SINGAPORE - From a time where there was a lack of engineers and technical workers to a world-class research and development (R&D) hub today, Singapore has come a long way, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Friday (April 15).
These days, the Republic is known for its water research with more than 180 water companies and 26 research centres. It is also a leader in gastric cancer research, pioneering new surgery techniques, for instance.
And the country will press on to strengthen its R&D capabilities by grooming researchers, scientists and engineers who can develop innovative solutions to the world's problems.
Mr Teo said the Government is investing in R&D as a way to secure the country's future, by raising productivity and catalysing new areas of growth.
This would in turn improve healthcare for the population and transform the urban landscape into one that is more liveable and sustainable, he said.
It will involve many collaborations with overseas institutions both in Singapore and abroad, he noted.
"The nature of scientific endeavour today is that it is collaborative and increasingly global. We have benefited from international collaborations and will continue to strengthen them," said Mr Teo, who is also chairman of the National Research Foundation.
He was speaking at the launch of a book on Singapore's research journey over the last 50 years. The book, titled The Singapore Research Story, is part of a series produced by World Scientific Publishing since last year to commemorate the country's 50 years of nation-building.
It was written and edited over one and a half years by a team comprising researchers and leaders of Singapore's research, innovation and development.
Professor Hang Chang Chieh of the National University of Singapore, one of the editors of the book, said the next chapter of the nation's R&D journey would be to innovate and promote entrepreneurship.
It will take a longer time, he noted.
"But as in the first lap of developing research from scratch, Singapore has the confidence to build the requisite skills and capacity for this new phase of knowledge-based economic development," he said.