This time last year, we were grappling with the significant disruptions of COVID-19, and still learning how to cope with the raging pandemic.
While we are not out of the woods, Singapore as a whole is now better prepared to deal with COVID-19.
Science, technology and innovation have been critical in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Long-term R&D investments by the ecosystem have enabled A*STAR to play our part to help Singapore respond decisively to combat COVID-19.
For instance, made-in-Singapore diagnostic kits have played a significant role in detecting COVID-19, both at home and abroad. The Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, a national platform hosted by A*STAR, has facilitated the development of 10 different COVID-19 diagnostic tests with public and private sector partners. These include the Fortitude and Resolute 2.0 diagnostic tests, and accompanying automated liquid handling systems. DxDHub has also systematically transferred technology know-how to biotech companies, who have since gone on to manufacture kits to fulfil local and international demand.
In terms of tracking virus mutations globally, our scientists at the Bioinformatics Institute have contributed to the genetic and evolutionary analysis of SARS-CoV-2 via the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
These examples underscore the importance of basic science in fueling an innovation pipeline to secure Singapore’s economy, society, and future, as the seeds of today’s response were planted many years ago.
At A*STAR, we are proud of our basic research that has helped push the frontiers of science for the local ecosystem, and internationally.
As we mark A*STAR’s 30th anniversary this year, we continue to be committed to Singapore, Singaporeans and Science.
Through our applied and translational research, A*STAR contributes actively to the digitalisation and innovation journey of our industry partners, especially our local enterprises, particularly to help them emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis.
In partnership with the public sector, we are also helping to address national challenges to better serve Singapore and Singaporeans in areas such as food security, improving health and human potential outcomes, as well as promoting the sustainability and liveability of our built environment.
We nurture a pipeline of scientific talent for the local R&D ecosystem, so that Singapore can maintain its position as one of the most innovative economies in the world. In the last five years, more than 350 A*STAR scholars have completed their PhD or post-doctoral education, and are now actively contributing to Singapore’s RIE ecosystem via multiple pathways in academia, industry and the public sector.
This year, we embark on a new Research, Innovation, and Enterprise tranche, RIE2025. The government has decided to invest S$25 billion for the next five years to drive research and innovation across the Manufacturing, Trade and Connectivity, Human Health and Potential, Urban Solutions and Sustainability, as well as Smart Nation and the Digital Economy domains.
A*STAR will continue to build deep capabilities in areas such as sustainability and Industry 4.0, as well as medtech and novel foods to tackle a spectrum of national needs, and enhance our local R&D ecosystem’s competitive advantage over the longer-term. We will contribute to the efforts in positioning Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation, and enterprise.
As we mark A*STAR’s 30th anniversary this year, we continue to be committed to Singapore, Singaporeans and Science. We will continue to do our best and live by our motto: creating growth, enhancing lives.