.
Nature Asia-Pacific Publishing
Index 2010
Institution Ranking
#
Institution
1
The University of Tokyo,
Japan
RIKEN, Japan
Kyoto University, Japan
Chinese Academy of
Sciences (CAS), China
Osaka University, Japan
Tohoku University, Japan
Tsinghua University, China
Nagoya University
Agency for Science,
Technology and Research
(A*STAR), Singapore
Seoul National University
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Corrected count1
(Articles)
34.33
18.24
16.98
13.35
13.27
8.04
6.16
5.44
5.00
• The
4.87
• Roche signed an agreement with six Singapore
Country Ranking
#
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Country
Japan
China
Australia
South Korea
Singapore
New Zealand
Taiwan
India
Bangladesh
Thailand
Highlights of industry links include:
Corrected count1 (Articles)
163.56
65.73
38.37
24.57
11.16
6.24
2.93
1.23
0.75
0.46
The corrected count adjusts for the number of
affiliated institutions per author and the percentage of
authors per institution, assuming equal contributions
by all authors to each article. The corrected count
for a country reflects the total corrected count for all
institutions based in that region.
1
Source: Nature Asia-Pacific Publishing Rankings 2010 (Print
issue: for period 1 Jan- 31 Dec, 2010)
bioprocess capabilities and expertise
established at the Bioprocessing Technology
Institute (BTI) and its spin-off company, A*Bio Pte
Ltd, have helped Singapore secure six major
biologics investments totalling more than S$2
billion, creating about 1,300 jobs.
parties, including A*STAR, NUS, Singhealth and
NTU, to set up a Translational Medicine (TM) Hub in
Singapore and commit a budget of CHF100 million
(about S$135 million) over three years to work with
A*STAR RIs and local hospitals/disease centres
to discover and develop improved treatments for
cancer and infectious diseases.
• In Sep 2010, Procter & Gamble (P&G) signed a
Master Research Collaboration Agreement (MRCA)
with A*STAR. With the MRCA, P&G will be able
to tap on the Rls’ capabilities to help jumpstart
an innovation eco-system that will support its
expanded research and development activities
in Singapore. The collaboration will also allow
A*STAR RIs to access to the growing personal care
industry. The groundbreaking ceremony for P&G
Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC) was held on
24 Jan 2011. SgIC will be a global state-of-the-art,
27
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
SINGAPORE BIOLOGICS INDUSTRY
A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI)
played a critical role by establishing the necessary
capabilities and expertise, which helped Singapore
to attract biologics investments. In 2003, BTI’s
Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre
was spun off into a company called A-Bio Pharma, a
contract biologics manufacturer. Over the next few
years, A-Bio Pharma successfully secured major
contracts from GlaxoSmithKline and Novo Nordisk,
thus building up a strong track record for itself and
for Singapore. As a result, Singapore secured six
major biologics investments totalling more than
S$2 billion from leading pharmaceutical companies
such as GlaxoSmithKline, Genetech, Roche, Lonza,
Baxter and Novartis. These facilities will manufacture
biologics for the global market and create a total of
about 1,300 new jobs.
In Aug 2010, Luye Pharma Group Co. Ltd., a
Shandong, China-based Company that focuses on
the development, production and distribution of novel
over-the-counter (OTC) chemical drugs acquired a
major stake in A-Bio Pharma for S$7.36 million.
end-to-end mega-hub innovation centre that will
develop products to power P&G’s Purpose-Inspired
Growth Strategy.
• In Jan 2009, Abbott announced the opening of a
new pharmaceutical analytical research laboratory
in Biopolis. This is Abbott’s first pharmaceutical
research and development site in Southeast Asia.
• Schering-Plough (now part of Merck) officially
opened its first Translational Medicine Research
Centre (TMRC), a 30,000 square feet facility
located in the Biopolis in Feb 2009.
• Bayer announced five new projects in Dec 2010
with A*STAR’s Singapore Bioimaging Consortium
(SBIC), NUS, National University Health System
(NUHS), and SingHealth to investigate novel
approaches to diagnose and treat cancers. The
collaboration is part of Bayer’s S$20 million
investment in joint research projects with
Singapore-based universities, hospitals, research
institutes and companies over six years.
28
• SIgN
partnered
Switzerland-based
Cytos
Biotechnology Ltd in Apr 2009 to develop fully
human monoclonal antibodies for combating and
managing the Enterovirus 71 (EV71), one of the
two most common viruses responsible for hand,
foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Singapore.
• In May 2010, Fujitsu opened its first biomedical
focused research facility in the Southeast
Asia region at Biopolis. Working with A*STAR,
Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), NUS,
NUH and the Cancer Science Institute (CSI), the
lab aims to explore improvements in diagnostics
for diseases such as prostate and gastric cancer,
cardiovascular disease and dengue through the
development of aptamers.
• Vestas Wind Systems A/S set up its Asia Pacific
HQ in Singapore in 2006, followed by the Global
Wind Technology R&D Centre in Nov 2008 with a
commitment of S$500 million over ten years.
• In May 2006, SEIKO set up its first overseas
corporate R&D centre in Singapore that aimed to
drive collaborative research within A*STAR RIs,
including Data Storage Institute (DSI), Institute of
High Performance Computing (IHPC), SIMTech and
Institute of Microelectronics (IME).
• In Oct 2006, Mitsui Chemicals opened its first
petrochemical R&D centre outside Japan at ICES.
Subsequently, in Aug 2008, ICES and Mitsui
announced the development of a catalyst that could
produce hydrogen and benzene from methane.
• In Nov 2008, Nitto Denko opened its research
facility at Fusionopolis with an investment of S$10
million to pioneer research in organic electronic
devices in Singapore. Research collaboration
agreements were inked with DSI and IMRE.
• The SERC Aerospace Programme, launched in Jan
2007 to engage the aerospace industry has a total
of 18 industry partners in consortium activities
directed at pre-competitive technologies.
• A*STAR launched the Medtech Manufacturing
and 3D Through Silicon Via (3D-TSV) Consortia
in 2009, and the Micro-Electro-MechanicalSystems (MEMS) Consortium in 2010. The
Medtech Consortium aimed to develop capabilities
and technologies to address challenges of local
PRECISION ENGINEERING
CENTRE OF INNOVATION
(PE-COI)
A*STAR Aerospace Consortium
Launched in Jan 2007, the A*STAR Aerospace Consortium aimed to
engage companies in pre-competitive research to drive innovation
across the aviation industry and enhance the competitiveness
of local companies. A*STAR and four aerospace giants, namely
Boeing, EADS, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce, were the founding
members. 18 companies in total have since joined the programme
and a total of 24 research projects are funded in areas such as laser
processing, non-destructive testing, and development of advanced
materials for aircraft bodies. The Consortium won the 2009 Frost &
Sullivan A*STAR Aerospace R&D Institution of the Year.
companies diversifying into the medtech industry;
while the 3D-TSV and MEMS Consortia were formed
to boost manufacturing capabilities and technical
expertise in the semiconductor sector.
• The Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation
(PE-COI) was set up in Apr 2007 as a combined
effort between SPRING and A*STAR to promote and
upgrade the local precision engineering industry.
• In Jan 2009, the Fujitsu-IHPC High Performance
Computing Lab was established for the
development of petascale computing and the
deployment of the most powerful supercomputer
in Singapore.
Launched in Jun 2007, the PECOI was a joint initiative by A*STAR
and SPRING Singapore to empower
local manufacturing companies to
adopt technology innovation. Hosted
at SIMTech, the centre offered a
comprehensive
infrastructure
of
technical
manpower,
equipment
and facilities, and manufacturing IT
resources for local SMEs to upgrade
their manufacturing capabilities and
accelerate the development of new
products, equipment and processes.
• HP Labs Singapore held an official launch ceremony
on 24 Feb 2010. IHPC and HP Labs’ successful
Shared Services Platform (SSP) collaboration on
grid computing and service automation, contributed
to HP Labs’ decision to set up a full-scale research
lab in Fusionopolis, to look into future concepts in
data centre and cloud computing.
Local enterprises received targeted assistance
from SERC RIs through the Growing Enterprises with
Technology Upgrade (GET-Up) programme. Based on
a 2009 survey by the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre,
companies on the GET-Up programme projected twice
as much revenue and employment when compared to
companies which had not participated in the GET-Up
29
REVIEW OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2010 PLAN
programme. GET-Up companies also recorded a higher
proportion of sales from new and improved products.
Since its inception till 31 Mar 2011, 296 researchers
have been attached to 183 SME companies, 161
roadmaps have been developed for 137 SME companies
and 131 technical advisors have been appointed to 86
different SME companies.
OPPORTUNITIES IN A NEW
LANDSCAPE
Going forward, several global trends will shape the
future of R&D.
In the wake of the global financial meltdown, Asia
led the global economic recovery, backed by robust
exports and domestic demands. According to IMF’s
update of the World Economic Outlook, released in Jan
2011, Asia’s economies grew between 8.2% to 9.3%
in 2010, compared to 2.8% in the US, and 1.8% in the
Euro area. The projected growth for Asia’s economies
in 2011 is 4.7% to 8.4% compared to 3% in the US
and 1.5% in the Euro area. Singapore’s economy grew
by 14.5% in 2010, reversing the contraction of 0.8%
in 2009, backed by strong manufacturing output and
strong growth in the tourism and retail sectors. MTI
forecasted the Singapore economy to grow by 4% to
6% in 2011.
Socially, declining birth rates and ageing will combine
to increase healthcare and pension costs, creating
pressures on infrastructure, better medical and
healthcare products and services at affordable cost.
About 10% of the world population today are aged 60
and above. The United Nations predicts this percentage
to more than double by 2050.
Environmental issues will be brought more to the fore
as global warming begins to take its toll on economies
worldwide. The impact of environmental changes is
expected to accelerate over the next 20 years, giving
rise to urgent global issues such as food security,
public health, poverty, water scarcity and security.
Furthermore, global pressures for the implementation
of the Climate Change Agenda will continue to change
the current energy and chemical industrial sectors.
30
Sustainable development will be crucial as economies
grapple with the environmental costs brought about by
economic development. Sustainable development has
a rapidly growing market of an estimated US$850 billion
which is projected to reach US$2 trillion by 2020. Postfinancial crisis, there have been unanimous calls for
economies to be measured not just against the financial
yardstick but against a triple bottom-line including
financial, environmental and social performance.
More than half of the sustainability experts polled in
the “Economic Crisis and Sustainability Development”
report, commissioned by electronics conglomerate
Siemens, said that the economic crisis may stimulate
progress towards sustainable development. 86%
of the experts anticipate increased investments in
green technologies. One key challenge in sustainable
development is the search for sustainable or renewable
energy sources, fuelled by depletion of natural
resources, volatility of oil prices and environmental
concerns of climate change.
Over the past year, technology development
has advanced at alarming speeds. Technology
development, driven by economic, environmental and
national security reasons, is projected to continue
at a rapid pace over the next ten years to 2020,
especially in IT and in other areas of S&T. For example,
biotechnology will drive medical breakthroughs that
may lead to longer lifespan and better nutrition with
genetically modified crops while breakthroughs in
materials technology will generate widely available
products that are multi-functional, environmentally
safe, longer lasting and easily adapted to particular
consumer requirements.
These global trends present both challenges and
opportunities for global economies. Singapore needs
to tap onto this important window of opportunity to
establish leading positions in key market niches and
create a strong presence in Asia over the next 5-10
years. The ability to provide solutions to address the
challenges and capitalise on the opportunities will
greatly enhance the economic competitiveness for
Singapore.
Chapter 3
SUSTAINING
SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY
THROUGH INNOVATION
This chapter looks at the national
framework and strategies for R&D and
explores Innovation Capital as the next
propellant of Singapore’s Economy.
3
SUSTAINING SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY THROUGH INNOVATION
“The current global financial
turmoil has clouded
Singa­pore’s economic
outlook. Our economy has
gone into recession. We
must expect slower growth
and greater uncertainties at
least over the next year. But
our R&D programme takes
a longer term perspective.
It will proceed despite these
immediate ups and downs. Its
funding will not be affected.
The Govern­ment remains fully
committed to investing in
R&D, in order to develop a key
capability that will keep our
economy competitive in the
long term.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Opening of Fusionopolis
17 Oct 2008
GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION
Knowledge and innovation are two key drivers for sustaining
economic growth in the 21st century. To continue driving its
growth momentum, the key will be for Singapore to harness
its strong science and technology (S&T) foundational
ecosystem to industry-relevant research with a strong focus
on commercialisation, and to extend the ecosystem to
facilitate innovation and enterprise (I&E) development.
ECONOMIC STRATEGIES COMMITTEE
The Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) was formed
in May 2009 to develop strategies for Singapore to build
capabilities and maximise opportunities with the aim of
achieving sustained and inclusive growth. The ESC and its
eight subcommittees put forward their key recommendations
to the government in Jan 2010, with the full report released
in Feb 2010.
ESC assessed that “Singapore was well placed to succeed
in the emerging post-crisis world”. With the shift of markets
to Asia in the post-crisis world, it was essential for Singapore
to seize the “window of opportunity to create a strong
presence in Asia over the next 5 to 10 years”. Recognising
Singapore’s workforce constraint, ESC recommended that
Singapore make skills, innovation and productivity the basis
for sustaining Singapore’s economic growth, targeting to
achieve productivity growth of 2 to 3 percent per year over
the next ten years.
The three broad priorities include:
• Boosting skills in every job via a comprehensive
national effort to boost productivity and make enterprise
innovation pervasive, supported through both broadbased and targeted sectoral programmes.
• Deepening
corporate capabilities to seize
opportunities in Asia, entrenching Singapore as the
essential base in Asia for both multi-national companies
(MNCs) and global small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) through increasing private sector research and
development (R&D) expenditure, developing stronger
alliance to promote technology transfer, test-bedding
and commercialisation, and helping SMEs develop
capabilities to support the MNCs and global SMEs.
32
Economic Strategies Committee
Chaired by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister
for Finance, the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC)
comprised members drawn from the Government, the
labour movement and the private sector, to bring a wide
range of views and fresh ideas. They included 14 private
sector representatives from the manufacturing and
services sectors; foreign and local enterprises, large and
small; as well as academia.
Objectives:
• To develop and recommend strategies to grow
Singapore’s future as a leading global city in the
heart of Asia
• To enable sustained economic growth, faster than other advanced economies
• Developing depth of talent and superior
capabilities
• Seizing growth opportunities
• Optimising use of scarce resources
•
So as to provide opportunities for all
• Creating quality jobs and real wage growth for
the broad majority
• Making continued social investments for an
inclusive, upwardly mobile society
To facilitate this, eight sub-committees of the ESC
undertook in-depth reviews of the various issues, including:
• Seizing growth opportunities
• Developing a vibrant SME sector and globally competitive local companies
• Attracting and rooting MNCs, Asian enterprises and global mid-sized companies
• Growing knowledge capital
• Making Singapore a leading global city
• Fostering inclusive growth
• Ensuring energy resilience and sustainable growth.
and
• Maximising value from land as a scarce resource
Source: http://www.esc.gov.sg/index.htm
• Making Singapore a distinctive global city and a
vibrant hub in Asia for enterprise, talent, cultures
and ideas.
Identified as one of the three bases for sustaining
Singapore’s economic growth, innovation holds the key
to Singapore’s future economic successes.
Singapore is in an excellent position to become a
key global R&D hub and Asia’s Innovation Capital
– the home for private sector R&D activities and
innovation, in partnerships and collaborations with
world-class public sector R&D institutes, a hub for
innovation and enterprise, and a location of choice
for commercialisation. ESC has recommended to
raise Singapore’s Gross Expenditure on Research
and Development (GERD) to 3.5% of GDP by 2015
through increased private sector R&D expenditure.
To strengthen emphasis on business innovation
and commercialisation of R&D, the subcommittee
on “Growing Knowledge Capital” recommended the
adoption of a holistic framework covering knowledge
creation, innovation capital, talent and funding. Besides
further leveraging on public sector R&D institutions
and facilities to drive innovation, Singapore would also
need to ramp up its innovation capital to enhance the
value created by its R&D investments.
* “Integrating for Impact” – for MNCs
and GCCs
To attract MNCs and grow gobally competitive
companies (GCCs), a concierge approach is needed one that leverages on Singapore’s intrinsic
organisational strengths to responsively integrate
capabilities, research institutes (RIs) and public sector
agencies to deliver customised solutions with a
common purpose. The focus is to develop appropriate
models for interaction and collaboration between
public and private sector institutions. These models or
innovation platforms (comprising bilateral collaboration
platforms, consortia-type platforms and system-level
integrated platforms) create value for industries in a
way that responsively caters to the unique needs of
each particular industry.
Infrastructure that provides companies with ready
access to state-of-the-art facilities, test beds, pilot plants
and living laboratories are also compelling innovative
platforms for public-private sector partnerships.
In order for any customised and integrated platform to
be effective, it will be necessary for the private sector
research performers to be partners in defining and
shaping the research agenda for collaboration, for
example through Chief Technology Officer (CTO)/Chief
Scientific Officer (CSO) forum.
33
SUSTAINING SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY THROUGH INNOVATION
Fig 3-1: Key Recommendations from ESC Subcommittee on “Growing Knowledge Capital”
* “Gearing for Growth”– for Local
Enterprises
Singapore’s local enterprises form a significant
portion of its manufacturing sector and play a major
role in supporting MNCs. In 2007, local enterprises
in the manufacturing sector, specifically in precision
engineering, biomedical sciences, electronics,
logistics, engineering & environment technology and
chemicals, collectively employed some 170,000 skilled
workers and contributed a Value-Added (VA) of S$19.1
billion, which was about 38% of the total VA of the key
manufacturing sectors.
Singapore should create more opportunities to
develop the capabilities of local enterprises and gear
them for continued growth, support upgrading of their
capabilities and help them keep pace with the rapidly
changing technological landscape.
Gearing for the growth of local enterprises takes a
different approach from that of attracting MNCs or
growing GCCs. Public sector R&D capabilities need
to be adequately broad-based due to the numerous
local enterprises across many sectors. The institutions
should be facilitative in engaging local enterprises
through R&D partnerships, technology development
efforts, manpower training and outreach efforts.
