In the next 10 years, many new jobs will be created in the agri-food sector and engineers will be needed, including people with expertise in process control, automation and robotics.
Speaking yesterday at the National Engineers Day celebration, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said the future in sustainability and climate mitigation and adaptation requires engineering solutions.
"From building flood protection structures, more efficient solar PV (photovoltaic) systems, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, harnessing value from waste to high-yield agri-tech system, we look to engineering... for solutions to our current and future challenges."
The annual event for the young to discover engineering, held online this year, had kicked off on Nov 12. The winners of this year's Engineering Innovation Challenge were announced yesterday.
For the competition, 101 teams of students competed to find engineering solutions for real-world problems.
Winning projects included a system to improve crop quality, yield and rate of growth in an urban farming set-up, as well as a bacteria-killing ultraviolet light tunnel for sushi conveyor belts. All winners will get a seed fund to kick-start their projects.
"Given that we produce less than 10 per cent of our nutritional needs now, it is even more crucial for us to harness technology and creative minds like yours to push the frontiers of local food production," Ms Fu said in her virtual address, delivered from The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) building in Bukit Tinggi Road in Bukit Timah.
"We are no longer just growing our foods; we are producing our foods with manufacturing equipment and processes," she added.
IES president Richard Kwok said each year, students leave the National Engineers Day celebrations with a "new sense of wonder about engineering".
"Their experience very often sparks a seed of passion for engineering in them, opening their eyes and minds to the positive differences that they can make in the world by becoming engineers," he said.
At the event, three agreements on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in engineering were signed.
Two will contribute to the setting up of Singapore's first AI Engineering Hub, as well as the establishment of learning and development programmes for engineers.
The last, between AI Singapore and SMRT Corp, is a collaboration on several AI projects.