More than half of A*Star's research collaborations last year involved manufacturing sector

A look at the A*Star Nanoimprint Foundry.
A look at the A*Star Nanoimprint Foundry.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
A staff member using a 3D microscope at the A*Star Nanoimprint Foundry.
A staff member using a 3D microscope at the A*Star Nanoimprint Foundry.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said manufacturing accounts for half a million jobs here.
A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said manufacturing accounts for half a million jobs here. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Research in the manufacturing industry was a bright spot last year, with more than half of projects undertaken by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) related to the sector.

The agency said that these opportunities for local companies to grow through research and development (R&D) has helped to boost Singapore's global competitiveness as a manufacturing hub.

Last year, A*Star worked with various industries on more than 1,700 projects. It also licensed more than 200 technologies to companies, of which 60 per cent are in the manufacturing industry.

"The manufacturing sector brightens the outlook for the Singapore economy," said A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh.

Mr Lim added that manufacturing accounts for half a million jobs here.

Earlier this year, the Committee on the Future Economy recommended that manufacturing should take up 20 per cent of GDP in the medium term.

Other countries like China, Japan and Germany are also ramping up investment in manufacturing R&D, noted Mr Lim.

To further help companies get acquainted with advanced manufacturing processes, A*Star will be setting up two model factories at its Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre and Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology by the end of the year.

In these factories, companies will be able to try out and even improve processes like robotics and information technology to increase efficiency and productivity.

The agency also has schemes that provide companies with access to A*Star's advanced equipment and expertise, before they invest their own capital in expensive equipment.

More companies can look forward to enrolling in public-private partnerships in the coming years.

For example, A*Star's Operation and Technology Roadmapping programme, which has already helped 240 local small and medium-sized enterprises plan their business strategies from both manpower and technological aspects, aims to help 400 more companies over the next four years.