Singapore Technology and Science Development

Singapore skyline at night.


Singapore has established research and development centers, which functions as a place to develop manpower for all companies based in Singapore which had encouraged local and international companies to invest in Singapore and contribute to its economy.  For example, National University of Singapore has begun a graphene research, which will be used in two-dimensional materials development and Singapore Spintronics Consortium, which focused on exploring electric-spin technologies which will be used for sensor, memory and logic applications and its scientists collaborating with other scientist around the world to contribute on efforts to address global problems and also to face population, urbanization, healthcare and ageing pressures.

Singapore Ministry of Science and technology is established in 1968 to lead the development of science and technology policies and to build scientific and technology infrastructure to promote Singapore as a place of interest to invest, which will contribute to the Singapore economy.  In 2016, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has invested SG$ 19 billion to improve and upgrade science and technology advancement in Singapore. They  are working to attract companies to invest  in advanced and complex manufacturing which require more advanced technology to get it done and also focusing on ways to increase productivity in Singapore.  Aerospace companies are investing in robotic and automation to increase productivity level with human workforce to maintain them every month.  Singapore has established four R&D institutions in Singapore, which is: Institute for InfoComm Research, Institute for High-Performance Computing , Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Data Storage  Institute where all of these will function as development of ICT, develop and promote high-performance computing technologies,  develop h high-value manufacturing technology  and to develop innovative data storage technologies which includes network storage.

They key to success in research and development is attracting talents to be part of them.  As Singapore is a small country with big population, Singapore has to use  holistic talent strategy to develop  world class scientist in local and international stage.  Any world scientist that have moved from their origin country to Singapore has started Singapore’s biomedical science efforts, where they assist in leadership  to the research institute and mentoring local young scientists. They founded Science Council of Singapore, which now known as Agency for Science, Technology and Research, in 1967 to develop Singapore’s technological and scientific capabilities to develop Singapore as Southeast Asia economic and tech hub.  After the Ministry of Science and Tech were dissolved in 1981, its ownership was brought under Ministry of Trade Industry. On 11th January 1991, it was upgraded to National Science and Technology Board (NSTB). They were in charge of developing human resource in relevant sectors and also responsible for science and tech related policies.  A*Star mission is to develop and improve Singapore’s science and technology industry which will boost the economy of Singapore and to be among the top economic superpower in the world, which they almost complete it.

Singapore are following the footstep of California and India where they are in race for technology, innovation and science advancement.  Singapore currently attracting companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple and others to set up base in Singapore, where it will provide job opportunities to all Singapore citizens and recently IBM also established a cloud computing laboratory in Singapore as a result of Singapore’s success in attracting international companies to invest in them.  InfoComm Development Authority (IDA) is established to attract local and international companies to bring proposals to develop cloud computing.  This will raise productivity and transforming business process in sectors such as education, healthcare, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality and finance.  Singapore is in the process of achieving its Smart Nation policy where they established Smart Nation Platform, started by IDA and aimed  to enable public agencies to  develop citizen-centric services, attract innovation and ensure effective implementation of services by public agencies.  Key areas of SNP infrastructure is digital content development, creating mobile apps services, implementation of security and thrust infrastructure and  the birth of cloud computing and  business analytics which will be analyzed by Big Data. In three to five years, this few areas will shape the ICT development in Singapore, they are:  big data, cloud computing, cyber security, ICT and sustainability, future communications, social media, new digital economy and improving user interface of public agencies website.

Singapore has grown from a small village area to a giant Southeast Asian metropolis due to the constant effort by the then founder of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and has surpassed Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Singapore, like Malaysia, aimed to be the top economic power nation which currently held by China, United States, Russia, South Korea, Japan and India. On 8th January 2016, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong  has unveiled a  19 billion Singapore dollar to improve and support research and development  efforts in the coming five years.  The research will find solution that address current global and local challenges, building innovation in technology adoption which is under Research Innovation Enterprise 2020 Plan (RIE2020). He said that this plan will ensure that Singapore dollar is secured from outside attack/interference and contribute significantly to the economy, which will provide jobs for all Singaporeans. In this plan, healthcare sector in Singapore will be upgraded to allow the ageing populations to live in comfortable environment and transform urban landscape for greater live ability and sustainability. The focus area in this plan is advanced manufacturing, engineering, health, biomedical sciences, and services digital economy.

Singaporean PM said that to ensure the success of R&D in technology and science, youth interest in science and technology is important and allow them a space to prove that they can do contribute to Singapore economy, and representing Singapore for their ideas in improving and preparing the world for more challengers in year’s ahead. Local and foreign talent is needed in driving research and development and in science and technology sector which Singaporean greatly focused on as a replacement from their focus on oil and gas and reduces reliance on O&G industry that previously contributed to the advancement of Singapore economy.  Singapore has created innovative and vibrant R&D environment that will develop research talent and media technologies.  Singapore is an ideal location for creating and producing new media content due to its IP laws and Singaporean citizen ability to speak multilingual language whether they are using traditional or new media in daily life usage. Private industry R&D is important as they are the main actor to Singapore National Innovation system where they increase the quality of researcher and research paper to make sure that the output result is good which will proof that R&D investments in Singapore paid off which overall investment cost are at $3.5 billion.

Singapore has shown us an example of a country in Southeast Asia, which have zero natural resource compared to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other ASEAN countries, able to turn a small village land into a giant metropolis, which equipped with latest technology and excellent public transportation that connected the whole island, including its international airport, where it is vastly expanding and have high number of tourist visiting Singapore every year. Science and technology is vital to Singaporean economy, especially tourism as we need good technology item to make sure that all went well/smooth without problem at all. Singapore also need to promote more activities with innovative and design content to attract more tech institution to invest in Singapore and eventually achieved its SMART NATION Policy started around 2006 and collaboration between Singapore citizen and government is vital in ensuring Singapore’s prosperity and excellence in the world economic stage, along with Britain, China, South Korea, United States and other countries in the world. International cooperation also vital to ensure the success of this policy as they can learn from other country on their  science and tech development progress and like it or not, Israel is the best example of how a tech advanced nation should perform on world stage in terms of development of science and technology.