Monday, October 20, 2008

Boost in R&D spending

Oct 17, 2008 ST
RESEARCH and development (R&D) in Singapore is hotting up. The industry is getting more money and more manpower.

Some $6 billion was spent on R&D last year, with the private sector pumping in two thirds of this money.

This is a jump of 26 per cent from the $5 billion spent in 2006 and is the highest annual increase since Singapore's economic engine in R&D kickstarted in 2000.

It represented 2.61 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, and the target is to raise it to 3 per cent by 2010.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed the latest figures on Friday when he opened the latest in Singapore's R&D stable - Fusionopolis, which is the country's second major hub for R&D in physical sciences, engineering and interactive media.

More than 400 international leaders in science, technology and business attended the the opening of the futuristic 30-hectare Fusionopolis, which will be developed over six phases.

Located just 600m from its big sister Biopolis - the hub of biomedical sciences research which opened five years ago - Fusionopolis brings together the major areas of R&D Singapore has earmarked as a new economic engine.

Home to public sector research institutes and corporate labs, it is specially designed to break down the barriers in organisations and allow multidisciplinary teams from both national and corporate laboratories to flourish. This is critical to achieving breakthroughs in the face of highly-complex, large scale societal challenges confronting society today.

The opening of Fusionopolis was marked by a performance by the world's first robotic lion developed by A*STAR researchers in a traditional ceremony to usher good fortune.

Altogether, there will be 800 scientists, engineers and game developers working in Phase 1 of Fusionopolis. This number will increase to 2,400 by 2012 when Phase 2 of the development is ready.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will also open its first overseas research centre at Fusionopolis Phase 1.

Called the Advanced Digital Sciences Centre, it is an extension of two of UIUC's most successful multidisciplinary, information technology focused research units, namely the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) and the Information Trust Institute (ITI).