34
In addition to innovation platforms such as consortiatype platforms, the polytechnics can play a bigger
role through both the Centres of Innovation (COIs)
and outreach platforms to provide technological help
to locally-based enterprises to enter new, innovative
growth areas such as medical technology (medtech)
and clean energy. Whenever possible, local enterprises
should be networked with the MNCs as part of a cluster
approach to develop research and innovation activities
in a synergistic way.
Singapore could also look at how the public sector can
provide the innovation platforms for local enterprises
by playing the role of lead reference users. This can
be done by establishing a government co-innovation
platform through the extension of the current Public
Service Innovation Framework (PSIF) scheme, or
adopting an approach similar to that of the US Small
Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.
* “Seeding for Surprises” – for Startups
A knowledge-based/innovation-driven economy must
also have a vibrant entrepreneurial sector. Here,
research-intensive universities can play a significant
role in cultivating and training entrepreneurs through
seed funding, supporting small-scale incubators and
recruiting faculty with entrepreneurial skills and track
record as mentors and role models. For example, the
University Innovation Fund (UIF) could be extended
to alumni to leverage on their extensive networks.
In addition, public sector research institutions can
develop a more directed approach in encouraging
start-up activities originating from their R&D. The
bioengineering field (such as medtech), for instance,
presents many opportunities for institutions to
effectively translate cross-disciplinary research into
value-creating innovations.
Public sector agencies should also consider adopting
or adapting proven models, such as the model for
the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative
Technology (CIMIT), for initiating and accelerating
multidisciplinary research through use-driven platforms
to link practitioners and researchers to undertake
applications-based research and develop breakthrough
solutions and products.
In addition, Singapore should provide ease of access
to a range of ideas and intellectual properties (IPs)
from both the public and private sectors and be a
marketplace of ideas as part of the strategy of “not
invented here but commercialised here”.
RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND
ENTERPRISE (RIE) 2015
The Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2015
planning process was initiated in Aug 2009 to chart the
direction of Singapore’s R&D efforts for 2011-2015.
Against the backdrop of the ESC recommendations,
working groups were convened to deliberate on the
strategies and resources for the five key functional
areas - Public R&D, Private R&D, Innovation and
Enterprise (I&E), Talent and Infrastructure.
In Sep 2010, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled
a S$16.1 billion national budget to support research,
innovation and enterprise activities for 2011-2015. A
19% increase from the S$13.55 billion allocated for
2006-2010, the budget represents Singapore’s steady
commitment to R&D. The six key strategies identified
are:
Research, Innovation &
Enterprise 2015
RIE2015 is the culmination of a year-long planning
process, harnessing the collective effort of all
research, economic and funding agencies across the
Singapore public sector. Working groups were set
up to look into the functional areas of Public R&D,
Private R&D, Innovation & Enterprise and Talent –
assessing the results of the Singapore government’s
investment in these areas up until 2010, evaluating
the strategic changes in the global and local R&D
landscape, and benchmarking Singapore to similar
R&D-intensive countries.
Built on the reviews done by the ESC, the objective of
RIE2015 was to shape the direction of Singapore’s
RIE efforts over the next five years and determine the
resources and strategies that would bring about the
desired outcomes, that support Singapore’s aim to
be one of the most research-intensive, innovative and
entrepreneurial economies in the world.
• Investing in basic science and knowledge to
seed the intellectual capital that forms the basis
for future innovations. Scientists will receive the
support and autonomy to pursue the questions
that emerge from their research, with the aim of
promoting peaks of excellence in areas with longterm economic and societal impact.
• Continued emphasis on the attraction and
development of scientific talent to meet the
needs of Singapore’s industry and public sector
research institutions. Funding will be provided for
scholarships and fellowships for talent training at
renowned institutions both locally and overseas,
to create a pipeline and critical mass of young
scientific talent.
• Greater emphasis on competitive funding to spur
innovation and bring out the best ideas for further
support and development. A greater proportion
of R&D funding will be available on a competitive
basis, while maintaining an appropriate level of
assured funding for core capabilities.
35
SUSTAINING SINGAPORE’S ECONOMY THROUGH INNOVATION
• Strengthening synergies across various R&D
performers in the public sector research agencies
and with industry. Greater funding priority will be
given to multidisciplinary and collaborative efforts,
including with corporate R&D laboratories.
• Focusing a greater proportion of R&D on economic
outcomes. This means greater support for private
sector R&D, closer collaborations between public
and private sector R&D, and added emphasis
on commercialisation of IPs, leading to new and
better products and services. Within public R&D,
the Industry Alignment Fund will encourage public
researchers to work more closely with industry.
• Providing stronger support for scientists to
take their ideas from basic research through to
commercialisation, through increased funding
to technology transfer offices, translational and
innovation centres, and enterprise incubators and
accelerators.
RIE2015 will also introduce a new S$1.6 billion White
Space fund for responding to emerging opportunities
in the course of the five year period.
“Singapore’s long term aim is
to be among the most research
intensive, innovative and
entrepreneurial economies in
the world in order to create
high value jobs and prosperity
for Singaporeans. Research
and innovation underpin the
competitiveness of our industries,
catalyse new growth areas,
and transform our economy.
Increasingly, intellectual capital
will be critical for our next phase
of economic development. Hence,
the government will allocate
S$16.1 billion to support research,
innovation and enterprise activities
in the next 5 years.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
4th Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council
(RIEC) meeting
17 Sep 2010
Fig 3-2: RIE 2015 – Macro Allocation
36
Chapter 4
GROWING ECONOMIC
CLUSTERS THROUGH
IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
A*STAR has, through its research initiatives,
developed key capabilities to deliver high impact
scientific discoveries and innovative solutions
to industry in a wide range of disciplines. This
chapter looks at A*STAR’s strategies in growing
Singapore’s existing economic clusters and
seeding new growth areas.
4
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR A*STAR’S
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Global trends present a window of opportunity for
Singapore to strengthen its lead in research and
development (R&D) and create a strong presence in
Asia over the next 5 to 10 years. This is thus a critical
juncture in Singapore’s aspiration to become an
innovation-driven economy as global companies look to
Singapore as a preferred location to launch into Asian
markets, and as Asian companies increasingly choose
to be based in Singapore to globalise their products
and services.
Public sector R&D is an important element of
Singapore’s strategy. By making strategic and directed
public R&D investments in key markets and economic
sectors, Singapore can develop deep capabilities and
strong domain knowledge of the technological needs of
industry. These expanded innovation capacities will in
turn enhance Singapore’s ability to attract top calibre
talent in various disciplines, stimulate significant
private sector R&D investments and entrench multinational companies (MNCs) to base their Asian and
global operations in Singapore.
Strong public sector R&D institutions, like A*STAR,
capable of providing innovative solutions, attracting
top talent and being flexible and responsive to
various needs of enterprises such as MNCs, globally
competitive companies (GCCs), local companies and
high-tech start-ups, are significant enablers to making
Singapore an Innovation Capital.
38
A*STAR’s R&D agenda and priorities will remain
closely aligned with economic and technological
developments in global markets, and will continue to
offer value propositions and partnership opportunities
for companies to undertake knowledge-based activities
and innovations.
* Priorities of the Biomedical Research
Council
BMS Phase 3 (2011-2015): Playing to Win
During the past ten years, the Biomedical Research
Council (BMRC) has built up core research capabilities
and expanded its talent pool. Biomedical Sciences
(BMS) Phases 1 and 2 investments in the A*STAR RIs,
universities, academic medical centres and hospitals
have enabled Singapore to become the preferred site in
Asia for novel drug discovery and device development,
thus drawing pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and
medical device companies to anchor their R&D and
manufacturing activities here.
The overall focus for BMS Phase 3 is greater integration
across various players in the BMS ecosystem including
public and private sector R&D performers, hospitals,
academic medical centres and government agencies,
particularly at the system-level, to facilitate the
translation of research into applications for better
economic value creation and health improvement (See
Figure 4-1).
To achieve the vision for BMS Phase 3, BMRC and
Singapore will need to further integrate this virtuous
cycle of activities across the entire value chain from
basic, translational & clinical research, process R&D
and manufacturing, to strengthen and sustain its
capabilities and develop new ones to fill strategic gaps
in the BMS ecosystem.
A*STAR’s scientific research will build on the long-term
investments in R&D that have laid the foundations for a
broad range of leading edge expertise and deep knowhow in various sectors of manufacturing. This has been
achieved concomitantly with high quality discoveries
and internationally recognised technological advances.
In many areas, A*STAR Research Institutes (RIs) are
well-known as being among the very best in the world
in their disciplines.
Focusing on Mission-Oriented Programmes to
Achieve Economic Impact
Furthermore, the focus on sustained capability
development, nurtured through stable funding of the
research institutions, with a mission to respond to
industry needs, has been a major asset of Singapore’s
public sector R&D endeavours.
To achieve the greatest economic impact, BMRC will
focus on mission-oriented programmes that draw on
existing strengths and capitalise on growing market
sectors. For a start, key programmes identified include
pharmaceutical and biotechnology (pharmbio),
Fig 4-1: BMS Cluster and Value Chain
biologics, medical technology (medtech), nutrition &
personal care products.
collaborate with the BMRC RIs, hospitals and academic
medical centres.
BMRC will also coordinate and integrate the efforts of its
RIs to develop clinically relevant research programmes
as well as uniquely differentiated technology platforms
that will attract collaborations and investments from
industry. Some examples include the Clinical Nutrition
Research Centre and the Asian Metabolic Phenotyping
Platform. Other platforms are currently being
developed/explored and will be added over time.
BMRC will engage pharmbio MNCs as well as
biotechnology small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
in a strategic and synergistic manner, so as to capture
the opportunities arising from the outsourcing of R&D
activities by MNCs to academic and public sector
collaborators.
Growing Industry Engagement
Reduced productivity in drug discovery coupled with
increased R&D costs, rising pressure from regulators
and health authorities to demonstrate cost-benefit of
novel therapies, as well as mounting competition from
generics as the patents on their current best-selling
drugs reach their expiry dates have led many pharmbio
companies to adopt novel business models in order to
remain competitive. MNCs such as GlaxoSmithKline,
Pfizer and Roche have begun outsourcing their R&D
activities to academic and public sector collaborators.
This presents opportunities for Singapore to be a
location of choice for these leading global companies
as they look to outsource their R&D activities to Asia
to capitalise on the emerging opportunities, markets
and talent in the region. Recently, Roche established
its Translational Medicine (TM) Hub in Singapore to
To meet industry’s growing interest in multi-institution
collaborations, BMRC has worked closely with the
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and
the Ministry of Health (MOH) to establish the BMS
Industry Partnership Office (IPO) to provide a single
point-of-contact for BMS companies pursuing research
collaborations with multiple entities in Singapore,
including A*STAR RIs, hospitals and academic medical
centres.
To attract and anchor corporate R&D labs, BMRC
will also offer partnership opportunities and access
to technology platforms and scientific capabilities.
These would draw on BMRC’s expertise from across a
wide range of disciplines (including molecular biology,
immunology, bioengineering and bioinformatics) as
well as cutting-edge technology platforms (such as
genomic sequencing and bio-imaging). Access to these
capabilities will enable industry to explore new and
innovative approaches to interrogate research data as
well as develop new solutions to difficult questions.
39
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Strengthening Translational and Clinical
Research (TCR) Capabilities
BMRC’s ability to move discoveries out of the lab and
into clinical proof-of-concept and validation studies
is highly attractive to industry and has become a key
competitive advantage for Singapore.
In the next five years, BMRC will continue to strengthen
and align its capabilities in translational & clinical
research (TCR) with its current strengths in disease
biology and platform technologies. BMRC will work even
more closely with MOH, National Medical Research
Council (NMRC) and the clinical community to
strengthen core capabilities in key therapeutic areas,
including cancer, neurosciences, eye diseases,
cardiovascular/metabolic disorders and infectious
diseases. A series of programmes and initiatives will be
implemented to build up local expertise and thought
leadership in Asian disease biology, train and support a
critical mass of clinician-scientists for TCR, and
integrate basic as well as TCR activities and resources
across Singapore in order to increase research
efficiency and, in turn, attract research investments
and private-public partnerships (PPPs) with industry.
* Priorities of the Science & Engineering
Research Council
Over the past five years, the Science & Engineering
Research Council (SERC) RIs have achieved remarkable
success in engaging industry through partnerships,
collaborations and technology transfer. These institutes
have worked on over 1,000 industry related projects,
attracted major corporate laboratory activities,
upgraded the capabilities of a large number of SMEs
and nurtured a new generation of scientific talent.
Over the next five years, in growing impact through
integration (Figure 4-2), SERC will remain focused in its
industry development mission by:
• Developing and growing existing industry clusters
through deep domain expertise in a wide spectrum
of areas important to Singapore’s manufacturing
sectors and quick exploitation of new technological
opportunities.
• Strengthening and growing platforms to transfer
know-how and technologies to industry through
40
a variety of customised- or broad- based
approaches.
• Drawing upon capabilities from various RIs
to participate in multidisciplinary research
programmes to develop key technology-based
solutions to meet emerging, global societal
trends.
Developing a Mission-Oriented Research Portfolio
and Growing Impact through Integration
Moving forward, SERC RIs will increasingly operate
with a portfolio approach where a balance is sought
in delivering domain specific capabilities to industries
and supporting large scale multidisciplinary research
programmes to solve significant technological issues.
The strategic integration of the span of engineering
science capabilities that exist at the RIs will be
central to SERC’s efforts in this quinquennium. To
ensure efficient deployment of resources, individuals
in the same cluster but housed in different RIs will
be strategically integrated and managed as part of a
single capability. Through this integrative approach,
SERC will be better able to manage its R&D portfolio
with greater speed, flexibility and responsiveness.
Pre-positioning Research Capabilities for the
Future
To fuel economic growth and secure Singapore’s future,
SERC will help pre-position the research community
outside A*STAR through partnerships, to address both
short and long term industrial requirements within
existing economic clusters.
SERC pursues a two-pronged approach to deliver
this outcome. First, through sponsored research
agreements, demonstration projects, road mapping and
consortia, SERC research programmes will continue to
work closely on industry and user defined priorities.
Second, SERC will have a competitive process seeking
ideas based on the creativity of SERC researchers and
network of technical experts. SERC will continue to
engage the extramural community through the Public
Sector Fund (PSF) and Thematic Strategic Research
Programme (TSRP) Grant Calls to grow capabilities at
the universities that would complement the SERC RIs.
Fig 4-2: Growing Impact Through Integration at Serc
SERC also seeks to identify and grow research themes
that form the basis of new economic clusters and
which support the technological underpinning of the
Singapore economy.
Enhancing Industry Engagement Efforts
SERC will continue to provide the platforms and
opportunities for MNCs and SMEs to collaborate and
integrate for impact through bilateral collaborations,
consortia and talent transfer initiatives. In particular,
SERC endeavours to gear the SMEs up for growth
and move them up the value chain through outreach
platforms and assistive schemes such as the Growing
Enterprises with Technology Upgrade (GET-Up)
programme. In line with the recommendation of the
Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) to grow 1,000
Singapore enterprises with revenues of over $100
million in ten years, A*STAR will be expanding and
enhancing the GET-Up programme by partnering with
the local polytechnics and Centres of Innovation (COIs)
to support the manpower and technical needs of SMEs.
Drawing from SERC’s Span of Capabilities
The span of capabilities at the SERC RIs presents
opportunities for participation in highly integrated
Multidisciplinary Research Programmes (MRPs) to
solve deep challenges in cross-cutting areas such as
urban living, sustainable development and clean energy
systems. These solutions also enable SERC to enter
new markets and expand Singapore’s manufacturing
clusters into new economic growth areas.
* Priorities of the A*STAR Joint
Council
Towards the end of A*STAR’s journey in the S&T2010
Plan, global trends that portend the rising shift of R&D
towards research interfaces started to emerge. These
trends include the creation of new departments in
bioengineering or cross-faculty/cross-school institutes
(for instance the Bio-X Programme in Stanford University
and the Centre for Integrative Systems Biology at
Imperial College) signify the rising opportunities that
cross-disciplinary research can offer.
A*STAR recognises the need to capture new
opportunities and is well-positioned to do so through
the integration of its existing capabilities and strategic
advantages built over the years:
• Strong and deep research expertise in specific
domains and disciplines spanning across
biomedical sciences to physical sciences and
engineering.
• Close proximity of biomedical sciences and physical
sciences and engineering researchers, shared
41
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
research facilities and infrastructure made possible
by the co-location of Biopolis and Fusionopolis
research powerhouses.
• Close linkages with sister agencies such as EDB
and SPRING and close networks with industry
facilitate the solicitation of industry feedback and
collaborations on emerging market opportunities.
The Joint Council Office (JCO) was established in
end of 2007 with the mandate to foster joint council
research within A*STAR in a systematic and coordinated
approach.
Building on the success to-date, A*STAR will expand
its efforts on joint council research and develop it as
an important strategic thrust in A*STAR’s scientific
agenda.
Joint Council Agenda in STEP2015
In STEP2015, A*STAR will continue to foster Joint
Council collaborative research by building an eco-system
that facilitates interaction and creates opportunities
to allow multidisciplinary ideas to come together
and cross-pollinate through top-down and bottom-up
approaches. This is in response to the opportunity for
a portfolio approach to develop higher-risk, longer-term
R&D that could potentially yield big winners. Advances in
technology and global trends have created new prospects
and challenges in the cross-disciplinary space.
In the top-down approach, significant resources
will be allocated for strategic areas identified in the
multidisciplinary space. These initiatives will leverage
on existing capabilities to develop new thematic areas
as well as enable A*STAR to build up a whole new suite
of capabilities.
To complement the top-down approach for strategic
research programmes, JCO will also be rolling out
several new initiatives to grow community interest in
joint council research through empowering individual
groups as well as the younger research scientists and
engineers in A*STAR.
In addition, JCO will foster the development of interdisciplinary scientific capabilities through interaction
and collaborative platforms to instill new mindsets
within the A*STAR research community to engage in
inter-disciplinary research.
42
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS
THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
A*STAR’s R&D efforts have been focused on
attracting and anchoring MNCs in four large
economic clusters namely biomedical sciences,
electronics & infocommunications, engineering and
chemicals & energy. Along with the growing influence
and economic power of Asia in the world economy
and as globalisation of Asian enterprises gain speed,
there is a need for Singapore to further strengthen
the competitiveness of these economic clusters and
position itself as a leading global business location
and Asia’s Innovation Capital.
