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16 May 2001

For Immediate Release

PRESS RELEASE

PLANS FOR INSTITUTE OF CHEMICAL SCIENCES (ICS) UNDERWAY

  1. Singapore, 16 May 2001 - The National Science and Technology Board (NSTB) is pleased to announce that plans are now underway for the new Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS). The new institute will be built on Jurong Island by 2002 to help Singapore build its indigeneous R&D capability in chemical sciences. The setting up of the institute was first announced by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during his speech at the official opening of Jurong Island on 14 October 2000. The national institute will conduct mission-oriented R&D in leading-edge chemical sciences and engineering for applications in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The Institute aims to have about 200 full-time working staff at steady state.

  2. The Institute will operate as one of the research institutes of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of NSTB. It will be headed by a Director who will be advised by a Scientific Advisory Board of leading international scientists and industrialists. The NSTB and the Economic Development Board (EDB) are currently involved in an international search for the Institute Director.

  3. Together, NSTB and EDB have identified the following four possible R&D areas based on industrial interests and existing capabilities:
    - Catalysis / Catalytic Processes
    - Separation and Particulate Science & Technology
    - Process Systems Engineering
    - Safety, Health and Environmental Science & Technology

  4. The national institute will also act as a focal point for an industrial consortium comprising both the academia and the chemical and process engineering companies operating in Singapore to track technological trends, gather feedback on common industrial needs and explore new research directions. There are about 38 organisations in the consortium which include companies such as Sumitomo Chemicals Singapore and ExxonMobil.

  5. Professor C.C. Hang, Executive Deputy Chairman of NSTB and concurrently Executive Director of the SERC, NSTB said: "With the set-up of ICS, we foresee many exciting and collaborative opportunities ahead that will help upgrade and enhance the technological capabilities of the chemical industry in Singapore. The strategic location of ICS on Jurong Island will act as a conduit between the research laboratory and the industry, playing a pivotal role in synergising innovative ideas to develop strategic and creative applications for the chemical industries. This will not only allow the industry to tap on the R&D expertise built up at ICS to address industrial problems, but in addition, use ICS as a test-bed for new technology. This is critical as we transit towards creating knowledge-based enterprises that will drive and promote the economic engine of Singapore."

  6. The EDB sees ICS playing a key role in building up Singapore's capabilities in the chemical sciences. "ICS will multiply our capabilities in the chemical sciences. We have a large chemical industry base in Jurong Island and a similar strong base of pharmaceutical industry in Tuas - both will be able to benefit tremendously from ICS's contributions in R&D. It will sharpen the competitiveness of the chemical process industries in Singapore by enhancing our capacity to innovate, create new products, develop new applications and improve manufacturing performance" said Mr Tan Suan Swee, Director, Chemicals & BioMedical Sciences, EDB.

  7. The Institute has its genesis in the Chemical and Process Engineering Centre (CPEC), which started in 1994 at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Since its inception, CPEC has developed a strong rapport with the chemical and process engineering industries in Singapore through joint projects conducted by teams of research scientists and engineers. The institute will continue to maintain a strong linkage with the universities for upstream research collaborations.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Trina Liew
Senior Officer
Corporate Communications, NSTB
DID: 770 5897
Email: Trina_Liew@nstb.gov.sg

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