The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has a mission to advance science and develop innovative technology, to further economic growth and improve lives.
Today, A*STAR plays a critical role in Singapore’s Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) landscape. It brings together public sector agencies, A*STAR Research Institutes (RIs), universities and the hospitals among others, to work with private sector enterprises to drive R&D and innovation for economic and societal outcomes. The ability of our companies to leverage on technology to innovate and stay ahead of the competition is becoming ever more critical, as Singapore faces global challenges and undergoes economic transformation to prepare for the future.
In February 2017, the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) presented its report. Among the recommendations, Innovation is seen as a key pillar for Singapore to stay competitive and navigate an uncertain economic climate. One of the priorities highlighted in the report is for Singapore to maintain a globally competitive manufacturing sector and to strengthen the ability of companies to adopt innovation. This anchors high-value activities in Singapore, leading to growth and good jobs for Singaporeans.
A*STAR will execute the broad directions of the CFE. Through open innovation, we will intensify our efforts to help companies grow. We will anchor partnerships with multinational corporations and step up our collaborations with our large local enterprises. We will also continue to create ways to help SMEs upgrade capabilities and differentiate themselves from the competition. In addition, we are committed to building up our nascent yet vibrant start-up ecosystem, by helping the budding companies attract funding and providing them mentorship, business assistance and incubation opportunities.
Manufacturing continues to be an important sector, making up 20% of Singapore’s GDP. A*STAR will seek to sustain the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector through our Future of Manufacturing initiative. In addition, A*STAR has capabilities spanning a spectrum of disciplines, from microelectronics, materials and chemicals, manufacturing processes, robotics, data analytics and AI, where we aim to push scientific frontiers and collaborate with industrial partners to develop useful technologies.
In the biomedical sciences, we strive to strengthen our growing Biotech and Medtech ecosystems, by establishing effective translation units and working with companies to harvest the fruits of our prior discovery work, and turn them into useful products and assets. At the same time, we will sustain the momentum of strong growth in the Food, Nutrition and Consumer Care sectors, nurtured through A*STAR’s programmes in skin research, clinical nutrition, and biotransformation, together with our partners from the universities and the hospitals.
As A*STAR maintains its focus on creating economic impact, our research and technologies will also be used to address societal challenges such as in sustainability, urban solutions, energy constraints, environmental concerns or healthcare problems. In particular, A*STAR’s capabilities in biology, genomics, immunology and bioengineering, among others, have been useful for the clinical community as they seek to leverage research and innovation to deal with pressing healthcare concerns and disease burdens. In addressing national challenges, we are working closely together with the relevant Ministries, such as the Ministry of Transport on future urban mobility, and Ministry of Health to tackle the Ageing issue in Singapore.
In line with the Smart Nation Vision, we are also helping to change the way the Government delivers services to the people. Using A*STAR technologies, we hope to assist government bodies to develop better insights into how they can better cater to the needs of citizens, and become more efficient and effective in the provision of public services.
RIE is ultimately a human enterprise. A*STAR has an open talent strategy that has allowed us to tap on research ideas, expertise and networks from within Singapore as well as all over the world. It is only with the verve and actions of creative, innovative and enterprising people that our innovation hub can continue to flourish.
Our work is continuing and our impact has stepped up. I invite you to explore A*STAR’s exciting programmes as we seek to develop innovations and solutions for Singapore and beyond in this fast-changing world.
Lim Chuan Poh