* Biomedical Sciences
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology (Pharmbio)
The global market for medicines is expanding as a
result of population increase, growing affluence in
E7 countries (comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China,
Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey) and new medical
needs. It is projected that by 2020, the market will be
worth US$1.3 trillion, representing 2.5 times increase
from the current US$518 billion market1 .
To remain competitive, pharmbio companies are
employing novel business models. MNCs such as
GlaxoSmithkline, Pfizer and Roche have begun to
adopt a more collaborative approach and outsource
their R&D activities to academic and public sector
collaborators.
Pharmbio companies are also expanding into Asia to
capitalise on emerging opportunities, markets and
talent pool. This is not only due to the opening up of
markets in China and India, but also because of the
increasing burden of chronic diseases such as
diabetes and cancer. As many of these diseases
manifest differently in Asian ethnic groups, pharmbio
companies seeking to develop therapies and
diagnostics for Asian patients will need to partner
with scientists who have a deep understanding of
disease biology in Asian populations as well as access
to patients from the ethnic groups that represent the
largest populations in Asia.
1
Pharma 2020: The Vision, PWC Report 2007
With a comprehensive suite of BMS R&D scientific
capabilities, the ability to integrate efforts across the
entire value chain as well as a growing pool of scientific
thought leaders and clinician-scientists around specific
areas of disease and disease biology, Singapore is
well-placed to capture these growing opportunities.
Companies are also attracted by Singapore’s ability
to carry out proof-of-concept (POC) and early phase
clinical trials in a multi-ethnic/Asian-representative
captive patient pool, the availability of well-phenotyped
longitudinal population/cohort studies and a robust and
credible ethical and regulatory framework (including
Institutional Review Boards and good intellectual
property (IP) protection).
Biologics
Biologics is the fastest-growing segment of the
pharmbio industry. It involves complex manufacturing
processes to develop new technologies or products in
areas such as cell therapy, vaccines and antibodies.
According to the Biotechnology Industry Organisation,
there are more than 400 biotechnology drug products
and vaccines currently in clinical trials, targeting
more than 200 diseases, including various cancers,
Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, AIDS
and arthritis. BMRC has attracted industry interest
based on its capability in cell therapy and vaccines/
antibody development platforms.
Going forward, BMRC will continue to build on its
strengths in bioprocess technology for biologics
manufacturing, human immunology for development
of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies as well as stem
cell research and regenerative medicine to engage
industry partners to capture this fast growing market.
Partnering with industry in biologics R&D projects at
the early discovery stage will also enable Singapore to
have a higher chance of retaining other opportunities
further down the value chain within Singapore. This is
because the development and pilot manufacturing of
biologics are closely linked processes - the subsequent
scale-up process development and industrial scale
manufacturing require deep expertise transfer from
the development stages.
Pharmbio Proof-of-Concept (POC) Projects
Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies and venture
capitalists (VCs) are preferentially interested in projects
that already show POC data in man. They are also keen
to partner with public sector organisations to take their
candidates to a POC stage. This presents an innovation
gap in the biomedical area between basic research
and late stage clinical developments.
Through the spectrum of capabilities built up in BMRC
and by partnering with the extramural community
(including
the
academic
medical
centres,
investigational medicine units, Singapore Clinical
Research Institute (SCRI) and Health Sciences
Authority (HSA)) in a coordinated manner, BMRC and
Singapore BMS community could take hits/leads to
the product candidate stage where they are mature
enough to be attractive to downstream partners in the
pharmbio industry. Besides the upside from potential
licensing deals with the pharmbio industry, there are
other intangible benefits, such as allowing BMRC
researchers and relevant authorities and regulatory to
gain the experience of bringing a candidate through
the drug development process, and appreciating
industry go-and-no-go decisions.
Medical Technology (Medtech)
Today, Singapore hosts 27 manufacturing plants and
25 R&D centres from leading medtech companies such
as Applied Biosystems, Becton Dickinson, Edwards
Life Sciences and Siemens. Because of its established
research capabilities in bioengineering, bioimaging,
precision engineering and manufacturing technologies,
A*STAR believes that Singapore is able to attract many
other top medtech companies and grow this sector in
a significant way.
In particular, BMRC will contribute its biology
expertise in the area of novel diagnostics/life science
instrumentations. For example, efforts in biomarker
discovery and validation at the Genome Institute of
Singapore (GIS) in 2009 led to the development of
the H1N1 birdflu virus detection surveillance tool that
allows the monitoring of the virus as it evolves in the
population. The technology development of PET imaging
modalities as a mammogram tool at the Singapore
Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) could contribute
43
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Fig 4-3: SERC’s Focus Areas in Data Storage
towards game-changing medical treatment for breast
cancer in Asians. Knowledge of blood-brain barriers
at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnolgy
(IBN) could lead to the effective and safe delivery of
drugs through nanoparticles.
BMRC’s capabilities will synergise with those of the
physical sciences & engineering to deliver impactful
and innovative medtech solutions.
Moving forward, SERC is shifting emphasis to new
research efforts including the 10 Terabits per square inch
programme, non-volatile memory programme and the
network storage and services programme. These industryrelevant capabilities provide SERC the competitive edge
needed to partner with the private sector, to commercialise
more efficient data storage technologies.
Semiconductors
* Electronics
Data Storage
As hard disk drive (HDD) companies consolidate and
move up the value chain to offer data storage services,
Singapore’s data storage sector will have to move
up the value chain to undertake enterprise network
storage manufacturing thereby expanding Singapore’s
leadership in hard disk media production and data
storage services. Areas of focus include media, HDD,
solid-state drive (SSD), storage software and system
integration.
SERC’s data storage programme integrates mature
capabilities to support current and future needs of the
data storage sector. Its expertise lies in spintronics,
media and interface, mechatronics and recording
channels, optical materials and systems, and network
storage technologies.
44
In the semiconductor sector, SERC has built up strong
capabilities in areas such as integrated circuits and
sub-systems, IC design, packaging, CMOS and MEMS
processes, and integrated circuit devices.
In recent years, as incumbent miniaturisation
technologies approach atomic limits and conventional
device scaling reaches physical limits, the ability to
develop more complex versions of the same system
components is fast reaching its end. Industry players
will have to adopt a diversified and integrative approach
which taps on ‘More-than-Moore’ capabilities.
Through the investment in a 12-inch state-of-theart fabrication facility, SERC will play a leading role in
contributing towards global technological advances in
the field of microelectronics. These are vital capabilities
needed to ensure Singapore’s electronics sector continue
to create high value-add manufacturing activities and
attract major investments to Singapore.
Fig 4-4: SERC’s Focus Areas in Semiconductors
In the coming years, SERC RIs will strengthen
capabilities that support the development of
integrated sensors, actuators, biomedical devices,
diagnostic kits, MEMS devices, wireless and lowpower electronics, energy storage devices, nanoelectronics,
silicon-photonics
and
advanced
packaging. These capabilities will enable the
development of technology platforms to meet the
needs of new growth industries such as avionics,
clean energy, maritime and medical engineering.
* Infocommunications
The infocommunications (infocomm) cluster is a
large and disparate sector representing business
needs from hardware manufacturing, software
development to service provisions. A*STAR has
built capabilities and will continue to develop them
to support the infocomm cluster. These include
ubiquitous communication, multimedia processing,
intelligence, sensing, services and security. To retain
Singapore’s position as a global telecommunications
innovation centre, SERC will develop and partner with
industry in the implementation of novel technologies
that build on the next generation broadband network
infrastructure.
Data analytics and higher forms of data exploitation are
receiving more attention from enterprises, governments
and research communities, and are increasingly moving
to analysing real-time information flows. The data
management and analytics industry is estimated to be
worth more than US$100 billion and is growing at almost
10% a year, roughly twice as fast as the software business
as a whole.
The research focus on data analytics is synergistic
with Singapore’s vision for an integrated information
infrastructure starting with the sharing and agglomeration
of data collected by public entities and convenient access
to quality geospatial information, to provide insight into
the decision making and service delivery process.
Fig 4-5: SERC’s Focus Areas in Infocommunications
One of the key areas in the infocomm space is data
analytics – the process of turning data into knowledge.
45
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Research will focus on developing the service
framework and architecture to support cloud-based
architecture and programming models. Technologies
will be developed to address data security and privacy
issues to protect the data in the shared cloud-based
ecosystem as they are being created, stored, accessed,
transferred and processed.
Research in pervasive microfluidics will involve the
development of high volume manufacturing of
microfluidics-based devices. Priority will be given to the
creation of a library of process capabilities, laying down
of standards for device design and manufacturing,
innovations in cost-effective manufacturing technologies
viable for mass production and development of
technology platforms for application testing.
* Engineering & Manufacturing
Research initiatives in printed electronics will develop
materials, electronics and large area process capabilities
for the manufacture of high value printed electronics in
Singapore.
Precision Engineering
Manufacturing is a key pillar of Singapore’s economy.
The manufacturing sector in Singapore has driven the
transformation of the Singapore economy from one
that is labour intensive to one that is high value-added
and knowledge intensive.
SERC RIs will continue to advance their manufacturing
capabilities through the development and use
of advanced materials, enhance the speed to
commercialisation from R&D and adopt a systems
approach to technology solutions.
Research in advanced materials will focus on the
synthesis and engineering of materials for enhanced
properties and new functionalities. These will include
the development of new, light-weight, high-strength
and sustainable materials that leverage on new
understandings in nano-science and biomimetic
materials.
In addition, SERC has identified strategic research
areas to promote high value manufacturing which
include pervasive microfluidics, printed electronics,
nano-manufacturing of multi-functional products and
devices and sustainable manufacturing.
Fig 4-6: SERC’s Focus Areas in Precision Engineering
46
A*STAR’s strategy for research in nano-manufacturing
of multi-functional products and devices will leverage
on existing strengths to develop two key areas, namely
fabrication of nano-structures and instrumentation
at the nano-scale, to integrate the formulation of
engineering rules for nano-fabrication scale-up, POC of
nano-products and devices, and innovative nano-scale
analytical devices.
In sustainable manufacturing, SERC will collaborate
with local and international research communities
and industries to build capabilities in sustainable
manufacturing technologies and services that minimise
toxicity, emissions and waste.
Transport Engineering: Aerospace
The aerospace industry is a fast-growing sector with a
compound annual growth rate of 13% since 1990. With
an aircraft MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul)
market share which accounts for a quarter of the Asia
Pacific business and 7-8% of the global market, and
the anchoring of world leading companies such as ST
Fig 4--7: SERC’s Focus Areas in Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace, General Electronics, Pratt & Whitney,
Boeing and Rolls Royce, Singapore has achieved a
strong leadership position in this sector. Furthermore,
the sector has created good jobs for Singaporeans,
with an increasing skills content in which many
Singaporeans have strong interest.
total output of S$20.1 billion in FY2009, an increase from
S$16.3 billion in FY2007. The sector also contributed
9.4% of total manufacturing output and 12.2% of total
manufacturing value-added. The industry employed
close to 70,000 people with skilled employment of
almost 12,000 people.
The A*STAR Aerospace Consortium was set up
in 2007 to engage companies in pre-competitive
research to drive innovation across the aviation
industry and enhance the competitiveness of local
companies. A*STAR was awarded the Aerospace R&D
organisation of the year at the 2009 Frost & Sullivan
Asia Pacific Aerospace and Defense Awards.
A*STAR already has a number of R&D initiatives targeted
at growing the marine and offshore sector. Major ones
include the Offshore Technology Research Programme
(OTRP), Maritime Port Authority (MPA) - Institute of High
Performance Computing (IHPC) Maritime Research
Programme, and the Joint MPA-Infocomm Development
Authority (IDA) [email protected] Programme.
Moving forward, the research focus for aerospace
will still be in MRO, with new focus in manufacturing
technologies. SERC will continue to use the Aerospace
Programme to work with the Queen Bees for the latest
aircraft technologies such as composite materials
and avionics. Partnering with SPRING, the programme
will also develop the SMEs to anchor Singapore as
the place for total MRO solutions. The new focus in
manufacturing technologies will be in engine-related
technologies for supporting the emerging needs at
the Seletar Air Hub.
In addition, A*STAR also has pockets of capabilities that
enable Singapore to capitalise on new opportunity in
deepwater drilling. For instance, the high temperature
electronics R&D capabilities available at the Institute of
Microelectronics (IME) can be expanded to ruggedised
electronics R&D for high temperature high pressure
(HTHP) applications. Data Storage Institute (DSI)’s
research in ruggedised high-density memory can be
customised for offshore deepwater applications and
the research on manufacturing technologies at the
Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
(SIMTech) can be applied to downhole and subsea
equipment makers.
Transport Engineering: Marine & Offshore
In the marine and offshore sector, Singapore has
achieved global leadership through an indigenous
industry. The marine and offshore sector recorded a
In 2010, A*STAR, together with EDB, set up the Marine
& Offshore Taskforce (MOTF) to identify the public sector
R&D strategy and research agenda which will support
Fig 4-8: Marine and Offshore R&D Capabilities and Strategy
47
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Singapore’s marine, offshore and oil & gas equipment
and services industry to achieve a strong and
sustainable competitive advantage. MOTF’s vision is
to establish Singapore as an Integrated Global Marine
& Offshore Hub, to be the “Norway and Houston of
the East”. This involves a three-pronged strategy of
ensuring sustained leadership position for Singapore’s
major yards via productivity initiatives, growing the oil
& gas equipment and services sector as an additional
pillar for the marine and offshore industry beyond the
shipyards and growing Singapore’s base of marine and
offshore knowledge and technology.
Moving forward, SERC’s strategy is to launch holistic
efforts, working with the whole marine and offshore
community (including relevant government agencies,
academia, industries and international experts), to
sustain the competitive advantages of the industry.
SERC will also leverage and integrate existing
capabilities at the RIs and develop an R&D agenda
to address Singapore’s technology and capability gap
to support the offshore deepwater segment of the
marine & offshore cluster. Key programmes identified
include (1) Deepwater platform design & oil production
including subsea systems; (2) Specialised vessel
design including emerging clean & engine technology;
(3) Composite materials for marine & offshore
applications; (4) Advanced ruggedised electronics for
equipment & sensor design including logging systems;
(5) Oil & gas equipment manufacturing; and (6)
Reservoir information & data acquisition.
* Chemicals & Energy
The chemicals and energy industry, the largest
manufacturing cluster after electronics, is a key
contributor to Singapore’s economy. As one of the
world’s top three exporting refining centres, Singapore
has attracted major investments from many leading
global petrochemical and specialty chemicals
companies, such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Mitsui
Chemicals, BASF and LANXESS.
As the chemical and energy industry moves into its next
phase of growth, Singapore will focus on developing longterm sustainability with the development of competitive
48
and diversified feedstock options for companies, as
well as high value specialty chemicals and advanced
materials. To enhance the competitiveness of
Singapore’s chemicals industry, a new ‘Jurong Island
version 2.0’ initiative will be implemented to develop
technology solutions to optimise resources such as
energy, carbon, water and land for the island.
SERC will participate in these efforts to enhance value
through R&D to move the industry up the value chain.
The focus will be on R&D that meets industry needs
including identifying competitive energy and feedstock
options, developing carbon mitigation solutions and
achieving leadership in the specialty chemicals space.
On the energy front, in making its recommendations,
the ESC Subcommittee on “Ensuring Energy Resilience
and Sustainable Growth” concluded that the global
energy challenge is a problem that Singapore, as an
open and small nation state, will have to grapple with,
and that having affordable, clean and reliable energy
will be essential for Singapore’s continued economic
growth and competitiveness. To meet these challenges
and seek economic opportunities from global energy
developments, the Subcommittee’s recommendation
was for Singapore to become a smart energy economy
that is resilient, sustainable and innovative.
Aligning to this, the National Energy Research
Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Strategy
(2011-2015) envisaged Energy RD&D as an enabler
for Singapore to achieve broader energy policy
objectives of growing economic competitiveness,
enhancing energy security, and securing environmental
sustainability. To achieve these objectives, Singapore
needs to adopt a portfolio approach to its RD&D
strategy, focusing on system-level solutions and
technologies
closer
to
demonstration/
commercialisation, with appropriate links to upstream
research, while leveraging on Singapore’s value
propositions as a competitive business location and a
“living lab”, with strong manufacturing base and whole
of government synergy across government agencies.
Together with various government agencies, A*STAR’s
R&D initiatives will span three focus areas of developing
intelligent energy infrastructure and addressing both
supply and demand issues.
Fig 4-9: SERC’s Focus Areas in Chemicals And Energy
A*STAR’s Intelligent Energy Distributed System (IEDS)
R&D programme aims to develop local capabilities
in smart grid technologies. In addition, A*STAR has
established the Experimental Power Grid Centre
(EPGC) to enable the research and experimental testbedding of next-generation smart grid technologies
and distributed energy systems, in partnerships with
industry players and government agencies such as the
Energy Market Authority (EMA). The EPGC will also play
a key role in supporting the R&D of national initiatives
to promote the use of electric vehicles and energy
efficiency for buildings, industry and homes.
On the supply side, solar is recognised as a potential
renewable energy sources that can help enhance
Singapore’s energy resilience and environmental
sustainability. A*STAR will continue in its research
efforts with industry partners to seek technological
breakthroughs in the development of solar photovoltaic
through innovations in new materials, device designs,
plastic electronics and manufacturing.
On the demand side, the Institute of Chemical and
Engineering Sciences (ICES) is developing carbon
conversion and utilisation (CCU) solutions, positioning
Singapore as a key node for CCU RD&D.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES LEVERAGING ON
INTEGRATED CAPABILITIES
Leveraging on its span of biomedical and science
and engineering capabilities and strengths in flexibly
creating and organising research programmes that
transcend cluster and disciplinary boundaries, A*STAR
is in an excellent position to pre-position Singapore to
capture emerging market opportunities that have a
science and technology base and to translate crossdisciplinary research into value-creating innovations.
Besides strengthening the competitiveness of existing
economic clusters, A*STAR is also leveraging on
integrated capabilities across the biomedical and
the physical sciences and engineering disciplines to
exploit new opportunities in areas such as medtech
and nutrition & personal care products.
