Singapore

New research programmes, governing council set up

Scientists and researchers from top universities across the world will give Singapore a boost in meeting its challenges.

They will collaborate with local agencies and institutions on three new research programmes, totalling $82.5 million in funding, in fields like healthcare and cyber security.

The research initiatives come under the Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (Create), which celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday at its campus at the National University of Singapore's University Town.

Create was set up by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to forge collaboration between local and top overseas research institutions.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said at the event: "Create has provided Singapore, our partners and their faculties a unique environment in which to interact and discover ways to make an impact that might not have been possible otherwise."

Mr Heng, who is the NRF's deputy chairman, added that since Create's inception in 2007, the campus has filed 540 patent applications and 336 invention disclosures, and started 15 spin-off firms.

The latest programmes include the use of sensors to monitor plants to grow healthier, leafier crops, finding ways to counter drug-resistant microbes, and developing cyber-physical security systems to protect important infrastructure.

Research into using sensors to track the health of crops in real time will begin next month, with the NRF providing $40 million in funding.

The team behind the research, with members from the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, will develop ways to implement sensors that can detect chemical changes in plants when they are not growing well in their environment.

A research project in antimicrobial resistance will also begin next month, which the NRF will fund $30 million over five years.

Mr Heng also announced the formation of a new Create governing council, led by former head of the civil service, Mr Peter Ho.

It will oversee the campus' strategy for research direction and engagement between local universities and overseas partner institutions.

Education