Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined more than 400 international leaders in science, technology and business to celebrate the opening of Fusionopolis, the nation’s second major R&D hub. Its first major hub, Biopolis, opened five years ago.
The futuristic 30-hectare Fusionopolis, which will be developed over six phases, is the country’s icon for R&D in the interactive media, physical sciences, engineering and technology.
“Fusionopolis offers a unique and powerful model for research and innovation,” said Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of the multi-agency Fusionopolis Steering Committee and also Chairman of A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), Singapore’s leading public research agency whose science and engineering research institutes will be located at Fusionopolis.
Home to public sector research institutes and corporate labs, Fusionopolis is specially designed to break down the barriers in organisations and allow multidisciplinary teams from both national and corporate laboratories to flourish. This is critical to achieving breakthroughs in the face of highly-complex, large scale societal challenges confronting society today.
Added Mr Lim, “An emblem of community and collaboration, Fusionopolis’ physical infrastructure is designed to facilitate interactions and integration of groups of talent with diverse capabilities. This way, it builds a sense of community among the people here, and creates opportunities for them to contribute their capabilities as a vibrant and collaborative community, to impact lives and the world”.
Professor Charles Zukoski who chairs A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) pointed out, “With Fusionopolis, we are trying to create a new model of doing research that cuts across many different borders. This mixing of different interests and backgrounds will lead to unexpected solutions to problems about which society cares. It is a unique environment that I do not see anywhere else in the world.” Professor Zukoski is a member of the prestigious U.S. based National Academy of Engineering and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s William and Janet Lycan Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
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 S$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.
The opening of Fusionopolis was marked by a performance by the world’s first robotic lion developed by A*STAR researchers in a traditional ceremony to usher good fortune.
Community at Fusionopolis
Altogether, there will be 800 scientists, engineers and game developers at Phase 1 of Fusionopolis. This number will increase to 2,400 by 2012 when Phase 2 of the development is ready.
Anchoring the development is A*STAR’s science and engineering research institutes with world-class capabilities in data storage, materials science, infocomm, microelectronics, chemical synthesis, high-performance computing and manufacturing technologies. The Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and part of the Data Storage Institute (DSI) have moved into Phase 1 of the development. The remaining laboratories of DSI, the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) will move into Phase 2 of Fusionopolis in 2011, whereby they will form multidisciplinary teams tackling research that require a unique melding of skills. A*STAR’s seventh science and engineering research institute, the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences will remain at its current location in Jurong Island, which is just a 30-minute drive away from Fusionopolis.
The research institutes will be joined by at least thirteen corporate laboratories, which are located at Phase 1 of the development. These include Vestas, the world’s leading wind turbine company; Ubisoft, one of Europe’s largest game publisher; Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life; and Nitto Denko, a premier electronics and advanced materials company. More corporate laboratories will move into the subsequent phases of the development.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will also open its first overseas research centre at Fusionopolis Phase 1. Called the Advanced Digital Sciences Centre, it is an extension of two of UIUC’s most successful multidisciplinary, information technology focused research units, namely the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) and the Information Trust Institute (ITI).
The Fusionopolis research community can also draw on the biomedical research expertise at Biopolis, which is located just half a mile away and is home to A*STAR’s 14 biomedical research institutes, consortia and centres. A*STAR has been actively encouraging collaborations between its 1500 physical sciences researchers and engineers, and 1000 biomedical researchers.
Breaking down barriers further is Fusionopolis’ work-live-play-learn environment. The development comprises five levels of retail and F&B outlets, fitness facilities that include a rooftop swimming pool, a 50-unit serviced apartment block, thirteen sky gardens and an experimental theatre. These facilities are aimed at creating a dynamic community at Fusionopolis and fostering chance encounters that could spark the next big discovery. Scientific facilities are also shared to encourage greater collaboration among the researchers. In addition, the lifestyle areas also double up as testbedding sites to accelerate the adoption of new technologies.
Both Fusionopolis and Biopolis, which are part of the larger one-north development that is masterplanned and developed by JTC Corporation, are striking icons of the commitment by the government to transform Singapore into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy.
