Collaboration Models

There are different approaches to working with industry partners depending on the research needs and capability areas. The four main engagement models include:

Several public research performers engage with one partner to form long- term strategic collaborations. This approach aims to deliver impact for our partners through integration of scientific capabilities across multiple disciplines and research performers in Singapore. The joint lab set up between Applied Materials, a global leader in materials engineering, and the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) leverages their multidisciplinary R&D capabilities. The Joint Lab will catalyze the development of new processes and techniques to advance the fabrication of semiconductor devices.


We work with individual partners on projects in targeted research areas. These partnerships can take various forms, including working on single research projects to partnering up to form joint labs for a pipeline of projects. Delta Electronics, a global leader in high-efficiency power and thermal management solutions,and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) jointly set up a diagnostics lab to focus on developing technologies for improved infectious disease detection and personalized medicine.


In the “One to Many” model, one RI brings together several companies to form a consortia around the RI’s core capabilities to collaborate on common research areas, typically in pre-competitive sectors. The Nanoimprint Foundry helmed by the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) partners with companies including Toshiba Machine, Micro Resist Technology and Kyodo International to demonstrate the applications of nanoimprint technology and to develop roll-to-roll nanoimprinting.


The consortia consist of multiple public institutions and companies. The goal is to create effective platforms for private and public sectors to collaborate on thematic research areas to enhance research capabilities. The EpiGen Global Research Consortium involving the Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences (SICS) is an international research network with 5 member organisations in 3 countries, focusing on the science and technology in applied epigenetics. This platform accelerates the translation of basic science and effective partnerships with companies.


Industry consortia programmes leverage on the span of technical expertise at the SERC Research Institutes to help the local industry move up the value chain. Such programmes encompass direct basic and applied R&D across the SERC research institutes, and provide the conduit as well as opportunities for local companies to work with industry giants via research collaborations or membership programmes. Pre-competitive R&D is carried out in a consortium setting where members will benefit from the R&D of common platform technology challenges.

Joint-Research programmes are one-to-one R&D collaborations between a private company with A*STAR research institutes (RIs) that help to enhance the technology edge of the company by the technology transfer from the RI. 

For advancement of technology, cutting-edge platform technologies, for example, are critical to support biomedical research by both industry and academia. A*STAR research entities have partnered with leading industry players to increase access state-of-the-art technology to advance their research. Such a partnership can serve as a learning platform for industry to gain new insights from users in the research community, which may facilitate the advancement of their technology and the development of new protocols and techniques. 

Examples include the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) – Nikon Imaging Centre, and the Clinical Imaging Research Centre – a joint venture between NUS and A*STAR with industry partner, Siemens.

The Lab-in-RI is an A*STAR initiative in which the research institutes provide partners with infrastructure and framework at an early stage of their R&D projects. For the partnering companies, this has the advantage of implementing their plans under favorable conditions, to allow the companies to jumpstart their R&D activities in Singapore before making major capital investments.

ETPL works with Industry & A*STAR research institutes to identify new technology areas early in the research value chain to develop application driven, multi-disciplinary projects and drive these with commercialization outcomes firmly in mind.  In the hope of precipitating these projects into their next lap of marketable commercial applications, ETPL provides gap funds to inject resources, like manpower and funds for further development and testing.

Gap funding for co-development is applicable for A*STAR technologies where:

  1. Potential licensees takes up A*STAR technologies

  2. These technologies still require further research and/or development efforts for them to be commercial ready

  3. Potential licensees are willing to collaborate with ETPL and the research institutes in co-development efforts

An example of such a project is “Silicon Photonics Productization via Commercial Foundry Line Establishment” where ETPL worked with a commercial foundry to qualify and validate our research institute’s silicon photonics portfolio.

Another example is SME ZWEEC Analytics’ co-development with A*STAR on the Fish Activity Monitoring System(FAMS), which was presented with the Honour Award for Applied Research at the 2012 International Water Association (IWA) Asia Pacific Regional Project Innovation Awards (PIA) on 3 July 2012. PIA is a prestigious global competition which recognizes and celebrates innovation and excellence in water engineering projects around the world.

To find out more, email: or visit the ETPL website.