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Fusionopolis Grand Opening

Singapore opens FUSIONOPOLIS, its second major R&D hub in 5 years

Just five years after completing its first major R&D hub, Biopolis, Singapore officially opened another key R&D epicentre, Fusionopolis, on 17 October 2008. The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, was the Guest-of-Honour at the opening ceremony, attended by close to 400 guests, including ambassadors, ministers and leaders in science, technology and business in Singapore and abroad.

At the opening, the guests saw some of the best technologies developed by A*STAR’s researchers being displayed at an exhibition and a holographic show, and were treated to a stirring musical performance by A*STAR’s researchers. The musical composition was inspired by the Big Bang and the thinking of Stephen Hawkings. Attracting the most attention was the Robotic Lion that summoned good luck and fortune for Fusionopolis. A product of A*STAR’s labs, the Robotic Lion danced upon the dotting of its eye by Prime Minister Lee, and simulated the crouching and jumping of its mammal counterpart. Also delighting the guests – and serving refreshments too – were Robotic Butlers.

The opening of Fusionopolis comes as Singapore recorded the highest Gross Domestic Expenditure in R&D (GERD) of S$6.3 billion in 2007, based on the preliminary results of the country’s National R&D survey conducted by A*STAR. The amount was an unprecedented increase of 26% from the 2006 GERD, and double the amount of Singapore $3 billion recorded in 2000. GERD as a percentage of GDP rose to 2.61% in 2007, up from 2.31% in 2006 and 1.88% in 2000. Two thirds of this expenditure comes from the private sector

Prime Minister Lee, referring to the current global financial turmoil, commented, “We must expect slower growth and greater uncertainties at least over the next year, maybe longer. But our R&D programme takes a longer term perspective. It will proceed despite these immediate ups and downs. Its funding will not be affected. The Government remains fully committed to investing in R&D, in order to develop a key capability that will keep our economy competitive in the long term.” He added, “Our steady commitment will continue to draw researchers to set up and root their research activities in Singapore, and give investors the confidence to establish high tech industries and corporate R&D centres here.”

On new growth areas, the Prime Minister also cited a 5-year programme undertaken by the Advanced Digital Sciences Centre (ADSC), to be set up by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in Fusionopolis early next year. ADSC will do research in areas such as Cyber-Physical Infrastructure, Multimedia and Human-Machine Interfaces, and Trusted Information Management. The Centre will add richness and diversity to the research environment, and contribute to the growth of the ICT and Interactive Digital Media (IDM) industry.

Besides interactive media, the futuristic 30-hectare Fusionopolis, which will be developed over six phases, is Singapore’s icon for research in physical sciences, engineering and technology. Housing public sector research institutes and corporate labs, Fusionopolis is designed for multidisciplinary research in both national and corporate laboratories that is needed to address the highly-complex, large scale societal challenges confronting society today.

Said A*STAR Chairman Lim Chuan Poh, who heads the multi-agency Fusionopolis Steering Committee, “Ultimately, Fusionopolis is really about the people gathered here tonight. It is about the community of scientists working together across disciplines, from physical science and engineering to biomedical sciences. It is about the partnerships between public and private sector research to develop innovative solutions to benefit society. It is also about the integration of public sector agencies’ efforts and resources to tackle complex societal challenges.”

 

Last Updated on 14 October 2009

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