New initiative to train 900 people in deep tech, build support network for start-ups

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during his speech at the launch of Deep Tech Talent Central, on Jan 13, 2023. PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - A new talent initiative has been rolled out to train at least 900 people by 2025 for jobs in areas of deep tech such as artificial intelligence, biotech and quantum technology, to bolster the burgeoning tech scene here.

Led by national investment arm SGInnovate, the Deep Tech Talent Central (DTTC) will link start-ups, industry players, students and mid-career switchers to new courses, projects, on-the-job training offers and opportunities within the industry to give Singapore an edge on the world stage.

SGInnovate supports businesses involved in high-tech engineering and innovation, such as developments in alternative food sources, materials science and quantum computing.

It describes the DTTC, which is backed by the National Research Foundation (NRF), as a “one-stop talent gateway” to help deep-tech firms here tackle difficulties faced in the emerging sector. These include training, recruitment and finding business opportunities.

For starters, the DTTC will train more than 100 people who have a background in biomedical research under its Helix Immersion Programme to support biotech companies in need of talent, said SGInnovate on Friday.

Trainees will be placed with partner companies, where they will be given exposure to developing treatments for diseases with the help of biotech, among other opportunities. They will also be assigned a mentor and eventually linked with partnering firms to boost recruitment here.

The DTTC also aims to partner at least 500 tech start-ups here, which in turn can tap its pool of existing partners – including government agencies and investors – to help those in the nascent industry, said a spokesman for SGInnovate.

SGInnovate’s executive director of talent, Ms Juliana Lim, said the DTTC is expected to bring more than 10,000 companies and individuals together each year. The total funding given to the initiative was not disclosed.

Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the NRF board Heng Swee Keat, who attended the launch of the DTTC on Friday evening, said the initiative made good use of the resources available in the burgeoning deep-tech space by sharing practices and opportunities.

The NRF has invested heavily in research and innovation, including the $25 billion Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Plan, announced in 2020.

Deep-tech sectors here have also been making headway, with the local biotech sector seeing a sevenfold increase in funding, from US$86 million in 2016 to more than US$600 million (S$794 million) by September 2021, said SGInnovate.

To apply for the SGInnovate Helix Immersion Programme, visit

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