Singapore strives to boost science R&D

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags World trade organization Singapore

Singapore's Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) will commit
$7.5bn (€63.1bn) over the next five years to drive R&D growth
in key industry areas such as biomedical science and increase
national R&D spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2010.

While China, India and Japan dominate the top five most attractive R&D investment locations, Singapore does not feature, and is now stepping up its game to compete in this lucrative global market.

As members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Singapore is now fully compliant with the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which requires members to establish minimum standards concerning intellectual property (TRIPS) rights.

Unlike China and some other Asian WTO countries, an advantage of Singapore is that it has now not only implemented TRIPS fully but also enforces IP rights vigorously and its judiciary is highly regarded throughout the world.

Singapore's new Science & Technology Plan 2010 (STP2010) therefore aims to expand on its potential in this area, by developing its research talent and providing new infrastructure support to strengthen its R&D capabilities in both the public and private sector.

To assist the process, the MIT is throwing money at its two economic agencies, with $5.4bn allocated for its public sector Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and $2.1bn earmarked to fund the Economic Development Board (EDB) for the private sector.

A*STAR aims to groom more of the brightest Singaporeans to pursue careers in research and assume leadership positions in the public research sector; and also draw the best global talents to Singapore to meet its immediate needs for quality R&D manpower and to create a vibrant research community.

At the same time the existing Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) will continue to deepen its capabilities in basic research to support Singapore's growing Biomedical Sciences industry.

Beyond this, BMRC will focus on strengthening translational research at the "bench-bedside" to transform the outputs of basic research into clinically useful and commercially viable applications.

The existing Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) will focus on driving greater public-private joint R&D to support the upgrading of the identified key industries, particularly chemicals, electronics/infocomms and precision engineering.

With the support of A*STAR and universities, EDB also aims to secure more R&D projects and attract more multinational companies to locate corporate R&D activities in Singapore, thus creating more R&D jobs for the country.

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