* Medical Technology Innovation and
Enterprise
Medtech encompasses technologies such as devices,
equipment, as well as IT platforms that diagnose,
treat and/or improve human healthcare. The medtech
industry, though smaller in revenue size as compared
to the pharmaceutical industry, is a rapidly growing
industry with high profit margins, supported by
49
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Fig 4-10: Medtech R&D Capabilities and Strategy
high value manufacturing. Strategically, this makes
medtech a highly attractive cluster that can boost
Singapore’s economy, and at the same time leverage
on the nation’s existing strengths in engineering,
manufacturing and biomedical sciences.
Fostering Innovations and Innovators
Central to A*STAR’s medtech strategy is to foster
innovations, innovators and collaborations. To foster
innovations, A*STAR will continue to leverage on
the Biomedical Engineering Programme (BEP), a
competitive grant first conceived in 2008 aimed at
engaging the local clinical community with A*STAR
A*STAR – CIMIT COLLABORATION
The A*STAR - CIMIT collaboration will cover the
following aspects:
• Adopting and adapting CIMIT’s model (“Find,
Fund & Facilitate”) into BEP to strengthen the
innovation process.
• Late stage R&D of commercialisation projects
from CIMIT (funded beyond proof-of-concept) in
Singapore
to
increase
pipeline
of
commercialisable projects.
• Launching Joint Grant Calls to support upstream
and collaborative projects between Boston
clinicians and Singapore engineers and/or
clinicians.
50
scientists and engineers, to develop cost-effective
innovations through a needs-driven approach. A*STAR
will also collaborate with the Center for Integration
of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT), a
consortium of Boston-based hospitals and engineering
schools, whose primary mission is to improve patient
care through medtech innovations by facilitating
collaborations among scientists, engineers and
clinicians.
To foster medical device innovators, A*STAR partners
with EDB, hospitals, Schools of Medicine, Engineering
and Business in NUS and Schools of Engineering and
Business in NTU to establish the Singapore-Stanford
Biodesign (SSB) programme in Singapore.
* Nutrition and Personal Care
Products
Increasing population growth, urbanisation and
greater consumer affluence in Asia have led to the
expansion of the personal care, food and nutrition
industries. Opportunities are abundant in the global
consumer market, which hit US$227 billion globally
in 2005 and is due to reach US$265 billion in 2010.
Singapore’s capabilities in chemistry, food sciences,
biomedical sciences and engineering have translated
into well-skilled manpower for knowledge-intensive
manufacturing and specialist R&D activities and
innovation.
SINGAPORE - STANFORD
BIODESIGN (SSB) PROGRAMME
Modelled after the Stanford Biodesign Programme,
the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign (SSB) Programme
is a prestigious multidisciplinary educational
programme to train the next generation of Asian
medical technology innovators and leaders. Its
curriculum (“the Biodesign Process”) is designed to
encompass the entire value chain of medical device
innovation from the identification of unmet clinical
needs, to invention, prototyping, commercialisation
implementation and business plan writing and
pitching. Additionally, SSB also aims to customise the
“Biodesign Process” to characterise an Asian medical
device innovation process that is relevant to industry
and healthcare needs in Asia. This know-how will be
highly valuable to BEP and will help Singapore stay
competitive with other leading innovation centers
globally.
The SSB programme consists of two components: (i) a
highly competitive year-long postgraduate fellowship
where 4-8 fellows from diverse backgrounds
(medicine, engineering, business) are selected to be
trained per year and (ii) a 2-quarter graduate student
class for 25-30 people, jointly run by the Engineering,
Business and Medical Schools from NUS and NTU.
A*STAR’s strengths and capabilities have also
begun to attract interest from companies outside
of the traditional pharmbio and medtech fields.
Manufacturers in the nutrition and fast-moving
consumer goods (FMCG) industry have approached
A*STAR RIs to seek collaborations that can lead to
products and applications in skin care, nutrition and
personal care.
To build on these interests, A*STAR has jointly identified
with EDB the areas of nutrition and personal care for
research and industry development, leveraging existing
investment to widen the opportunities for industry
engagement and investment. Going forward, A*STAR
will actively work with companies in the nutrition, skin
care and personal care industries to seek out more
opportunities for collaboration and commercialisation.
In the area of nutrition, A*STAR will focus on obesity
and diabetes management, health and high value
foods, food processing and safety, food ingredients,
and food efficacy and satiety. This can potentially lead
to the development of innovative fortified foods that
meet the needs of specific metabolic disease patient
groups and specially formulated food that prevents
food allergies. Relevant research capabilities include
clinical epigenetics and phenotyping, developmental
biology, immunology, manufacturing technology,
modelling and simulation, chemical synthesis and
extraction of flavours and natural products as well as
food packaging techniques.
Fig 4-11: Nutrition R&D Capabilities and Strategy
51
GROWING ECONOMIC CLUSTERS THROUGH IMPACTFUL SCIENCE
Fig 4-12: Personal Care R&D Capabilities and Strategy
In the area of personal care, A*STAR’s strategy is to
focus on areas where there is capability to be at the
leading edge and to seek industrial partners who
can leverage on these capabilities to advance their
research and manufacturing activities in Singapore.
Focus areas will include hair care, skin care, personal
care, and fabrics and home.
A*STAR’s understanding of Asian physiology and biology
presents exciting opportunities for the development
of innovative products tailored for the growing Asian
market. For example, differences in skin architecture
and susceptibility to UV rays alter the composition of
skin care products for Asian population.
Research capabilities include computational modelling
and simulation of hair and skin, development of
functional polymers for encapsulation, development
of lubricants and protection layers, development
of a nano-imprint for anti-bacterial growth, micro
and double emulsion for topical delivery, cell-based
diagnostic devices, modelling of mechanical stress
and ageing on skin, as well as drug delivery techniques
with hydrogels.
ENGAGING AND SUPPORTING
THE EXTRAMURAL RESEARCH
COMMUNITY
A*STAR will continue to lead and engage the broader
extramural research community such as the hospitals,
universities and the polytechnics, in its efforts to
52
enhance the competitiveness of existing industry
clusters and to create new industry clusters to sustain
Singapore’s economy.
Besides collaborating with and engaging key members
of the extramural research community to be members
of industry consortia, A*STAR will also continue to
fund and support research in the extramural research
community. Where possible, grants would be provided
to build up industry-aligned capabilities and industry
collaboration initiatives, as well as the development of
multidisciplinary and integrated programmes with early
industry involvement.
BMRC will be tapping onto the BMS Open Collaborative
Fund managed by the BMS Executive Committee to
deepen its engagement with the universities and
hospitals, and to strengthen TCR capabilities in
Singapore.
SERC’s Public Sector Funding (PSF) grants will support
high quality research at the local Institutes of Higher
Learning (IHLs) and to seed capabilities which SERC can
tap on in the future. SERC will also assist in setting up
GET-Up programmes at the polytechnics and its COIs.
In addition, scientific shared facilities will continue to be
available to the extramural research community.
Through engaging and supporting the extramural research
community in a synergistic manner, A*STAR can further
integrate, push and expand its research capabilities for
greater economic impact for Singapore.
Chapter 5
PUTTING SCIENCE
TO USE
In understanding how R&D can deliver
value through the commercialisation
of intellectual properties and establish
Singapore as Asia’s Innovation Capital,
this chapter looks at the innovation
and enterprise (I&E) strategies and
initiatives in A*STAR that will bring its
technologies from mind to market.
5
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
As a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade &
Industry (MTI), A*STAR’s mission and work is closely
aligned to industry needs. To further facilitate the
transition from mind to market and strengthen the
innovation and enterprise (I&E) value chain, five
mechanisms have been identified. They include:
(1) engaging the industry, (2) facilitating the use of
intellectual properties (IPs), (3) securing gap funding, (4)
encouraging entrepreneurship and commercialisation
and (5) spurring new growth through open innovation
(see Figure 5-1).
enhance their technological edge through the transfer
of technology and know-how from the RIs.
ENGAGING THE INDUSTRY
This A*STAR-CIMIT collaboration will potentially result
in the co-development of IPs between A*STAR, the
universities, hospitals and CIMIT. Other potential
outcomes of the collaboration include the creation
of more high-level and high-skill jobs in the growing
medtech industry, the creation of value to large
medtech companies in Singapore, and the gearing
effect with local manufacturers as part of the supply
chain.
A*STAR proactively engages the industry at various
stages of the research and commercialisation
continuum to facilitate knowledge and technology
transfer, as well as to ensure better alignment between
upstream research and downstream commercialisation
efforts.
* Research Collaborations
A*STAR seeks to engage top international research
organisations through bilateral collaborations, or
direct one-to-one research and development (R&D)
collaborations between a private company and A*STAR
Research Institute (RI). This allows the companies to
In Nov 2009, A*STAR announced a collaboration with
the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative
Technology (CIMIT), a consortium of Boston-based
hospitals and engineering schools. Bringing together
practitioners and researchers in a use-driven platform,
it not only creates greater opportunities for impactful
innovations in the area of medical technology
(medtech), but more importantly, it provides an
environment conducive to training innovators for the
growing medtech industry in Singapore.
A*STAR’s Lab-in-RI initiative, a form of bilateral
collaborations where A*STAR RIs provide private sector
companies with state-of-the-art infrastructure and
scientific support at an early stage of the R&D projects,
enable companies to jumpstart their R&D activities in
Singapore before making major capital investments.
Fig 5-1: Strengthening the Innovation and Enterprise Value Chain
54
Such collaborations have led to the establishment
of corporate R&D labs by multi-national companies
(MNCs) in Singapore. For example, Hewlett-Packard
set up its first corporate R&D lab in Southeast Asia
in Fusionopolis in Feb 2010, after an earlier 3-year
joint research programme with the Institute of High
Performance Computing (IHPC), when they created
the HP Shared Services Platform Laboratory. Likewise,
in May 2007, the Data Storage Institute (DSI)
collaborated with Fujitsu Asia to establish the first
Storage Area Network (SAN) Academy in Singapore to
foster R&D, training and offer end-user services for SAN
technologies. Subsequently, in Jan 2010, Fujitsu and
IHPC entered into a collaborative R&D partnership on
petascale computing in Singapore. As a result, Fujitsu
set up their corporate lab in Biopolis in May 2010.
Going forward, in line with the recommendation of
the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC), A*STAR
will continue to engage MNCs and gobally competitive
companies (GCCs) through bilateral collaboration
platforms. A*STAR will also actively secure bilateral
collaborations with other international R&D research
organisations.
facilitate both bilateral and multi-lateral collaborations
among the members.
Lastly, consortia serve as learning platforms for
industry to gain new insights from users in the research
community, which may facilitate the advancement of
technology and the development of new protocols and
techniques.
Following the success achieved with the A*STAR
Aerospace Consortium which was launched in Jan
2007, various consortia have been established
including the 3D Through-Silicon-Via (TSV) Consortium
in 2009 and the Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems
(MEMS) Consortium in 2010.
Going forward, playing to Singapore’s strengths in
organising itself through a Singapore Inc and whole of
government approach, A*STAR will continue to establish
selected consortia (particularly industries in the new
growth areas such as clean energy and urban solutions),
in partnership with industry (including MNCs, GCCs and
local enterprises), to develop leads and exchange ideas
that will encourage technology adoption.
* Industry Consortia
* Centres of Innovation (COIs)
Increasingly, industry consortia leveraging on the wide
spectrum of technical expertise in the RIs have been
key in helping local industries upgrade and move up
the value chain. There are several important reasons
for this.
Establishing focused Centres of Innovation (COIs) is
another way in which A*STAR engages the industry.
The physical setup of COIs allows local enterprises to
approach the host RI to seek specific technological
assistance and expertise thus helping local enterprises
upgrade their capabilities, acquire advanced
manufacturing expertise and gain access to strategic
manpower training.
Firstly, such programmes provide the conduit and
opportunities for local companies to work with MNCs
through research collaborations or membership
programmes, and to backward integrate into upstream
innovation and R&D activities, that are often limited due
to resource and capability constraints. This cultivates
a strong local supplier base for the MNCs, and helps
local enterprises develop keen market sense and
capabilities that may have export potential.
Secondly, industry competitors who may otherwise not
collaborate can be brought together into a common
space to work on pre-competitive research areas
that will benefit all parties. In addition, the consortia
provide platforms to inform members on the broad
developments within the sector, and at the same time,
One success story is the Precision Engineering Centre
of Innovation (PE-COI), a joint-initiative launched in
2007 by A*STAR and SPRING Singapore to empower
local manufacturing companies to adopt technology
innovation. Hosted at the Singapore Institute of
Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), the centre offers
comprehensive infrastructure of technical manpower,
equipment and facilities, and manufacturing IT
resources for local enterprises to upgrade their
manufacturing capabilities and accelerate the
development of new products, equipment and
processes.
55
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
As Singapore adopts a broad-based, facilitative strategy
to upgrade the capabilities of local enterprises, the
COIs at both the RIs and polytechnics will play bigger
roles in the next five years. A*STAR will continue to
replicate the COIs in growth areas such as medtech
and clean energy.
* Growing Enterprises with Technology
Upgrade (GET-Up)
A*STAR also reaches out to local enterprises via the
Growing Enterprises with Technology Upgrade (GETUp) programme, a pro-active holistic and integrated
approach aimed at boosting the global competitiveness
of local technology-intensive enterprises. It leverages
the existing schemes of EDB, SPRING Singapore and IE
Singapore, as well as the technical capabilities of the
A*STAR RIs, to address the financial, human resource
and technology constraints that enterprises face.
Going forward, the GET-Up programme will take on a
greater role in strengthening industry engagement
by working with the RIs and the Institutes of Higher
Learning (IHLs) for a coordinated and comprehensive
strategy. For a start, the GET-Up programme will be
scaled up and multiplied through involvement of the
polytechnics.
Announced in Apr 2010, four COIs in local polytechnics
came on board the GET-Up programme to help more
local enterprises upgrade their R&D capabilities to stay
competitive. They are the Food Innovation Resource
Centre at Singapore Polytechnic, the Centre of
Innovation for Electronics at Nanyang Polytechnic, and
the Marine & Offshore Technology Centre of Excellence
and the Environment & Water Technology Centre at
Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
With the polytechnics’ participation in the GET-Up
programme, local enterprises will now have a bigger
pool of public sector research performers to tap
on. They will have more access to R&D expertise,
scientific resources and industry network to accelerate
innovations. This will help them to upgrade their
capability, increase their productivity and boost their
competitiveness.
56
GET-Up Programme
To help companies identify and plan for technologies
that are relevant to their businesses and tap on
expert talent, the GET-Up programme adopts three
key tools, namely the Technology for Enterprise
Capability Upgrading (T-Up), Operation & Technology
Roadmapping (OTR) and the Technical Adviser (TA)
scheme.
Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading
(T-Up)
The T-Up initiative is a multi-agency effort by A*STAR,
EDB, SPRING Singapore, IE Singapore and IDA in
which research scientists and engineers (RSEs) from
A*STAR RIs are seconded to local enterprises. The
RIs match suitable RSEs to the company, based on
the R&D projects and requirements in mind. Partial
funding by SPRING Singapore is provided for the
salary of the RSEs (for up to two years). After this
period, there is an option for companies to retain the
seconded staff on a full-time basis if there is mutual
agreement.
Operation & Technology Roadmapping (OTR)
The OTR provides the ‘big’ picture view of technology
required to meet the various business and market
needs. This ensures that any technology introduced
is relevant to the company and will have a direct
impact on its business. At the end of the technology
roadmapping process, the company will have a
defined technology roadmap created by its key
staff with support from the relevant RIs’ technology
specialists. This will enable the company to link
business objectives with the required technology
development and to plan a R&D strategy with the key
themes identified.
Technical Adviser (TA)
In the TA scheme, senior scientists with in-depth
knowledge of the technologies used by a company,
can advise senior management on the changing
technology landscape and recommend new
technologies needed by organisations. Unlike OTR
which seeks to outline a wide-ranging technology
adoption timeline that is aligned with the company’s
business objectives, TA provides a more focused &
in-depth support on one or two key technical issues
faced by the company, assistance in formulating new
projects, and acts as a bridge to seek assistance and
contacts from the various RIs.
Fig 5 -2: GET-Up Programme and Achievements (as at 31 Mar 2011)
SUCCESS STORIES FROM GET-Up Programme
CEI Contract Manufacturing Ltd, an
electronics manufacturing services
provider, engaged DSI’s Mr Chuah
Chong Wei on a 2-year T-Up project titled
‘Technology and Capability Development
for Opto-mechanical Instruments’. The
project was completed successfully with
CEI attaining production qualification
for High Level Assembly and Test for its
U.S. customer, Zygo’s metrology product.
This led to increased revenue of S$1
million for CEI. The T-Up had also helped
CEI to create a new line of optics and
photonics engineering service offerings
and enabled CEI to venture into new
market segments such as medical
instrumentation and semiconductor
equipments. Mr Chuah was recruited by
CEI after the T-Up project and continued
to support CEI’s Optics and Photonics
technical requirements and develop new
process technologies.
ESCO Audio Visual, an audio-visual
integration company, has been
providing consultancy and integration
services for diverse technologies from
all over the world in the last 20 years.
They had an initial product concept
for an innovative facilities reservation
system, called NEMO, but needed
expertise to take the idea through.
Facilitators under GET-UP’s OTR
services worked with them to develop
a 3-year product strategy that includes
development of technologies for
production and manufacturing, as well
as the marketing, line development
and branding of NEMO. The strength
of the plan convinced a Swedish firm
to develop and market NEMO jointly.
The product is almost ready and will be
ready to launch in markets in the U.S.
and Europe.
SETSCO
has
identified
an
increased demand for materials
testing and failure analysis from
companies operating in the
packaging and assembly sectors
of the microelectronics industry
in the region. With its strength
in chemical analysis, it wanted
to meet this demand but lack
this industry-specific capability.
An A*STAR researcher was thus
seconded to the company to
build up the company’s capability
through a transfer of knowledge
and skills in failure analysis. Now,
SETSCO is able to expand its range
of services and add greater value
to its customers in the region.
Pantone 286U (Uncoated)
57
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
* A*STAR Private Consultancy
Scheme
FACILITATING THE USE OF
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTies
The scientific knowledge and experience of A*STAR
researchers are valuable assets which are much
sought after by industry. A*STAR recognises that
while several programmes have been in place to
second its researchers to industry through Research
Collaboration Agreements (RCAs) and the GET-Up
programme, more can be done especially in the area
of private consultancy.