Government agencies with the mandate to grow the economy, including catalysing more R&D activities in the country, are located at Fusionopolis for a “whole-of-Singapore” approach to transform the economy. The Media Development Authority and SPRING Singapore’s Technology Innovation Division are located at Phase 1 of Fusionopolis. The Economic Development Board will be located at Phase 2A.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Assistant Head, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
DID: +65 68266368
Mobile: +65 97947251
Executive, Corporate Communications
Assistant Head, Corporate Communications
DID: +65 64191310
Mobile: +65 94896060
Notes to Editors:
About Fusionopolis (www.fusionopolis.a-star.edu.sg)
Fusionopolis was one of the last works of the late Dr Kisho Kurokawa, who was the renowned Japanese architect famed for designing OITA and TOYOTA stadiums in Japan for the 2002 World Cup, as well as the Republic Plaza in Singapore.
Fusionopolis' distinctive and futuristic façade is an expression of its stakeholders' vision to create a collaborative community for breakthrough innovation that will transform future living. Phase 1 of the development comprises a two-tower cum podium complex with 120,000 sqm of floor area. It is an integrated “work-live-play-learn” environment that houses service apartments, a fitness club, a rooftop swimming pool, an experimental theatre, media studios, and F&B and retail outlets, on top of laboratory and office space. It is also a hub for the test-bedding of the latest technologies. Six of A*STAR's science and engineering research institutes will be at Phase 1 & 2 of development. They will be joined by at least 13 corporate laboratories at Phase 1 of the development. More companies are expected to move in when future phases are ready.
When fully completed, Fusionopolis will be a 30-hectare development. It is part of a larger 200-hectare development called one-north, which is developed to be a focal point for R&D and technopreneurial activities in Singapore. one-north redefines the way space is used to meet the needs of next generation businesses and talent that value interactions within a “work, live, play and learn” setting.
About A*STAR Science & Engineering Research Institutes (www.a-star.edu.sg)
The seven A*STAR science & engineering research institutes have been created progressively over the last 20 years to support the R&D needs of Singapore’s existing manufacturing clusters (electronics, engineering, infocomm and chemicals industries).
Together, they have a pool of 1500 researchers with capabilities in data storage, materials science, infocomm, microelectronics, chemical synthesis, high-performance computing and manufacturing technologies. 820 are PhDs. The pool of researchers is an international mix - 55% of the researchers are from foreign countries, including the UK, Germany, China, and India.
In FY2007 alone, the institutes filed 130 patent applications and published 1,536 papers. Among the world-class achievements of the institutes include:
- Data Storage Institute (DSI): In 2005, the DSI won the Information Storage Industry Consortium Technical Achievement Award—the first institution outside the United States to do so—with an ultra-low flying femto slider for extremely high density magnetic data storage.
- Institute of Microeclectronics (IME): Researchers at IME produced silicon nanowires in diameter of 3-4 nanometres that could scale the gate length of transistors to 2~3 nanometres. The technology, which will have applications in fields like biosensing, could enable the doubling of the density of transistors on silicon chips every two year—in accordance with “Moore’s Law”—well beyond the predicted end of the law’s reign around 2020. The excitement in the field landed the researchers in IME the coveted IEEE George E. Smith award for the best paper in Electron Device Letters.
The research institutes have played a critical role in attracting and growing R&D activities in the country. In FY2007, the institutes embarked on 202 R&D projects with 339 companies. In 2007, too, they launched the world’s first-of-its-kind aerospace pre-competitive research consortium that has the participation of the four aerospace giants – Boeing, EADS, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce – as founding members.
With their shift to Fusionopolis, the research institutes will increasingly move towards embarking on multidicisplinary research in the areas of sustainable development, healthcare and wellness, megacity and urban living, and high-value manufacturing. These are also areas aligned to the new industry sectors that Singapore wants to grow.
About A*STAR’s robotic lion
· Length: 2m
· Width: 1m
· Height (normal): 2m
· Height (maximum): 2.5m
· Weight: 250kg
· Weight of head: 5kg
The lion dance is a traditional Chinese ceremony to usher in good luck. In keeping to the spirit of Fusionopolis, researchers from A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTECH) have developed the robotic lion, conceptualized as a fusion between science and culture - where tradition meets with technology. It represents one of the many examples of A*STAR’s cutting edge technologies in the area of science and engineering such as liquid forging (that won the National Technology Award 2008) and multi-functional substrate technology. It is a 3-year development that includes extensive consultation with experts in the traditional lion dance ceremony. It demonstrates how niche scientific capabilities can be used in non-conventional ways and methods to create new technologies and innovations.