Singapore's first R&D centre for marine and offshore engineering opens at NUS

SINGAPORE - The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Monday (Oct 31) jointly opened Singapore's first national research and development centre for the marine and offshore engineering industry.

The Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (Tcoms) in NUS aims to enable the local marine and offshore engineering industry to "undertake higher-value activities" through global partnerships with industry, research institutions and academia, said a joint statement from the two organisations.

A key feature at the new centre will be a next-generation Deepwater Ocean Basin with simulation capabilities, including smart sensing and data analytics.

Slated to be completed in 2019, the facility will be equipped with wave and current generation systems that can simulate harsh ocean environments, including those in ultra-deep waters. This would facilitate the development of innovative concepts, such as intelligent floating platforms and ships, autonomous systems, marine robotics and subsea systems.

Professor Chan Eng Soon, chief executive of Tcoms and Provost's Chair Professor at NUS' Faculty of Engineering, noted that such a simulation system will "pave the way for the development of intelligent systems that would help transform the marine and offshore engineering industry, especially in the enhancement of efficiency, safety and reliability in harsh environments".

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said at the launch that the Government will be investing close to S$107 million into infrastructure as part of the development of Tcoms.

He added that the new centre is an important part of the effort to secure a long-term future for the sector, which is facing a prolonged downturn due to cyclical and structural forces.

"A concerted effort by the Government, industry, institutes of higher learning and research institutes to drive innovation and transform the sector will help ensure that our marine and offshore engineering sector emerges stronger, leaner, and more sustainable than before to succeed in the new environment," said Mr Iswaran.