IP management is an integral part of the process
of bringing intellectual capital to industry. Exploit
Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), the commercialisation arm
of A*STAR, works with various stakeholders to develop
an integrated and aligned IP strategy based on factors
such as thematic commercialisation and qualitative
indices. ETPL also identifies IP-savvy companies to
adopt the developed IPs.
Consultancy is encouraged in A*STAR as it forms part
of its mission to train and contribute to the research
capabilities of private sector R&D. A*STAR supports
consulting work that enables researchers to draw
on their professional capabilities to contribute to the
development of their respective professions, catalyse
the entrepreneurial exploitation of research undertaken
in the RIs, and/or have direct experience of commercial
considerations in the business world.
The A*STAR Private Consultancy Scheme, implemented
in Sep 2009, allows senior researchers to take on
private consultancy work in their personal capacity
while being employed by the RIs. In doing so, A*STAR
researchers will be able to apply industry knowledge
and networks gained from consulting in their research.
Joint Grant Calls with External
Agencies & Private Sector Companies
*
To further engage industry and boost the mind-tomarket pipeline, A*STAR will be exploring further joint
grant calls with external agencies and private sector
companies.
58
* Licensing of A*STAR Technologies
During the period FY06-10, more than 220 licenses
were signed, with total realised license revenue of
about S$5.5 million. Not withstanding, Singapore is still
in the early stages of commercialisng its intellectual
capital and has yet to hit blockbusters. It is also noted
that the current technology-push approach alone is
not sufficient to attract increased adoption rates from
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and MNCs.
To address this, ETPL provides technology and
commercialisation intelligence to researchers in the
form of specific industry trends and market needs,
prior to the start of their research projects. This has
been successfully carried out with scientists from the
Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (IBN),
and will be extended to other RIs.
Moving forward, to aid in the licensing process, ETPL
will work with the RIs to translate the technology further
downstream, i.e. to be more commercially-ready, as
well as work with potential licensees in integrating the
technology into their existing operations.
SECURING GAP FUNDING
Funding is and will continue to be a critical resource
for successful commercialisation of technologies.
Typically, funding support for the development of a
technology from the RIs stops at the IP stage; more
funding is often needed to translate the IP created into
market-ready technologies for commercial use.
At A*STAR, two types of in-house funding, namely
Commercialisation of Technology (COT) and Flagship
funding, are provided to bridge the gap needed to
take projects with strong commercialisation potential
further. To increase the chances of success, shortlisted projects are put through in-depth due diligence
on both technical and commercial aspects to ascertain
the challenges faced to enhance industry adoption.
This is complemented by marketing strategies and
deeper engagement with industry to enable better
proliferation of A*STAR technologies to the industries.
Besides enhancing the chances of success in the
marketplace, COT and Flagship funding have attracted
industry dollars to co-fund projects. In the last five
years, ETPL managed to attract 29% of external funding
from industry partners for COT and Flagship projects.
This is significant as it represents growing industry
participation and validation of A*STAR’s projects.
* Commercialisation of Technology
(COT) Funding
COT funding provides “technology incubation” for the
development of proof-of-concept (POC) or a prototype
for commercial adoption. In addition, ETPL provides
technology intelligence and supports engineering
development.
The COT initiative has gained good momentum. Since
2006, the total number of COT projects per year has
increased from 7 to more than 20 projects in FY2010
and the grant amount has also grown from S$0.75
million to S$6 million in 2010. COT-funded projects
have also resulted in 10 spin-offs from A*STAR.
Commercial Outcomes
from Commercialisation of
Technology (COT)
IP Licensing to SME
AIT
Biotech,
a
business division of
Advance Interactive
Technologies (AIT)
group, a quality
industrial IT hardware to solutions provider in
Australia and the South Pacific region, licensed five
different diagnostic assay technologies (TB, HIV,
Flu, Chikungunya, Dengue), of which three have
generated sales. Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)
and the Ministry of Health (MOH) are currently
using the diagnostic kits to screen and diagnose all
Chikungunya and Dengue cases in Singapore due
to the high specificity, sensitivity and multiplexing
capability of A*STAR’s technology. The technology
was developed by Dr Masafumi Inoue who was with
the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB)
during the development, but is currently in the
Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC).
Spin-off
The initial research at the Institute for Infocomm
Research (I2R) focused on analysing traffic for
well-known “bad” applications such as file sharing
systems that can overload networks. With the support
of COT funding, researchers expanded their scope
further into methods designed to analyse previouslyunknown traffic and identify features that could be
used as part of a detection rule set. The resulting
CUB4 engine was then applied towards enabling
network managers to better audit and control their
networks. The engine can detect IT policy violations
and perform fine-grained analysis for potential
threats, without enforcing unnecessarily strict
blocking policies. Currently, the CUB4 technology
can detect more than 4,000 protocols, services and
applications, a four-fold improvement over existing
products in the market. Dr Kostas Anagnostakis, a
former research scientist from the I2R acquired the
license and started Niometrics Pte Ltd in May 2009
as a spin-off from I2R. In 2010, Niometrics won the
“Asia Pacific Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation
Award for Network Traffic Analysis Solutions”.
59
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
* Flagship Funding
Unlike COT funding, Flagship funding provides “business
incubation” for larger projects with longer gestation
periods and significant commercial possibilities. In
addition, ETPL also helps with business strategies and
financial modelling, provides competitive intelligence
and also engages industry partners to co-nurture
inventions for market adoption.
A total of S$86.5 million has been committed for
Flagships with a total of 54 approved projects. These
Flagship projects have resulted in two spin-offs, with
three more potential spin-offs in the pipeline.
* Technology Enterprise
Commercialisation Scheme (TECS)
In addition to the provision of gap funding, A*STAR has
worked with SPRING Singapore to avail TECS funds
to A*STAR spin-off companies. TECS is a competitive
grant, evaluated by investment professionals and
industry leaders, and only the strongest proposals with
the best potential commercial outcomes are funded.
Through A*STAR’s facilitation, a number of spinoff companies have been successful in securing
TECS grants. For instance in Jun 2009, a group of
four portfolio companies under ETPL, namely, Curiox
Biosystems Pte Ltd, D-SIMLAB Technologies Pte Ltd,
Niometrics Pte Ltd and SG Molecular Diagnostics Pte
Ltd, were each awarded up to S$500,000 under TECS
for their proof-of-value projects.
The founders of all four companies were either
researchers with the A*STAR’s RIs or had leveraged
A*STAR technologies in their businesses. Curiox
Biosystems Pte Ltd was spun off in 2007 from the
Institute of Bioengineering Nanotechnology (IBN),
D-SIMLAB Technologies Pte Ltd in 2006 from SIMTech
and Niometrics Pte Ltd is a spin-off from the Institute
for Infocomm Research (I2R). SG Molecular Diagnostics
Pte Ltd took a licence from ETPL in 2009 to further
develop and market technology from IBN.
60
Commercial Outcomes
from Flagship
Tera-Barrier Films Pte Ltd, founded by two
researchers from the Institute of Materials Research
and Engineering (IMRE), Dr Mark Auch and Mr
Senthil Ramadas, was spun off from IMRE in Aug
2009 after securing a strategic investment from
Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture capital arm of
Applied Materials, Inc.
The funds have gone into the development and
manufacture of a new proprietary, moisture resistant
film that can significantly extend the life span of
devices such as organic solar cells and flexible
displays. The new film protects the easily degraded
moisture-sensitive organic materials of plastic
devices and targets the burgeoning plastic electronics
industry. Applications of the film include the
manufacturing of flexible, lightweight and cheap
electronics such as disposable or wrap-around
displays, identification tags, low cost solar cells and
chemical- and pressure-sensitive sensors. The ultrahigh barrier film technology was successfully
developed at IMRE and the barrier properties were
validated
by
solar
and
flexible
display
manufacturers.
In 2010, Tera-Barrier further secured second round
of funding from KISCO, Japan. This would include the
distributorship rights for the Asia Pacific region.
Prior to its spin-off, Tera-Barrier signed a license
agreement with EPTL to obtain the rights to develop
and market products using the breakthrough
flexible substrate technology. The company was also
incubated by EPTL as a Flagship program for 2 years
prior to spin-off.
* Funding Support for Start-ups
After start-ups have been incorporated, funding
schemes are available from both the private and public
agencies. In Singapore, more than 25 government
agencies offer about 150 schemes to assist
businesses through grants, loans, equity financing
and tax incentives. Among these are the micro-loan
programme which provides loans of up to S$100,000
for small businesses, the Angel Investors Tax Deduction
(AITD) Scheme which gives angel investors tax breaks
for investing in start-ups, and government investment
in start-ups by matching investment dollars of up to
S$1.5 million.
To complement this pool of money, ETPL has
spearheaded and established a network of business
and angel investment interest groups, under the Angel
Investment Management (AIM) programme, which
could be tapped on by potential start-ups to secure
additional monetary and business support. Currently,
the programme comprises angel development
activities from HP Alumni, NTU Alumni Club, Business
Angels Network South East Asia (BANSEA), Singapore
Manufacturers’ Federation (SMa), and Institute of
Engineers Singapore (IES).
ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP
& COMMERCIALISATION
For a vibrant I&E ecosystem, A*STAR recognises the
need to have a critical mass of technopreneurial talent
who can creatively bring innovative technologies and
assets to the market. A series of initiatives will be rolled
out
to
encourage
entrepreneurship
and
commercialisation
efforts
amongst
A*STAR
researchers.
* Promoting Entrepreneurship within
the Research Community
To encourage spin-offs and start-ups and to promote
entrepreneurship within the researcher community,
ETPL provides incubation services to entrepreneurial
researchers from the A*STAR RIs. These services
include provision of office space, IT and communications
HIGH POTENTIAL SPIN-OFFS FROM
A*STAR
Singular ID Pte Ltd, a nanotechnology A*STAR spinoff company that was founded to commercialise
magnetic tagging technology, was acquired by Bilcare
in Dec 2007. Head-quartered in Singapore, and with
a subsidiary in Padua, Italy, Singular ID is engaged
in research, development and creation of micro and
nanotechnology based novel products. With a mission
to safeguard customers’ interests by providing
integrated tagging solutions, Singular ID is a leading
solution provider for tracing and authenticating items
of value. It adopts a customer-centric approach and
works closely with its clients to tailor its technology to
meet specific customer requirements.
Curiox Biosystems Pte Ltd is a Singapore-based local
bioinstrumentation company that has been incubated
by ETPL. It has a range of patent-pending technologies
and its vision is to accelerate the progress of research
in life sciences, diagnostics and drug discovery
through its innovative “wall-less” DropArray™ platform.
Curiox is currently the only company that is able to
provide a miniaturised, simple, accurate, inexpensive
and convenient platform for conducting bioassays.
The DropArray™ technology is applied to run immuno
assays such as ELISA and cell-based assays. The
technology follows the instrument and disposable
business model. Product offerings comprise “wallless” plates to replace ubiquitous microtitre plates,
coupled with an enabling DropArray™ washing station.
The sales of proprietary “wall-less” plates provide
significant, stable revenue to the company.
D-SIMLAB Technologies Pte Ltd, an A*STAR spinoff company, is the leading provider of high-end
simulation-based decision support solutions for
the aerospace and semiconductor manufacturing
industry. Its mission is to develop, market, and
deliver high-performance simulation-based business
analytics decision and support solutions that
enable corporations to enhance their performance
in a sustainable manner, leading to significant cost
savings. In 2010, D-SIMLAB made it to the Red Herring
Global Top 100, an annual list of the hottest start-ups
in the world.
61
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
facilities, mentoring, business model refinement,
business plan development and execution, access to
investors for funding, industry and technology partners
for market development, as well as provision of license
to A*STAR’s IP.
Since 2006, there have been a total of 20 spin-offs
from A*STAR. Two spin-offs, Singular ID and EDS Labs
have exited with a total of over S$20.5 million. Another
spin-off, D-SIMLAB Technologies has made it to the Red
Herring Global Top 100, an annual list of the hottest
start-ups in the world.
* Incentivising and Motivating the
Researchers in Technology Transfer
To incentivise and recognise researchers, the
performance indicators of researchers will be better
aligned to commercialisation activities and the RIs will
be encouraged to work more closely with ETPL to identify
projects with high commercialisation potential. ETPL
will also work towards better incentives to encourage
A*STAR researchers to participate in COT and
Flagship projects and build a healthy entrepreneurial
environment.
A structured rewards and recognition scheme to
motivate researchers to pursue research with greater
commercial outcomes will be implemented:
• A new category for commercial excellence in the
Annual A*STAR Awards will be introduced, as part
of organisational efforts to recognise projects that
have strong commercial outcomes.
• On the rewards front, RIs and researchers will be
recognised for their efforts & achievements in
patent and COT/Flagship, in addition to
achievements in research and industry
collaboration.
• A*STAR will also front-load the licensing
compensation to the researchers.
62
* Distinguished Technopreneur
Speaker (DTS)
The Distinguished Technopreneur Speaker (DTS)
series is an event to seed innovation and
entrepreneurship in Singapore. Speakers are invited
based on their proven track record of exploiting
technology and innovation to create value-add and
wealth for their communities. DTS aims to engage
entrepreneurs, industry professionals, researchers,
scholars and students and inspire them to explore the
potential of entrepreneurship, innovation and emerging
technologies as envisioned by the new economy.
Previous luminaries include Prof Stephen Davies, Dr
Michael Hayden and most recently Sir Gregory Winter.
A*STAR will continue to invite these highly accomplished
entrepreneurs and academics to engage the research
community in Singapore.
SPURRING NEW GROWTH THROUGH
OPEN INNOVATION
To reinforce Singapore as Asia’s Innovation Capital
and to build a vibrant technology transfer ecosystem,
it is vital to facilitate local enterprises’ access to useful
technologies to optimise their businesses, products
and services.
In the last ten years, Singapore’s R&D landscape
has expanded strongly with growth in the number
and diversity of research performers. However, the
attention to and resources allocated for developing
innovations from R&D to enterprises has evolved with
varying success within different entities. In gearing
local enterprises for the next stage of growth, there
is a critical need to strengthen efforts to expand their
innovation capacities.
In 2011, A*STAR will establish a new multi-agency
IP Intermediary called IPI Ltd, as a pilot national
initiative, to expand the innovation capacities of local
enterprises.
DISTINGUISHED TECHNOPRENUER SPEAKERS (DTS)
Prof Stephen Davies, Chairman of Chemistry
and Waynflete Professor of Chemistry, a
highly successful serial entrepreneur and an
accomplished Oxford professor in research,
was the first Distinguished Technopreneur
Speaker at the inaugural seminar on 30 Oct
2008.
As a brilliant entrepreneur, Prof Davies founded Oxford
Asymmetry and VASTox. Oxford Asymmetry was floated
for £58 million in 2004. The company offers chemical
genomics technology to aid drug discovery.
As an accomplished academic, Prof Davies received his
B.A. in 1973 from New College, University of Oxford and
D. Phil in 1975, also at Oxford. Prof Davies subsequently
held an ICI Postdoctoral Fellowship (1975-1977 with Prof
Malcolm Green) and a NATO Fellowship (1977-1978 with
Prof Sir Derek Barton) before joining the CNRS at Gifsur-Yvette collaborating with Dr Hugh Felkin. He returned
to Oxford in 1980 to a University Lectureship and then
Professorship, as well as a Fellowship of New College. He
has since published over 375 research papers, and has
been the recipient of a variety of awards for his contribution
to organic synthesis, including the Hickinbottom Fellowship
(1984), the Pfizer Award for Chemistry (1985, 1988),
the Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Organometallic
Chemistry (1987), the Royal Society of Chemistry Bader
Award (1989), the Tilden Lecture Award (1996), the Royal
Society of Chemistry Award in Stereochemistry (1997), and
the Prize Lectureship of the Society of Synthetic Organic
Chemistry, Japan (1998).
Dr Michael Hayden, a world-renowned geneticist,
a Killam Professor of Medical Genetics at
the University of British Columbia (UBC) and
Canada Research Chair in Human Genetics
and Molecular Medicine, presented at the
DTS in Oct 2009. He is also the Director of the
Center for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics
(CMMT) in Vancouver, Canada; and a gene research
center under UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.
Dr Hayden was the top graduate in Medicine (1975) from
the University of Cape Town, where he also received his
PhD in Genetics (1979). He completed a post-doctoral
fellowship and further training in Internal Medicine at
Harvard Medical School. Michael is board-certified in both
Internal Medicine and Clinical Genetics. He has since
published over 600 peer-reviewed publications and invited
submissions and is the recipient of numerous prestigious
honours and awards including Canada’s Health Researcher
of the Year (2008), Prix Galien (2007), Leadership and
Research Excellence award of the National Centres of
Excellence (2004), and Lifetime Achievement award of
Huntington Society of Canada (2001).
Dr Hayden is also the founder of three successful
biotechnology companies: NeuroVir, Xenon Genetics
and Aspreva Pharmaceuticals. In 2006, he received five
different Entrepreneurial Awards including the Career
Achievement Award from the BC Innovation Council and
the BC Biotech Life Sciences award for Company of the
Year.
Sir Gregory Winter currently serves as
the Deputy Director of the UK Medical
Research Council (MRC) Laboratory
of Molecular Biology, and is a Fellow
of Trinity College in the University of
Cambridge.
Amongst his many achievements, he pioneered a
technique to “humanise” mouse monoclonal antibodies
in 1986. The technique has since been licensed to
around 50 companies, and led to the production of the
blockbuster anti-cancer antibodies Herceptin and Avastin
by Genentech.
In 1989, Sir Gregory founded Cambridge Antibody
Technology, a biotech company involved in antibody
engineering. One of the most successful antibody drugs
developed was HUMIRA (adalimumab), an antibody to TNF
alpha, and the world’s first fully human antibody, which
achieved annual sales exceeding $1 billion. Cambridge
Antibody Technology was acquired by Astrazeneca in
2006 for £702 million.
Sir Gregory is a serial entrepreneur, basing companies
on his inventions. In 2000, he set up Domantis to
develop single domain antibodies (subsequently sold
off to GlaxoSmithKline in 2006 for £230 million), and in
2009, he set up Bicycle Therapeutics, to develop bicyclic
peptides as small antibody mimics.
For his achievements, Sir Gregory received his knighthood,
the “Commander of the Order of the British Empire”
for his services in Molecular Biology in 2004. His other
accolades include the Prix Louis Jeantet de Medecine
(Switzerland) in 1989; the King Faisal International Prize
for Medicine (Molecular Immunology, Saudi Arabia) in
1995; the Cancer Research Institute William B. Coley
Award (USA) in 1999, and the National Biotechnology
Ventures Award (USA) in 2004.
