Big push for science and tech research

Advanced manufacturing and engineering

At the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, aircraft parts are cleaned using dry ice-blasting.
At the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, aircraft parts are cleaned using dry ice-blasting.

In the next five years, $19 billion will be pumped into scientific and technological research under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan. Funding will be prioritised in four key areas where Singapore has a competitive edge or which meet national needs. The Straits Times looks at how these four areas will transform Singapore in the next five years.

Few may think that Singapore can match giants like China in manufacturing. But Singapore makes up for the lack of quantity with quality.

It has made big strides in manufacturing since independence, from labour-intensive operations in the 1960s to capital- and technology-intensive doctrines in the 1990s and today's knowledge- and innovation-intensive focus.

This rising trajectory will get a boost in the next five years, when $3.3 billion from the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 funding programme, announced yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will be allocated to develop cutting-edge manufacturing technology.

To capitalise on the broadest range of opportunities for future economic growth, eight key industries have been picked. They span a kaleidoscope of sectors, from aerospace and marine to medical technology and precision engineering.

For example, the funding will support the continuing development of Singapore's research and engineering capabilities in space, like satellite design and construction.

The launch of six Singapore- made satellites last month has validated the country's space capabilities, and will open more opportunities for local institutions to be a part of the high-growth global space industry.

The goal is to ensure that Singapore remains a partner of choice for companies developing products and services .

At the same time, there will be a greater drive to support companies - from local start-ups to multinational corporations - to commercialise research outputs while building a highly skilled work-force and generating good jobs for Singaporeans.

There will also be more emphasis on making strategic bets ahead of industry to develop potential game changers.

Lin Yangchen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2016, with the headline 'Advanced manufacturing and engineering'. Print Edition | Subscribe