Singapore and France to collaborate more deeply in innovation industries

French President Francois Hollande meets Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

SINGAPORE - Singapore and France will cooperate more deeply in industries related to innovation, including in space technology, smart cities planning, financial technology and health and biomedical sciences.

This was spelled out in a joint declaration by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and French President Francois Hollande on Monday (March 27), the second and last day of Mr Hollande's state visit to Singapore.

The two leaders also declared 2018 as the France-Singapore Year of Innovation, and events that encourage more collaboration in innovation will be held in both countries.

Singapore and France prioritise the strengthening of their respective innovation ecosystems, including programmes to promote research and development, and support innovation entrepreneurs, said the statement.

This can be seen in each country's national strategy, including the Committee on the Future Economy report released by Singapore in February and France's National Commission for the Evaluation of Innovation Policies for the next 10 years.

Mr Lee and Mr Hollande agreed that their countries have much to learn from each other's experience and approach to fostering innovation, and that they could work well together for mutual benefit.

French and Singaporean agencies, companies, research organisations and institutions of higher learning are already working together in projects involving advanced engineering, transport, urban management, nuclear safety and even satellite technology.

The France-Singapore Innovation Forum held on Monday morning, organised by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and the French embassy, will also advance cooperation on innovation, said the declaration.

Ten agreements were signed at the forum and will pave the way for research collaboration in areas such as digital engineering, energy access, electric vehicles.

Four more agreements were inked at the Istana, where Mr Hollande met Mr Lee and was hosted to him by lunch.

The agreements were in research and innovation collaboration, space research, renewable energy, and automatic exchange of financial account information to improve compliance with international tax standards.

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