63
PUTTING SCIENCE TO USE
The main activities of this new entity comprise IP
Intermediation, Network and Information:
Transfer Network (TTN) formed under ETPL will be
part of this network.
a. IP Intermediation – It will provide dedicated and
professional resources and expertises to help
local enterprises identify, source and use IP thus
enabling and optimising their businesses, products
and services.
c. Information – An IP Storefront will be developed to
improve accessibility of IPs from the public sector
and beyond. In addition to providing “self space”,
the storefront will develop IP offerings in user
friendly language in key industry clusters.
b. Network – It will develop a network of partners
and suppliers, locally and from abroad, to facilitate
the flow of IPs to local enterprises. The Technology
These approaches will work towards building up IPI
Ltd as a national IP intermediation platform for local
enterprise to grow further.
Fig 5-3: Catalysing IP Intermediation Activities Through Open Innovation
64
Chapter 6
CREATING A
GLOBAL NEXUS FOR
SCIENTIFIC TALENT
To realise Singapore’s vision to become a
leading global city of talent, enterprise and
innovation, this chapter explores the key
thrusts for A*STAR talent management and
development – from sustaining top local
PhD talent flow, to attracting international
talent and strengthening international
linkages.
6
CREATING A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR SCIENTIFIC TALENT
A*STAR TALENT STRATEGY
To realise Singapore’s vision of becoming a leading
global city of talent, enterprise and innovation, the
ability to attract, develop and nurture outstanding
research talent is critical. Singapore’s highly educated
population and open policy towards international talent,
coupled with world-class research infrastructure, global
networks, and financial resources are its competitive
strengths.
Given A*STAR’s strong research foundations aligned to
Singapore’s key economic sectors, as well as its strong
links and networks with universities and research
labs both locally and around the world, A*STAR plays
a pivotal role in the development of industry-relevant
research and development (R&D) human capital
and the establishment of conducive conditions for
the mobility of talent between the public and private
research sectors in Singapore.
A*STAR’s focus is to develop itself and position
Singapore as a global nexus for scientific talent at all
levels (see Figure 6-1). A*STAR will adopt a
comprehensive talent strategy based on five key
thrusts.
Fig 6-1: A*STAR – Global Nexus for Scientific Talent
66
* Thrust 1 – Sustaining Top Local PhD
Talent Flow to A*STAR
A diverse and top-notch community of scientific talent
has been a cornerstone of A*STAR’s intensive efforts
since 2001 to develop Singapore as a biomedical
sciences hub and to enhance Singapore’s engineering
and physical sciences R&D capacity. While international
talent could be actively recruited, there was no quick
solution to growing the local PhD talent pool in the
research institutes (RIs) or increasing the enrollment of
Singaporean students in the engineering and science
PhD programmes at the local universities.
To address this challenge, A*STAR pioneered a series of
PhD scholarship programmes in 2001 to build a pipeline
of 1,000 local PhD talents by 2010. To date, A*STAR
has exceeded this target. It has nurtured a pipeline of
more than 1,000 talented young local PhDs through
various scholarship and fellowship programmes. About
25% of A*STAR scholars and fellows have completed
their training and are contributing to R&D in the public
or private sector. The remaining majority are in the
process of working towards a PhD or obtaining postdoctoral experience.
The A*STAR scholarships, coupled with extensive
youth science outreach programmes by A*STAR and
its partners, have led to an increase in the number of
Singaporeans enrolled into engineering and sciences
PhD programmes in the universities.
As Singapore continues to expand its R&D activities
and programmes, it is projected that the public and
private sectors will continue to require more PhD
talent.
A*STAR will continue with an active scholarships
programme to ensure that a critical mass of local PhD
talent flow is sustained for A*STAR and Singapore.
This will establish a pool of Singaporean scientists
and scientific leaders who will contribute in diverse
sectors such as corporate R&D labs, start-up
companies, technology businesses, public research
institutes, academia and government.
* Thrust 2 – Attracting International
Talent and Strengthening
International Linkages
International talent adds diversity and robustness to
the talent pool, and contributes towards expanding
Singapore’s global network and development as an
international R&D hub. A*STAR has some 1,800 PhDqualified research staff in its RIs from Singapore, Asia,
Europe, America and other parts of the Asia Pacific.
In parallel with attracting and developing outstanding
Singaporean talent, A*STAR will continue to welcome
international talent into its community of scientific
and graduate talent. Through its International Awards,
A*STAR seeks to encourage a vibrant and diverse
flow of young pre-graduate and graduate students
from around the world to Singapore.
In addition to graduate and pre-graduate awards, A*STAR
will work in partnership with the local universities to
create more platforms in Singapore to engage top young
international talent at the undergraduate and graduate
level. This provides another level of engagement
to strengthen Singapore’s international network of
relationships in the global scientific community.
Thrust 3 – Creating a World-Class
Environment for Scientific Career
Development
*
A*STAR aims to create a world-class environment for
scientific career development and provide an invaluable
experience for local and international PhD students
and early career researchers in its RIs. A multi-faceted
approach depicted in Figure 6-2 will be adopted.
Enhancing Supervision and Mentorship Practices
at A*STAR
Various initiatives are being developed to enhance
supervisory and mentorship practice and culture
at the RIs to provide guidance, feedback and
perspective to early career researchers. For example,
positive role models and outstanding mentors will
be given recognition across the A*STAR community.
Senior leadership at the RIs and at A*STAR will also
focus attention on the progress and developmental
opportunities open to young researchers.
Fig 6-2: Enhancing the Environment for Scientific Career Development at A*STAR
A*STAR programmes such as the Singapore
International Graduate Award (SINGA), the A*STAR
Research Attachment Programme (ARAP) and the
Singapore International Pre-Graduate Award (SIPGA)
create opportunities for international students to
join Singapore’s vibrant R&D community through
research internships, PhD research attachments,
and scholarships for PhD research at A*STAR labs, in
partnership with local and overseas universities.
67
CREATING A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR SCIENTIFIC TALENT
MULTIPLE CAREER PATHWAYS FOR
A*STAR RESEARCHERS
Multiple pathways have been paved for
A*STAR talent to develop and chart their
careers along differentiated paths. Examples
of pathways are outlined below:
•
A*STAR research scientists and
engineers (RSEs) may be seconded to local
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to
boost the industry R&D efforts through the
Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading
(T-Up) scheme. Such secondments have
yielded good results, with the participating
SMEs reporting increases in bottomlines.
Several seconded RSEs eventually joined
industry as R&D staff, consultants, R&D
Directors or Chief Technology Officers to lead
R&D teams in the companies.
•
PhD scholars who have gained solid
research experience at the RIs have the
opportunity to broaden their experience in a
variety of new challenges while serving out
their remaining service commitment. Scholars
may develop further in scientific research
or venture into corporate R&D, business
development in technology enterprises,
management and commercialisation of
technology, academic teaching and research,
administration and public policy, amongst
others.
•
The A*STAR – Academia Pathway
enables scholars to hold joint appointments
with tenure consideration at the local
universities, allowing them to focus on their
research at A*STAR while exploring their
interest in an academic career. Under the
agreement with NUS and NTU, scholars may
also be seconded full time as junior faculty
and be considered for tenure. A*STAR
scientists may also be appointed as adjunct
faculty.
68
Supporting Skills Development in Early Career
Researchers
A*STAR has a structured training framework to support the
development of transferable and professional skills in early
career researchers. A taskforce led by senior scientists has
identified the soft skills required for early career researchers
during the different stages of their research career. It has
developed a training roadmap to facilitate the development of
core competencies such as project management and writing
skills, analysis and peer review, research ethics, mentoring or
teaching and communication skills.
Facilitating Career Progression of Young A*STAR
Researchers
Greater support will be provided for early career researchers
who are ready for transition to an independent research career.
More opportunities will be provided through avenues such as
competitive grants and project leads for early career researchers,
to develop their capacity for original independent research and
research leadership skills.
Mechanisms will also be put in place to encourage scholars
and other early career researchers to work on cross-disciplinary
research including training opportunities to help acquire skills
in new fields and more platforms for interactions.
A*STAR will also support initiatives by the early career
researchers society. The society, initiated and run by early career
researchers themselves, will serve the social and networking
needs of this group of researchers and provide a mechanism
to communicate with institutional leaders. Further, this society
could invite alumni and visiting speakers, including those
from industry and other non-academic settings to share their
experiences.
Recognising Diversity of Talent
As the scholarship programmes mature, there is a growing
recognition of the diversity of talent, strengths and interests
among A*STAR PhD talent pool. While A*STAR will continue to
support and provide a conducive environment for the majority of
scholars and researchers who want to focus on advancing their
careers as scientists at the RIs, there will also be opportunities
for them to develop and chart their careers along differentiated
paths.
These pathways not only include research in A*STAR and
academia but also corporate positions in R&D labs, public
administration, technology enterprises and hospitals.
Institutional joint appointments, adjunct appointments and
secondment options with academia and industry, as well as
sponsorships of MBA programmes and engineering doctoral
programmes create alternative developmental opportunities
for A*STAR researchers. All these open up opportunities for
A*STAR PhD talents to explore careers that would bring out
the best of their PhD education, research experience and
skills to related fields that would benefit from the infusion
of PhD talent.
Engaging A*STAR Alumni
A*STAR alumni represent a unique and growing group of
individuals who are actively bringing their experience in
A*STAR to the wider community, not just in research but
in industry, commerce, government and education. They
are well positioned to assist in providing contacts, in-roads,
and the genesis of new companies, or act as competent
advisory partners. Proactively engaging alumni would open
channels for initiating, maintaining and strengthening these
valuable and mutually beneficial relationships. A*STAR will
also actively maintain and develop links with scholars, even
after they have left A*STAR.
Networking Opportunities for International Exposure
A*STAR also aims to provide resources that enable deserving
PhD students and early career researchers to participate in
high profile local and international conferences and other
events so that they can interact with their peers and world
renowned leaders in their fields and build professional
networks.
Thrust 4 – Bridging A*STAR Talents
with Industry and Academia
*
A*STAR will actively create bridges for talent to the industry
and academia and vice versa to enhance Singapore’s
attractiveness as Asia’s Innovation Capital and R&D Hub
and encourage cross-flow of talents between A*STAR and
industry or academia.
ESTABLISHING A SCIENTIFIC CAREER
IN A*STAR
Singaporean scientist and NSS
(PhD) scholar, Dr Cheok Chit
Fang, obtained her PhD in
Cancer Biology from the
University of Oxford in 2005.
Dr Cheok built up her research
experience
working
with
renowned international cancer
scientist, Prof Sir David Lane at
A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
(IMCB) and p53 Lab. Her training and research
experience have stood her in good stead to lead
a lab of her own. That opportunity came in Feb
2011 when she was identified to lead the IFOMp53Lab Joint Research Laboratory. This
collaboration between A*STAR’s p53 Lab and
Milan-based FIRC Institute for Molecular
Oncology (IFOM) is also the first international
outpost for IFOM.
Dr Joel Yang, an NSS (PhD)
scholar who completed his
PhD in Electrical Engineering
& Computer Science at
Massachusetts
Institute
of
Technology
(MIT),
was awarded the A*STAR
Investigatorship in 2009.
This prestigious award aims to groom the
next generation of world leaders in scientific
research, and provides for an early independent
position in A*STAR RIs. Dr Yang joined A*STAR’s
Institute for Materials Research and Engineering
(IMRE) in 2009 as Research Engineer to work
on the application of high-resolution patterning
in nanoplasmonics. Dr Yang was also recipient
of the 2009 Philip Yeo Prize for Outstanding
Achievements in Research. In 2010, the team
that developed the Subwavelength-Separated
Superconducting
Nanowire
Single-Photon
Detector Array, which included Dr Yang, was
recognised with an R&D 100 Award.
69
CREATING A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR SCIENTIFIC TALENT
CONTRIBUTING TO SINGAPORE’S
KNOWLEDGE-INTENSIVE INDUSTRIES
Biologics is the fastest-growing segment of
drugs today, and involves highly complex
manufacturing processes dealing with
live cultures. Dr Sebastian Ku and
Dr Lim Yiping, A*STAR AGS scholars,
completed their PhDs and continued
their research at A*STAR’s Bioprocessing
Technology Institute (BTI). Providing
them with a strong foundational
training for the biologics industry, both
Dr Ku and Dr Lim were seconded to
Genentech and Lonza, both leaders
in the biologics industry.
While working as a Senior
Research
Fellow
at
A*STAR’s
Singapore
Institute
for
Clinical
Sciences (SICS), Dr Low
Yen Ling, an A*STAR NSSPhD scholar, had the
opportunity to work on a major
industry collaboration with Abbott. In
late 2009, Dr Low was seconded to Abbott
Nutrition Research & Development as a Clinical
(Nutritional) Scientist.
Dr Ang Hwee Ching returned to Singapore after
earning her PhD from the University of Cambridge,
to work with Professor Sir David Lane at A*STAR’s
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB),
and Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC). Her
PhD training and prior experience have helped
prepare her for a business development role at
Lilly Singapore Centre for Drug Discovery and
subsequently at the BMS Industry Partnership
Office, facilitating links between industry and the
scientific and medical community.
A*STAR as a Talent Developer and Talent Reservoir for
Industry
A*STAR RIs serve both as a talent developer and a talent
reservoir for industry. Since 2006, A*STAR has spun out
1,058 research scientists and engineers (RSEs) into industry,
surpassing the target of 835 RSEs to be spun out to industry
by FY2010.
As A*STAR’s research agenda is closely aligned with key
industry clusters, many RSEs at A*STAR work on collaborative
projects with industry and develop capabilities that are highly
valuable to companies. They move into small and medium
enterprises (SMEs), multi-national companies (MNCs), other
technology enterprises and start-ups. Mid and senior level
scientists have moved on to helm R&D teams in companies.
PhD scholars and other young PhD talent hired by A*STAR
join the talent pool where they can deepen their experience
and exposure to industry-related research.
A*STAR will continue to provide opportunities for RSEs to gain
exposure to industry relevant R&D and facilitate networking
sessions with companies.
While the flow of talent into industry is in line with A*STAR’s
mission to build a vibrant knowledge economy, it could also
drain talent from the RIs. A robust flow of top PhD talent into
RIs and balancing mechanisms to retain expertise within the
RIs would enable A*STAR to sustain talent flow to companies,
without adversely impacting core research carried out at
A*STAR.
Industry-oriented Scholarships and Talent
Development Programmes
A*STAR will work with its RIs, university partners and industry
to leverage on scholarships to build a pipeline of talent. It
will also work on talent development programmes specific to
industry cluster needs. Some examples include:
• RI-University Joint PhD Programmes, developed in
partnership between A*STAR RIs and the relevant
university departments, aim to:
a. Encourage a thematic focus in PhD research topics,
with greater industry relevance;
b. Encourage RIs and partner university departments to
have greater ownership in recruiting students and
70
guide them to develop capability in areas of
demand; and
c. Position A*STAR and Singapore as a global
centre for PhD education and research
training.
• To speed up the translation from knowledge
creation to the market, the Singapore-Stanford
Biodesign Programme (SSB), a joint initiative
among A*STAR, EDB, NUS, NTU and Stanford
University, has been introduced to provide a
systematic approach for developing a group of
medical technology (medtech) innovators wellversed with the process of medical device
innovation. Through this, A*STAR hopes to
eventually build a medtech ecosystem in
Singapore to grow and fuel the medtech industry,
furthering translational clinical research.
Thrust 5 – Promoting Science to
Young People and Building a Pipeline
of R&D Talent
*
To complement the scholarship programmes,
A*STAR has initiated an extensive range of outreach
programmes since 2001 to develop and sustain a
pipeline of young talent for science, technology and
research in Singapore (see Figure 6-3).
Sustaining Science Outreach Efforts
A*STAR’s science outreach efforts with the Science
Centre, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and other
partners have created a vibrant science buzz and
raised the level of interest in science and research.
The Science Upstream collaborative programmes by
A*STAR and the Science Centre benefited about 1.5
million participants and visitors from 2002-2010.
A*STAR will continue its key outreach programmes
such as the A*STAR Talent Search, the Singapore
Science and Engineering Fair and the Singapore
Science Festival and introduce new initiatives to
further engage students and the public.
STRENGTHENING LINKS WITH ACADEMIA
A*STAR has created academia pathways for its scholars
with both the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the
Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Such exchanges
of talent between academia and A*STAR will strengthen
the overall scientific talent pool in Singapore and deepen
partnerships between the universities and A*STAR.
Dr Zhang Rui embarked on the A*STARNUS Joint Appointment Scheme in
early 2010. As an Assistant Professor
in the Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering at NUS, and a
Senior Research Engineer at A*STAR’s
Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R),
Dr Zhang teaches and supervises students,
works on collaborations with NUS professors, and has access
to additional funding support for his research, all of which
help to advance his research. An NSS-PhD scholar, Dr Zhang
completed his PhD at Stanford University in 2007.
After completing her PhD at the University
of Cambridge in 2007, Dr Teo Hsiang
Ling joined the Institute of Molecular
and Cell Biology (IMCB), working in Dr
Vinay Tergaonkar’s laboratory which
studies the transcription factor NFĸB.
Dr Teo has published in high impact
journals such as Cell and Developmental
Cell. Her background in structural biology was a good fit for
research strengths at the NTU School of Biological Sciences,
and Dr Teo was seconded to NTU in June 2010, where she
has the opportunity to work with Professor Par Nordlund, a
renowned structural biologist.
Dr Ho Han Kiat graduated with a PhD
in Medicinal Chemistry from the
University of Washington in 2005,
and gained post-doctoral experience
in the Singapore OncoGenome
Laboratory, A*STAR, under eminent
cancer scientist, Professor Axel Ullrich.
He recently became an Assistant Professor
at the NUS Department of Pharmacy, where he will apply his
training in toxicological sciences and cancer biology to the
study of liver diseases such as liver cancer and cirrhosis,
while teaching and supervising students.
71
CREATING A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR SCIENTIFIC TALENT
Nurturing High Potential Young Talent
Deepening Awareness of R&D Careers
A*STAR will work closely with the MOE, schools, Science
Centre Singapore and the scientific community to
augment the capacity of educators and scientists to
mentor and guide students in research projects. In
particular, A*STAR will support and collaborate with the
Science Centre to pilot a centre that provides students
with mentored research opportunities and develops
teacher-researchers and teacher-mentors.
