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  • Singapore Plan Supports Photonics R&D
Feb 2006
SINGAPORE, Feb. 23, 2006 -- Singapore's Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) will commit $7.5 billion over the next five years to sustain research and development in key high-tech sectors including photonics, material technology, microelectronics and design, according to a Science and Technology Plan 2010 unveiled with the 2006 budget by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last week.
Loong said manufacturing remains "a key part" of the city-state's economy and outlined a new tax break for the electronics industry as well as increased funding for research and development to support the government's goal of doubling output by 2018.
STP2010 is part of the Singapore government’s overall strategy to make significant investments in R&D in the next five years in order to increase national spending in R&D to 3 percent by 2010. Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF), chaired by Tony Tan, will coordinate the research of different agencies within the larger national framework and will develop policies to implement the national R&D agenda.
Under the plan, the ministry will commit $7.5 billion over the next five years for the promotion of R&D through the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Economic Development Board (EDB). Of the $7.5 billion, $5.4 billion is earmarked to promote economically relevant public sector R&D by A*STAR, and $2.1 billion to promote private sector R&D investments by EDB.
The ministry said the plan aims to develop research talent in Singapore, strengthen the country's research capabilities, promote private sector R&D and provide infrastructure support. It said A*STAR aims to groom more of the brightest Singaporeans to pursue careers in research and assume leadership positions in the public research sector, and to draw "the best global talents to Singapore to meet its immediate needs for quality R&D manpower and to create a vibrant research community."
The Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) will continue to strengthen its capabilities in basic research to support Singapore’s growing biomedical sciences industry, according to the plan. The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) will focus on driving public-private joint R&D to support upgrading the key industry clusters, particularly electronics, telecommunications, precision engineering and chemicals industries. These efforts will be boosted by the development of Fusionpolis, where companies can co-locate and engage in R&D collaboration with the SERC research institutes. Fusionpolis will be the icon for public-private joint R&D in the physical sciences and engineering, the ministry said.
A*STAR will encourage the commercialization of the intellectual property (IP) arising from research at the research institutes through its commercialization arm, Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd. The Economic Development Board will lead efforts to promote private sector R&D.
"With the support of A*STAR and our universities and polytechnics, EDB aims to anchor more flagship R&D projects and attract more multinational companies to locate corporate R&D activities in Singapore," the ministry said. "This would also create more jobs in R&D in Singapore."
Under STP2010, Fusionpolis, located next to the biomedical hub Biopolis, is envisioned as a hub for media and technologies.
"Fusionpolis would be part of a work-live-learn-play environment, where public research institutes, companies and corporate R&D co-exist," the minstry said. "It would showcase next-generation applications, technologies and state-of-the-art prototypes."
The STP2010 is available at the ministry's Web site:

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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