A*Star launches new research institute to drive innovation to tackle food security challenges

A Verti Vegies growth module being exhibited at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week summit. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A new research institute driving innovation efforts in food and biotechnology will be set up as part of the Republic's ecosystem tackling food security challenges.

The move is part of efforts to hit the nation's "30 by 30" target of producing 30 per cent of Singapore's nutritional needs by 2030.

Currently, Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of the food it consumes, which makes it vulnerable to global changes in food production that might arise due to climate change.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) will set up the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) by the middle of next year.

The new institute will bring together A*Star's existing research capabilities and projects related to areas such as food, nutrition and agricultural technology under one roof, said Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the launch of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week on Wednesday (Nov 20).

He added that the research institute will also promote partnerships among the public agencies, institutes of higher learning (IHLs), and industry players.

"For instance, it will collaborate with the Singapore Food Agency, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University in research areas such as alternative proteins, food structure engineering, fermentation technology and more," said Dr Koh.

The institute will be staffed by more than 120 research, technical and administrative personnel from various divisions within A*Star, such as the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Biotransformation Innovation Platform, Innovations in Food and Chemical Safety Programme, and Natural Product Library.

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