A*STAR will also focus its outreach on deepening
awareness of R&D careers. The promotion of
science, engineering and research careers will build
up the pool of talent as Singapore transforms into a
vibrant hub for knowledge creation, innovation and
commercialisation.
In addition, a strong network called the Singapore
Academy for Young Engineers and Scientists (SAYES)
will be established amongst the growing community of
like-minded young people to galvanise the enthusiasm
and energy of aspiring scientists. This youth movement
will be a platform for students to develop and express
their creativity, leadership, and problem solving skills
and to explore and stay engaged in Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Local undergraduate scholarships and A*STAR Science
Awards at the Junior College and Upper Secondary school
level will continue to be offered to support young talent
interested to pursue studies and careers in STEM.
Fig 6-3: A*STAR Human Capital Development Programmes
72
A GLOBAL NEXUS FOR SCIENTIFIC
TALENT
Through its suite of scholarships, fellowships and
talent development programmes, A*STAR will sustain
a healthy flow of PhD students and early career
PhD researchers into research labs. A multi-faceted
approach will be adopted to create a world-class
environment for scientific career development of
local and international PhD students and early career
researchers at A*STAR. Eventually, these young talent
would develop within and beyond A*STAR into the
wider Singapore and global economy. This diaspora of
outstanding PhD research talent could be networked
for the benefit of Singapore science. A diverse flow of
talent in and through A*STAR will make A*STAR and
Singapore a global nexus for talent.
Chapter 7
BUILDING
WORLD-CLASS
Research
INFRASTRUCTURE
Chapter 7 looks at the infrastructure
needed to support an innovation-driven
environment. This includes the physical
infrastructure that fosters a conducive
environment for innovations, soft
infrastructure that encourages and
promotes research collaborations and
operational excellence that enables
A*STAR as a R&D organisation to
continuously improve.
7
BUILDING WORLD-CLASS Research INFRASTRUCTURE
CREATING AN INNOVATION-DRIVEN
ENVIRONMENT
An innovation-driven environment is essential to
stimulate vibrant innovations. Central to realising an
innovation-driven environment are the following:
• Physical infrastructure with state-of-the-art
science and technology (S&T) and IT facilities that
fosters a conducive environment and enables
innovations to thrive.
• Soft
infrastructure that encourages and
promotes research collaborations and discovery
breakthroughs amongst researchers.
• Operational excellence that enables A*STAR to
continuously improve its processes and activities
to foster an innovation-driven environment.
Since 2000, purpose-built facilities and infrastructure
have been developed to enhance the research
environment in Singapore. Under the S&T2005 and
S&T2010 Plans, Singapore witnessed the completion
of Biopolis Phases 1 and 2 as the cornerstone for its
biomedical sciences (BMS) research, successfully
integrating biomedical research capabilities and
achieving the co-location of public-private research
at a single focal point. Today, Biopolis has earned
an international reputation as a vibrant BMS hub
where exciting biomedical research discoveries and
collaborations are formed.
The success of Biopolis is replicated via the integration
of the physical sciences & engineering capabilities
and the co-location of public research institutes (RIs)
with corporate research and development (R&D)
laboratories in Fusionopolis. Fusionopolis Phase 1
(FP1) was officially launched in Oct 2008, and houses
over 1,200 researchers from both public RIs (such as
the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), the Institute
of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and Network
Storage Department of the Data Storage Institute
(DSI)) and corporate R&D labs, such as Nitto Denko,
Linden Lab, Vestas and Hewlett-Packard.
State-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities present at
FP1 include:
• Computational Resource Centre (CRC) that
provides advanced computational resources on
74
multiple operating platforms to serve computeintensive R&D projects.
• Anechoic
Chamber that isolates external
electromagnetic radiation sources thereby
facilitating the design and development of
antennas and wireless devices.
• Visualisation Facility that provides high-resolution
3D display capabilities for visualisation of
complex scientific and medical data and product
evaluation.
• Experimental Power Grid Centre to develop nextgeneration technologies deployable in intelligent
grids and distributed energy resources.
The physical proximity of Biopolis and Fusionopolis,
located just 600 metres apart, also facilitates research
collaborations across multiple disciplines. The current
consolidation of synthetic chemistry efforts at Biopolis
Phase 2 under the [email protected] initiative, as
well as the establishment of the Joint Council Office
(JCO) in A*STAR to promote and support cross-council
research among the Biomedical Research Council
(BMRC) and the Science and Engineering Resaerch
Research Council (SERC) researchers, are evidence of
ongoing cross-disciplinary efforts.
NEW BMS FACILITIES OUTSIDE
BIOPOLIS
While key BMS facilities are located at Biopolis, A*STAR
also collaborates with partners to establish new BMS
facilities in other strategic locations.
• Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
at NUS – A key initiative by A*STAR to develop
world-class clinical sciences programs, its mission
is to improve the health and economic wellbeing of Singaporeans by better understanding
Asian-relevant diseases and by developing new
diagnostics and therapeutics.
• Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC) at NUS
– An A*STAR-NUS partnership with Siemens to
develop and validate new imaging methods as well
as novel interventions in humans, complementing
and strengthening the imaging capabilities in
translational medicine provided at Biopolis.
The very successful Biopolis Phases 1 and 2 and Fusionopolis
Phase 1 developments by the Government at one-north1 has
helped to catalyse further R&D infrastructure developments
by the private sector. Both Biopolis Phase 3 and Fusionopolis
Phase 2B (FP2B) are developed by the private sector. In
Jan 2010, the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) announced
plans to launch tenders for both Biopolis Phase 4 and the
expansion of the medical technology (medtech) cluster
respectively at one-north and Tukang Innovation Park. The
strong and ever-growing demand for space at Biopolis led
JTC to further announce the development of Biopolis Phase
5 in May 2010.
R&D INFRASTRUCTURE
DEVELOPMENTS BY PRIVATE
DEVELOPERS
Construction of Biopolis Phase 3 by the
Crescendas Group, a privately owned local
company engaged in a diversified range of
businesses in real estate, manufacturing,
distribution, technology and hospitality, has
been completed in Jan 2011. It adds another
41,000 square metres of space for private
sector companies in translational and clinical
research and medical technology research.
PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: BIOPOLIS &
FUSIONOPOLIS
Looking ahead, the focus of physical infrastructure
development is to promote further integration of the physical
sciences & engineering capabilities through Fusionopolis
Phase 2A (FP2A), optimisation of space in Biopolis to better
serve the research community, and coordination of both
establishments to foster inter-disciplinary research.
When fully completed, both Biopolis and Fusionopolis will
form the key components of a vibrant R&D landscape at onenorth. Coupled with the establishment of the Mediapolis2,
touted as the third strategic industry cluster at one-north
after Biopolis and Fusionopolis, the close proximity of the
three strategic clusters will provide greater collaborative
opportunities, and provide a boost to research and industrial
development efforts in Interactive and Digital Media (IDM).
Fusionopolis Phase 2B (FP2B), undertaken
by Soilbuild Group, an integrated property
developer with a development portfolio of
residential and business space properties,
has been completed in Oct 2010. FP2B, also
known as Solaris, creates an additional 50,000
square metres of business park and laboratory
space that will house private sector companies
in the fields of infocommunications, media and
physical sciences and engineering.
* Completing the Integration of Physical
Sciences & Engineering Capabilities
through Fusionopolis Phase 2A (FP2A)
All the physical sciences & engineering capabilities will
be integrated in one central location with the completion
of FP2A. By then, the following additional state-of-the-art
scientific facilities will be available to support research
and scientific efforts of both private and public R&D
performers:
1
one-north is a national initiative to position Singapore
as a world-class research and development (R&D), innovation and
technopreneurial hub in Asia.
2
A 200-ha innovation and R&D hub envisioned to be a selfcontained and vibrant digital media cluster.
75
BUILDING WORLD-CLASS Research INFRASTRUCTURE
FUSIONOPOLIS PHASE 2A (FP2A)
FP2A will see the construction of three towers
generating 103,600 square metres of business park
and R&D space. Towers A & B will site dry and wet
laboratories and business park space. Tower C will
consist of a cluster of high specification laboratory
spaces, including multi-storey stacked vibrationsensitive laboratories and clean rooms that meet
stringent micro-vibration criteria such as NIST-A,
VC-E, VC-D, VC-C and VC-A, potentially the first such
establishment in the region.
FP2A will house the remaining SERC RIs of DSI,
Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Institute of
Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and
Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
(SIMTech), bringing together all the SERC RIs to be
located at Fusionopolis, with the exception of Institute
of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), which
will continue to be located at Jurong Island.
• SERC Nano-Fabrication and Characterisation
(SNFC) Facility, a network of world-class facilities
and expertise will provide a wide spectrum of
nanofabrication, characterisation, analysis and
testing services.
• Advanced Silicon Foundry, a first in the region,
will offer access to advanced wafer fabrication
facilities on top of manpower expertise for prototype
development and small volume pilot production
in a cost effective manner, thereby providing an
attractive value proposition to technology startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs),
fab-less companies, research organisations and
universities.
* Facilitating Greater Inter-disciplinary
Research
In order to inculcate the spirit of inter-disciplinary
research and innovation, ensure optimal utilisation of
resources, and avoid the creation of institutional silos,
joint council programmes will be implemented virtually.
The virtual network will make use of a hub-and-spoke
model of resource allocation, comprising a hub of
76
core group of researchers working in a centralised
location in the host RI, supported by distributed
sub-groups located in each collaborating RI. Where
necessary, common spaces will be provided to allow
researchers to network, exchange and cross-pollinate
ideas in the white space that exists at the interfaces of
multidisciplinary research.
PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: HIGH
PERFORMANCE COMPUTING (HPC)
INFRASTRUCTURE
High Performance Computing (HPC) resources consist
of five primary functions: computing systems, storage,
network services, operations (including data-centre
housing and utilities), and user support & expertise.
In the past, HPC demands in A*STAR were met through
individual hardware acquisitions by the respective RIs.
Over the years, this has resulted in a legacy of different
small HPC systems residing within each RI.
In 2006, as part of the move to centralise HPC
resources in A*STAR, the A*STAR Computational
Resource Centre (A*CRC) was established to host
and deliver HPC resources and services for the entire
A*STAR research community and oversee data centre
operations at both Biopolis and Fusionopolis.
In the last two years, a number of obsolete, smaller
systems have been retired and replaced by much more
powerful computers. The combined computational
capacity of systems administered by A*CRC rose by
over 960%. By mid-2011, A*CRC will operate four
major computing systems with combined computing
power of close to 120 TFLOPS. A*CRC also responds to
the burgeoning demand for storage that has multiplied
by a 100-fold over the last seven years and will be
reaching 3000 TBytes (3 PBytes) in 2011.
The increasing sophistication in R&D efforts calls
for more sophisticated HPC tools to predict new
phenomena, yield new information, drive innovation
and offer fresh insight to problems in virtually all areas
of humanities, natural sciences and engineering. To
project the HPC resources required by the A*STAR
community over the next five years, a myriad of tools
were used, including user forecast surveys, equivalent
benchmarks and global HPC trends.
* Increasing Computing Needs for
A*STAR
Survey results indicated that the HPC capacity of
A*CRC has never kept pace with user demands.
This demand for computational cycles is growing
unabatedly, and in order to keep up with this demand,
the computational resources of A*CRC will have to be
increased substantially over the next five years. It is
projected that the HPC resource capacity will need to
be increased by 100% every 18 to 24 months. This is
equivalent to growing from 120 TFLOPs in 2011 to over
800 TFLOPS in 2015 (or a compounded annual growth
rate (CAGR) of 50% over five years).
Projections indicated that while the profile of HPC users
of the A*CRC over the next five years will continue to
be dominated by capacity-type users who generate
large volumes of compute jobs of moderate parallel
scale (typically requiring not more than a few tens of
CPU cores per job), the community of capability-type
users (users who require large compute resources in
the order of thousands of CPU cores per job) will grow
to approximately 30% of the total compute capacity as
more large complex problems are being studied such
as for bioimaging and genomics. This profile of users is
typical of academic HPC centres worldwide.
To balance capacity and capability needs, A*CRC will
focus on managing acquisitions of appropriate HPC
scale computer systems to match user demands and
providing quality computational working environment.
This is the approach of most leading HPC facilities
worldwide.
Based on the projections, A*CRC will procure several
large systems over the next five years and allow for
the obsolescence of current systems over time. At
steady state, the Centre will centrally manage 3 to 4
medium to high-end supercomputers and resources.
As computational methods are pervasively used in
most research environments, small scale servers and
workstations will continue to be hosted by respective
laboratories or RIs.
* Increasing Storage Needs for
A*STAR
There has been an inexorable rise in the demand for
storage, stemming from huge volumes of data, mainly
from genetic sequencing, biomedical imaging and data
mining research in the last few years. The total storage
volume has grown from less than 10 TBytes in 2002 to
over 2 PBytes today or at a CAGR of 77%.
Storage capacity requirements will continue to
escalate, albeit at a slower rate given the higher base.
It is projected that during the period 2011-2015, the
CAGR for storage capacity is expected to be 45%,
growing from 3 PBytes to more than 10 PBytes.
To address rising storage demands and to mitigate
costs, A*STAR will adopt some cloud storage capacity.
For a start, A*CRC will maintain 80% of the storage
profile while the remaining 20% will be managed as
the private cloud storage initially, and later possibly
managed by a service provider and accessible by an
agreed delivery standard. This mix should reach 50:50
in 2015.
* Improving Software Support,
Network and Operation
With rising demand for computing and storage
capacities, centralisation of HPC resources and
provision of a broader suite of services to its users, it is
imperative to grow a team of IT professionals. This new
team will help users achieve optimum performance of
their codes, better utilise their allocated compute
resources and achieve greater productivity from job
execution sessions, and raise the education and
training levels in deep parallelism of such codes.
Additional manpower will also be required from 2012
onwards to help in the setup (and subsequent
operations) of the new data centre and the National
Supercomputing Centre.
To better support the research community, the A*CRC
will develop the following areas of expertise:
• In-house expertise in HPC specific software tools.
• User code optimisation with advanced HPC system
tools such as tuning, optimisation and parallel
programming.
77
BUILDING WORLD-CLASS Research INFRASTRUCTURE
• Optimal resource allocation, use and accounting
through sophisticated application of schedulers.
* Development of a National
Supercomputing Centre
Many developed countries support a central user facility
to optimise procurements, account for a broad set of
user needs that keep pace with a rapidly changing
technological landscape and achieve economies of
scale. In these countries, government organisations
remain the single biggest user of supercomputing
for mission-oriented and basic research, health care,
education and defence.
It is therefore timely to examine the merits of a
Singapore National Advanced Computing Centre (SNAC)
as the use of HPC grows rapidly in Singapore’s R&D
landscape. Discussions are currently underway with
NUS and NTU to explore the feasibility of sharing HPC
resources and establishing the SNAC. The immediate
goals of this effort are to:
• Consolidate high end HPC resources and give
•
•
users access to a range of systems and resources
beyond those that are managed separately by
A*STAR, NUS or NTU.
Adopt best practices and apply consistent
procedures for planning, procurement and delivery
of service.
Develop more efficient use of a larger pool of
combined resources.
The intention is to explore the possibility of sharing
resources though a grid-like infrastructure that
leverages on the Next Generation Broadband Network.
A phased approach will be taken to resolve issues
inherent in the merger of practices and resources but
will over time pave the way for other academic, teaching
and research organisations to be partners in the SNAC.
It is envisaged that the SNAC may eventually manage a
green, state-of-the-art HPC data centre.
78
* Increasing Data Centre Space
Requirements
A*CRC currently hosts systems in two locations,
namely the A*CRC Data Centre located at Fusionopolis
and the A*STAR Data Centre located at Biopolis.
Today, both data centres face pressures in terms of
receding space and limited utilities (namely electricity
and cooling). With the recommendation to acquire
and manage a few large systems, additional electrical
power and space requirements are needed.
Based on today’s technology trends, it is expected
that much of the new space will be dedicated to HPC
systems with high power consumption (in the order of
more than 20kW per rack). The projected requirements
are for about 1.5MW of power rising to more than 3MW
beyond 2015. In terms of space, the data centre should
cater for 800 square metres with the ability to scale
to about 1200 square metres by 2020. In addition,
when this data centre space forms part of the planned
SNAC, the requirements for power, cooling and space
will likely increase by at least 50%.
In view of this, A*STAR will explore an alternate location
in the vicinity of Fusionopolis and Biopolis, in which
the new data centre will be sited so as to align with
expansion plans and meet power demands.
PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: IT
SERVICES
IT services include both IT Infrastructure Services (such
as wide area network, local area network, data centre,
internet access, IT security management, corporate
data storage and desktop services) and IT Application
Services (such as corporate IT applications).
As with HPC resources, traditional IT services were
provided by the IT departments within specific entities
in A*STAR under the S&T2005 Plan. This was possible
as there were relatively fewer RIs under A*STAR then.
The S&T2010 Plan saw the rapid expansion of A*STAR
and the progression of IT services to IT shared services
to achieve synergy and economies of scale.
Consolidation of IT shared services across A*STAR and
new developments for IT infrastructure and applications
have been planned under the STEP2015 Plan.
* Consolidation of IT Shared Services
across A*STAR
With the emphasis towards inter-disciplinary research,
it is imperative to ensure that the IT infrastructure and
services support of the organisation keep pace with
the IT requirements necessary to support A*STAR’s
strategic goals.
Provision of IT services at both the BMRC and SERC RIs
will be aggregated to achieve greater inter-operability,
synergy and economies of scale at the organisational
level, capable of providing a seamless digital platform
essential for supporting corporate computing,
communication and collaboration needs across all
entities within and beyond A*STAR.
* New Developments for IT
Infrastructure and Applications
Arising from the need for robust and sufficiently
sophisticated IT infrastructure and applications under
STEP2015, A*STAR identified the following portfolio of
IT infrastructure and applications for development over
the next five years:
IT Infrastructure Development
• Seamless High Speed Network Connectivity
– Provision of seamless high speed network
connectivity in one-north through a wide area
network that digitally connects all A*STAR entities
regardless of location. This will be achieved through
fibre optic links that connect FP1 and FP2A, and
the upgrading of the bandwidth of leased lines
to achieve connectivity with entities outside onenorth, such as the Singapore Institute for Clinical
Sciences (SICS) in NUS, to support seamless data
exchange within A*STAR.
