Bank signs deal to support Japanese R&D projects in Singapore

Out-Law News | 20 Aug 2014 | 4:43 pm | 1 min. read

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to support Japanese research and development (R&D) activities in Singapore for the next three years. 

A*Star, Singapore’s lead public sector agency for R&D and innovation, said the partnership will promote scientific and technological research activities in Singapore and strengthen SMBC’s role in helping Japanese firms “looking to globalise their business”.

SMBC’s managing director and head of the company’s Asia Pacific division Masayuki Shimura said: “Singapore is a choice location for companies aspiring to develop and optimise their products to cater to the unique characteristics of the expanding markets in Southeast Asia, India and Oceania.”

Shimura said A*Star’s “open innovation framework, that actively supports its industry partners both locally and overseas, is an ideal platform for our customers who wish to expand their interactions with the region”.

A*Star managing director Raj Thampuran said the partnership highlighted the agency’s role in Singapore’s “innovation ecosystem, where R&D is mission oriented for industry and economic impact”.

A*Star oversees 18 biomedical and physical sciences and engineering research entities centred in the country’s twin research hubs of  'Biopolis' and 'Fusionopolis'. Biopolis is home to biomedical research institutes and private research organisations and Fusionopolis is a “self-sustaining environment”, which A*Star said makes the zone an idea “test-bedding site” for new technologies.

According to Singapore’s National Research Foundation, since the launch of the country’s first national technology plan in 1991, total R&D expenditure has increased from about 760 million Singapore dollars (SGD) ($610m) in 1991 to SGD 6.5 billion ($5bn) in 2010.

The Foundation said Singapore’s government has committed SGD 16.1bn ($13bn), or 1% of expected gross domestic product to boost R&D up to 2015. “This is 20% more than the previous five-year budget despite the economic slowdown... but is necessary because R&D is a long and uncertain process and Singapore seeks to invest resolutely, consistently and judiciously to obtain the results we want,” the Foundation said.

According to A*Star’s Science, Technology & Enterprise Plan for 2015 (92-page / 4.34 MB PDF), “the long term aim is for Singapore to be among the most research intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world in order to create high value jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans”. The agency’s commercialisation arm, Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, manages the intellectual properties resulting from A*Star research.