Technology & Innovation in Singapore

 

Singapore as an innovation hub

Singapore has established itself as a global innovation and entrepreneurship hub, focusing on technology innovation and enterprise. High-tech enterprises and international firms like Microsoft, Abbott and P&G, together with technology start-ups and research centres have shaped Singapore’s vibrant technology landscape.

Today, Singapore has been ranked first in the ease of doing business by the World Bank, for nine consecutive years. In the areas of IP protection, Singapore was ranked fourth in the world and top in Asia for best IP protection in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016.

 

Government commits S$19 billion to research and innovation over the next five years (2016-2020)

Since the first national technology plan in 1991, Singapore’s government has invested heavily in the nation’s science and technology research budget, supporting the transformation of Singapore’s economy by upgrading existing industries and catalysing new growth areas.

In January 2016, the government announced that it will pump S$19 billion into a new five year plan for research, innovation and enterprise activities, of which 17% ($3.3 million) would be allocated to “Innovation and enterprise” to spur public-private collaboration in technology and innovation projects. The S$19 billion commitment represents an 18% jump from the previous five year plan of S$16.1 billion and is the biggest budget to date. The increase in the national research budget acknowledges the importance of innovation, technology and research for the growth and development of Singapore.

The allocation of funds from the S$19 billion budget over the next five years is as follows:

 

Source: National Research Foundation

 

In the area of research funding, the government has planned and prioritised four technology domains in order to develop a competitive advantage for research excellence or to meet the country’s needs in the aspects of improving the people’s lives, having ample and sustainable energy, and creating more space for future development.

 

Focused technology domains

The research funding will be prioritized for four key domains:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering 
    • Develop technological capabilities that reinforce the growth and competitiveness of manufacturing and engineering sectors
  • Health and Biomedical Sciences
    • Pursue research excellence and applications to leverage on human health and wellness
  • Services and Digital Economy
    • Utilise Singapore’s digital capabilities to meet national priorities, raise productivity and improve key services
  • Urban Solutions and Sustainability 
    • Develop a sustainable and livable city through integrated solutions

 

Through these four technology domains, the government aims to focus on growing private sector R&D capabilities and nurturing innovative enterprises, both large local enterprises (LLEs) and small- and medium- enterprises (SMEs) that turn investments into products, solutions and services; creating a better society and promoting economic growth.

 

Talent development for R&D in Singapore

Talent development is an essential component in the knowledge creation process and key to success in R&D. To sustain a vibrant research community, Singapore is active in nurturing local talent and attracting and developing world-class scientists, both local and international, across all areas of R&D efforts, so as to support the growth of different sectors in Singapore.

In the past few years, the research-standing by the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs), polytechnics and the universities has grown significantly, producing students who are well-regarded and highly demanded by the industries.

 

Opportunities for Open Innovation and Test Bedding

In encouraging technology adoption in enterprises to increase productivity and operational efficiency, the government is active in promoting open innovation, especially in SMEs that can help shorten the lead time to implementation, as opposed to developing a solution internally and organically which would typically take much longer. Examples of open innovation are in the areas of Robotics, 3D printing and IoT technologies to name a few.

Singapore is also an ideal location for prototyping and test-bedding new innovations, given its compact size and proven ability to scale new projects. The government is active in carrying test-bedding programmes in promoting national development and developing Singapore as a smart city. Funding is also available for selected test-bedding projects that are aligned with the national and economic growth milestones of Singapore.

Examples of test-bedding projects are as follows:

  • Urban Solutions
  • Water and Clean Technologies
  • Smart mobility test bed
  • Electric vehicles
  • Solutions for the silver community
  • Etc

 

Major Technology Events

A combination of attributes such as excellent infrastructure, efficiency, vibrant business ecosystem, knowledge networks, and strategic location in Asia have contributed to Singapore being a popular destination for international conferences and tradeshows, where participants from different parts of the world meet and network with potential partners. Major international and regional technology events that are held in Singapore include:

  • CommunicaAsia

An annual event held in Singapore every June, this event features the latest technologies in 3D Printing, IoT, M2M, Mobile Apps, OTT and more to help enterprises in improving their efficiencies and productivities. CommunicAsia is also held concurrently with EnterpriseIT and BroadCastAsia.

For more information, visit www.communicasia.com

  • Singapore International Water Week

The Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) is a global platform held once every two years that features and promotes co-creation of innovative water solutions. The event gathers stakeholders from the water industry, both local and international, to share best practices and showcase the latest technologies, as well as access business opportunities. The event is part of the strategic programme of the Singapore Government to develop water technologies in growing the water industry. Singapore International Water Week is concurrently held with the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.

For more information, visit www.siww.com.sg

  • Singapore International Energy Week

The Singapore International Energy Week is a week-long platform held yearly for energy professionals, policymakers and players in this industry to discuss and share best practices and solutions in the global energy space. Comprising a robust line-up of world's leading conferences, exhibitions, roundtables and networking events, the Singapore International Energy Week provides insights and perspectives on the emerging trends and innovations across the energy spectrum - oil & gas, clean and renewable energy, and energy infrastructure financing, all in one week, one location.

For more information, visit www.siew.sg

  • TechInnovation

TechInnovation is a premier technology-industry brokerage event that features a crowdsourcing segment and a crowdpitching segment, alongside 1-to-1 meetings and networking activities.  Organised by IPI Singapore, a consortium member of EEN Singapore, it brings together international and Singapore technology providers and seekers to explore technology transfers and R&D cooperation opportunities through open innovation. The event is also held concurrently with TechVenture, another technology event that connects startups with investors.

For more information, visit www.techinnovation.com.sg