• Green IT – Establishment of Green IT initiatives
to achieve energy efficiency through reduction,
re-use and recycling wherever possible to support
A*STAR’s corporate social responsibilities.
Initiatives include Green Data Centres that
advocate the adoption of green features/design
guidelines for upgraded/new data centres, Green
IT Equipment that advocates the adoption of green
IT equipment guidelines, and Green IT disposal
practices.
• Security-in-Depth – Enhancement of A*STAR’s
IT security services to better protect A*STAR’s
IT assets through the establishment of multiple
layers of defence throughout the IT ecosystem.
IT Applications Development
• Virtual Collaboration – Provision of virtual
collaboration platform that facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration amongst researchers
within and beyond A*STAR. Such a platform
facilitates the sharing of research content and
promotes collaboration online, through the
provision of tools such as team calendars,
discussion forums and features that allow creation
of contents.
• A*SAP2015 – Revamp of A*STAR’s SAP system
to provide optimal functions that cater for future
developments in A*STAR’s corporate functions.
• R&D Programmes and Project Management –
Establishment of a central repository to house all
key information relating to research programmes
and projects undertaken across A*STAR .
• A*STAR InfoHub – Establishment of an A*STAR
Information Architecture that defines standards
(such as definition and format) for commonly
used data items across A*STAR. This will lead to a
reduction in data duplication, resulting in greater
efficiency and improved data quality.
• Enterprise
Document
Management
–
Establishment of a common document
management platform for A*STAR entities that
includes document management features such as
routing, indexing and versioning to enable effective
management and tracking of documents, emails
and scanned images as well as an e-registry for
e-filing of documents. This will enable better
integration and sharing of information across all
entities.
79
BUILDING WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE
SOFT INFRASTRUCTURE: PLATFORMS
FOR INTERACTION AND MINING OF
IDEAS
OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE FOR
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS IN
A*STAR
Complementing the physical hardware infrastructure
is the presence of soft infrastructure that provides
opportunities for interaction within and beyond
A*STAR. A*STAR will continue to provide platforms for
interaction and mining of ideas including:
A*STAR has launched a series of operational excellence
initiatives that focus on the needs of its customers,
empower employees and optimise existing activities,
with the aim of improving operational excellence within
A*STAR and at the national level.
• A*STAR Scientific Conference – An annual event
To be implemented in 2011, iGrants is a centralised,
single platform system for grant application and
management across A*STAR. It is planned to be a userdriven, highly scaleable, “enter once-use everywhere”
convenient electronic portal for researchers in A*STAR
and Singapore to apply for A*STAR grants. Through
collaboration with external funding agencies such as
the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), it is
envisioned that a universal grants portal can be rolled
out at the national level for Singapore researchers.
that connects researchers across A*STAR for
networking and knowledge exchanges.
• Research Interest Groups – Focus interest groups
that encourage researchers to interact informally
thereby potentially seeding new cross-disciplinary
ideas. The A*STAR Chemistry Club is one such
interest group established in 2008.
• A*STAR
Research Publication (“A*STAR
Research”) – A one-stop information portal
(both web and print) that publishes up-to-date
coverage of the latest scientific and technological
developments in A*STAR, and showcases them to
the international and local community.
• Joint Council Workshops – Platforms that facilitate
the exploration of collaborative opportunities
from bottom-up, through the informal sharing
and presentation of ideas. Promising ideas and
proposals conceived through these workshops
could serve as a pipeline for Joint Council Grant
Calls and also future Thematic Programmes.
80
Chapter 8
RESOURCES AND
TARGETS
This chapter details the budgets,
key performance indicators
and targets for A*STAR for this
quinquennium.
8
RESOURCES AND TARGETS
R&D RESOURCES
With markets expanding in Asia and multi-national companies (MNCs)
investing heavily in research and development (R&D) in this region,
Singapore can leverage on its strengths – commitment to R&D, strong
talent pool, good public sector research capabilities and Global-Asia
value proposition – to become a key global R&D hub and strengthen
Singapore’s position as the Innovation Capital of Asia.
To provide long-term stability in Singapore’s public R&D sector and
quicken the pace of innovation and enterprise, it is important that
Singapore sustains its commitment to public sector basic and missionoriented R&D that is closely aligned with industry development
opportunities. Over the next five years, the Government will set aside
a national R&D budget of S$16.1 billion to promote public and private
R&D (excluding defence).
Fig 8-1: Distribution of A*STAR’s Budget,
by Functional Areas for FY2011-FY2015
A*STAR’s allocated budget for FY2011-FY2015 amounts to S$6.39
billion, representing an increase of 18% over its budget of S$5.4 billion
under the S&T2010 Plan. Figure 8-1 below shows the distribution of
A*STAR’s budget across the four functional areas.
R&D TARGETS
A*STAR’s mission is to foster world-class scientific research and
talent to transform Singapore into a knowledge-based and innovationdriven economy. The performance measures identified articulate the
value of A*STAR’s research and the value propositions A*STAR brings
to the Singapore economy. See Figure 8-2 below for A*STAR’s Key
Performance Indicators for FY2011-FY2015.
Fig 8-2: A*STAR’s Key Performance Indicators for FY2011-2015
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Industry funding received
No. of industry projects
No. of Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) projects
No. of RSEs from RIs seconded to industry
No. of licences (overall)
No. of licences or spin-offs arising from COT/FS
No. of licences or businesses facilitated by IP Intermediary
No. of PhD postgraduates trained or being trained by the RIE2015 talent budget
No. of PhD postgraduates who work in Singapore upon graduation
No. of PhD postgraduates who work in Singapore within a 5-year window of graduation
Joint KPIs with EDB for the Industry Alignment Fund
Industry R&D Spending in Singapore
No. of industry projects
82
5-yr Target
S$255 mil
1,651
234
275
263
100
80
780
399
399
5-yr Target
S$500 mil
75
STEP2015 Planning Process
In developing the STEP2015 Plan, A*STAR pursued a highly participatory process
that involved experts and leaders from the research community and industry,
both local and international, as well as the key economic development agencies.
A*STAR’s key planning processes include:
a. External Review of Research Institutes (RIs). External review committees were
convened at the mid-point of the S&T2010 tranche to conduct systemic reviews of
A*STAR RIs. The review committees were helmed by international scientists of eminence in their
respective fields, and tasked to assess the relevance and impact of the research programmes (for example,
in commercialisation activity and economic impact) and to benchmark their international competitiveness. In
addition to reviewing the RIs, the committees also scrutinised the organisation and management of research
by the Councils, ensuring that their internal processes of directing and evaluating research were robust.
b. Foresight and Technology Scans. The scans provided important inputs in the development of A*STAR’s R&D
programmes, and involved a broad group of stakeholders encompassing scientists, industry experts and
economic agencies. The process included identifying opportunities to grow existing clusters, reducing efforts
in capability areas where their economic impact has declined, and identifying opportunities in new growth
areas. Inputs from A*STAR researchers were also solicited through a two-day STEP Summit.
c. Working with Economic Agencies & National Committees. A*STAR worked closely with other government
agencies and committees to achieve alignment of its 5-year plan to larger national plans. A*STAR and EDB
jointly developed cluster development plans to support the growth of key manufacturing sectors, which were
presented to the Minister for Trade and Industry for endorsement. For the biomedical sciences (BMS) sector,
A*STAR’s plans were also developed in conjunction with national-level committees such as the BMS Executive
Committee (Exco), the Steering Committee on Life Sciences (SCLS) and the BMS International Advisory Council
(IAC). The BMS Exco played a key role in deciding on resource allocation for collaborative programmes across
the BMS sector. The BMS IAC provided an important platform for A*STAR to solicit international perspectives
on BMS development, to guide the development of A*STAR’s strategic plans moving forward.
A*STAR’s 5-Year Planning Process
83
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
STEP2015 PLANNING GUIDANCE GROUP /
RIE TASKFORCE
Chairperson
Mr Lim Chuan Poh
Members
Prof Tan Chorh Chuan
Ms Yena Lim
Prof Low Teck Seng
Prof Sir George Radda
Prof Charles Zukoski
Mr Teoh Yong Sea
Prof Edward Holmes
Prof Lee Eng Hin
Prof Chong Tow Chong
Dr Lim Khiang Wee
Mr Philip Lim
Secretariat
Mr Lim Zhi Yang
STEP2015 COORDINATION MEETING
Chairperson
Dr Raj Thampuran
Members
Dr Andre Wan
Ms Bernadette Foong
Mr Timothy Sebastian
Mr Walter Lee
Mrs Jerusha Ang
Mr Ong Yew Hing
Ms Hazel Khoo
Ms Joyce Tong
Ms Lim Leh Hoon
Mr James Ong
Secretariat
Ms Veon Lee
Contributors
Ms Tricia Huang
Ms Khoo I Jean
Ms Koh Mingshi
Ms Quek Boon Zhi
Mr Andy Chan
Ms Jane Lee
Ms Amanda Ang
Ms Michelle Khor
Ms Ng Koon Ling
Mr Walter Lee
Mr Christopher Yu
Dr Lim Keng Hui
Ms Evelyn Tan
Mr Foong Huei Tai
Mr James Koh
Ms Ning Siew Moi
Mr Khor Aik Lam
Ms Emily Liew
84
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY VALUE CHAIN (STVC)
PLANNING COMMITTEE
STVC Steering Committee
Chairperson
Prof Charles Zukoski
Members
Prof Chong Tow Chong
Ms Bernadette Foong
Panel Chairperson & Co-Chairperson of
each panel
STVC Panel Meeting
Healthcare, Wellness and Ageing Panel
Panel Chairperson
Dr Keith Carpenter
Panel Co-Chairperson Prof Dim-Lee Kwong
Panel Co-Chairperson Mr Beh Kian Teik
Facilitator
Mr Michael Ferrill
Ms Tan Joo Lett
Internal
Dr Wang Zhiping
Dr Guan Cuntai
A/Prof Tham Chen Khong
Dr Paul Huleatt
Ms Lim Hooi Been
Mr Teo Keng Hwa
Dr Sean O’Shea
Dr Wong Woon Kwong
Mr Budiman Sastra
External
Ms Tan Wei Na
Ms Josephine Moh
Dr Walter Lim
Mr Jan Teo
Ms Samantha Su
Secretariat
Dr Davy Cheong
Ms Chia Siao-Wei
High Value Manufacturing Panel
Panel Chairperson
Dr Lim Khiang Wee
Panel Co-Chairperson Dr Lim Ser Yong
Panel Co-Chairperson Mr Damian Chan
Internal
Dr Liu Bo
Dr Ong Eng Hong
Mr Gerard Ang
Dr Chen Zhining
Dr David Wang
Dr Ng Wai Kiong
Dr Paul Sharatt
Ms Yvonne Lek
Dr Su Yi
Dr Rakesh Kumar
Dr Andrew Wong
Dr Akkipeddi Ramam
Dr Low Hong Yee
External
Secretariat
Dr Zeng Xianting
Mr Lee Hock Wee
Dr John Yong
Dr Jasbir Singh
Ms Woo Kwai Merng
Ms Fong Pin Fen
Mr Fung Mok Wing
Ms Shirlene Liew
Innovative Services Panel
Panel Chairperson
Dr Raj Thampuran
Panel Co-Chairperson A/Prof Tham Chen Khong
Panel Co-Chairperson Ms Angeline Poh
Facilitator
Mr Mike Ferrill
Dr Alastair Johnson
Mr Vivek Singh
Internal
Dr Wilson Wang
Dr Yeo You Huan
Dr Bao Feng
Mr Cheah Kok Beng
Dr Ng See Kiong
Dr Yau Wei Yun
Dr Terence Hung
Prof Chua Soo Jin
Dr Lee Eng Wah
Ms Jenny Ang
Mr Budiman Sastra
Mr Andy Chan
Mr Hoang Du’c
Ms Jane Lee
Mr Walter Lee
External
Mr Kee Thian Seng
Mr Dennis Sng
Mr Too York Lou
Secretariat
Mr Soh Kok Hoe
Dr Ian Chan
Sustainable Development Panel
Panel Chairperson
Prof Ho Hiang Kwee
Panel Co-Chairperson Dr P K Wong
Panel Co-Chairperson Mr Goh Chee Kiong
Facilitators
Mr Ferrill Michael Bryan Arthur
Mr Chow Siew Loong
Mr Rick Ong Shao Chen
Internal
Dr Lee Hui Mien
Dr Song Bin
Dr Chen Luwei
Dr Ludger Paul Stubbs
Dr Choi Won Jae
Mr Poh Hee Joo
Dr Zhu Furong
Mr Budiman Sastra
Dr Vincent Soh
External
Secretariat
Ms Yong Sim Seah
Ms Jane Lee
Mr Leonard Lee
Ms Jocelyn Chua Weiying
Mr Ang Kian Seng
Ms Tan Li Yen
Mr Ong Eng Seng
Prof Ng Wun Jern
A/Prof OBBARD Jeffery Philip
A/Prof SRINIVASAN Dipti
A/Prof WITTKOPF Stephen Klaus
Mr Victor Tay
Dr Yar Kar Peo
Urban Lifestyle Panel
Panel Chairperson
Panel Co-Chairperson
Panel Co-Chairperson
Facilitator
Internal
External
Secretariat
Prof Lye Kin Min
Dr Thomas Liew
Ms Thien Kwee Eng
Mr Pan Seng Peng Jeffrey
Mr Michael Ferrill Snr
Mr Colin Leong
Dr Susanto Rahardja
Dr Teng Jinghua
Mr Yeoh Wooi Gan
Mr Charles Lee
Dr Jason Png
Dr Leong Siang Huei
Dr Albert Lu
Mr Chew Shee Hoe
Mr Tay Chor Shen
Mr Tham Hock Chuan
Ms Kow Ree Na
Dr Tan Geok Leng
Dr Ng Teck Khim
Prof Er Meng Joo
A/Prof Chan Weng Tat
Mr Edwin Chow
Dr Ng Tian Tsong
STVC Working Committee
Chairperson
Mr Budiman Sastra
Members
Prof Chua Soo Jin
Dr Thomas Liew
Mr Lee Hock Wee
A/Prof Tham Chen Khong
Dr Wu Ping
Mr Teo Keng Hwa
Mr Mike Ferrill
Dr Alastair Johnson
Mr Jeffrey Pan
Dr Ludger Stubbs
Dr Jasbir Singh
Mr Andy Chan
Ms Jane Lee
85
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
BMRC FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS
BMRC
Dr Andre Wan
Ms Tricia Huang
Dr Lee Meng Har
Dr Foo Ngee Chih
Mr Huang Junquan
Mr Lin Daoxun
Ms Audrey Teh
Dr Lim Juay Yong
Ms Joyce Lee
Mr Terence Soo
Mr Tan Wee Beng
Ms Khoo I Jean
Dr Wee Boon Yu
Ms Petrina Ho
Ms Joyce Lee
Ms Sharon Wong
JCO
Dr Hazel Khoo
RI EDs
Dr Frank Eisenhaber
Prof Miranda Yap
Prof Edison Liu
Prof Jackie Ying
Prof Birgit Lane
Prof Neal Copeland
Prof Sir George Radda
Prof Judith Swain
Prof Phillipe Kourilsky
RI PIs
Dr Chandra Verma
Dr Vladimir Kuznetsov
Dr Martin Wasser
Dr Lee Hwee Kuan
A/Prof Lam Kong Peng
Dr Steve Oh
Dr Andre Choo
Dr Niki Wong
Dr Lee Yih Yean
Dr Ng Say Kong
Dr Jimmy Chao
Dr Lee May May
Dr Victor Wong
Dr Lee Dong Yup
Dr Florence Chua
Ms Hoo Kuwan Yee
Dr Larry Stanton
Dr Lim Bing
Dr Frank McKeon
Dr Guillaume Bourque
Dr Liu Jianjun
Dr Mark Seielstad
Dr Martin Hibberd
Dr Neil Clarke
Dr Wei Chia Lin
A/Prof Wang Shu
Dr Yang Yi Yan
Dr Kurisawa Motoichi
86
Dr Edwin Chow
Prof Hanry Yu
Dr Andrew Wan
Dr Zhuo Lang
Dr Gao Zhiqiang
A/Prof Francis Tay
Dr Li Mo-Huang
Prof Davor Solter
Dr Lim Sai Kiang
Dr Bruno Reversade
Dr Colin Stewart
Dr Leah Vardy
Dr Stephen Ong
Dr Jeremy Crook
Prof Nancy Jenkins
Prof Jean-Paul Thiery
Prof Wanjin Hong
Prof Graeme Guy
A/Prof Edward Manser
A/Prof Graeme Guy
A/Prof Uttam Surana
Dr Frederic Bard
Dr Philip Kaldis
Dr Chang Young-Tae
Dr Han Weiping
Dr Wieslaw Nowinski
Dr Malini Olivo
Dr Chuang Kai-Hsiang
Ms Cher Meng Chu
Prof Peter Gluckman
Dr Antonia Bertoletti
Ms Chia Hsin Ee
Prof Paola Castagnoli
A/Prof Ren Ee Chee
Ms Koh Mingshi
External
SERI
NUHS
TTSH
NMRC
NUS
STEP SUMMIT ORGANISING COMMITTEE
Chairperson
Dr Raj Thampuran
Members
Mr Lim Zhi Yang
Mr Khor Aik Lam
Ms Veon Lee
Ms Edna Wong
Ms Jacqueline Koh
Ms Tricia Huang
Mr Andy Chan
Dr Lim Keng Hui
Ms Lim Leh Hoon
Mr Cheong Yu Chye
For enquiries, please contact:
Planning & Policy Department
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
(A*STAR)
1 Fusionopolis Way, #20-10 Connexis North,
Singapore 138632
Tel: 65 6826 6111
Fax: 65 6777 1711
www.a-star.edu.sg
Published by:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
(A*STAR)
May 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any
means electronic, mechanised, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, without prior
permission of A*STAR.
Design by Ms Li Xin Hui
STEP 2015
Science, Technology & Enterprise Plan 2015
Asia’s
Innovation
Capital
1 Fusionopolis Way, #20-10 Connexis North, Singapore 138632
Tel: 65 6826 6111 . Fax: 65 6777 1711 . www.a-star.edu.sg