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France-Singapore Year of Innovation 2018 aims to strengthen collaboration between innovation ecosystems

France-Singapore Year of Innovation 2018 aims to strengthen collaboration between innovation ecosystems

Dr. Frederique Vidal, the French Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation is in Singapore from 21 to 23 January 2018 to launch the France-Singapore Year of Innovation (YOI) 2018 with a line-up of bilateral exchanges, aimed at strengthening innovation for economic and societal transformation.

The YOI 2018 was first announced by then-French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in March 2017 on the sidelines of then-President Hollande’s State Visit to Singapore.

YOI 2018 aims to achieve three primary objectives: 1) Deepen collaboration between the French and Singaporean innovation ecosystems by enlarging the pool of stakeholders; 2) Foster events and activities held in France and Singapore that could mutually reinforce efforts to attain innovation goals, while focusing on priority sectors where there are substantial opportunities for synergy and partnerships; and 3) Lay the groundwork for greater bilateral cooperation in innovation beyond the Year of Innovation.

Key platforms under the YOI include VivaTech in France and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) in Singapore. VivaTechnology is the global leading innovation event in France, while SWITCH, which is organised by the National Research Foundation and SGInnovate, is a leading “plug and play” platform in Asia that showcases the best ideas, technology and innovation from around the world.

Both these events aim to provide startups and enterprises the opportunity to build partnerships, strengthen networks and also serve as key gateways for businesses and talents to expand into the respective regions.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr. S. Iswaran, said, “Both Singapore and France recognise that innovation is a key growth strategy for our economies. There are many areas of synergy between both countries, with opportunities to collaborate in research, industry partnerships and talent exchange.

“France has a long and successful history of collaboration with Singapore in the research and science sectors, and we very much look forward to creating further interactions between our two innovation ecosystems as a result of the Year of Innovation. Singapore and France share a vision where a collaborative education, research and business ecosystem are the backbone to world-leading innovations,” commented Minister Vidal.

Minister Vidal also called on Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan. They discussed Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, ongoing bilateral collaborations and the challenges brought about by the digital revolution.

On 23 January 2018, Minister Vidal and Senior Minister of State for Communications & Information and Education, Dr. Janil Puthucheary, will officially launch the YOI 2018 with a roundtable themed “From Research to Innovation” hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The roundtable will bring together senior Singaporean and French representatives from industry, academia and the government to exchange ideas on translating research efforts into impactful innovation for the economy and society. During the roundtable, Dr. Puthucheary will also share initiatives that support Singapore’s efforts to develop local capabilities.

One example of such an initiative is the DataCity Programme by the Infocommunications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), Impact Hub Singapore Pte. Ltd. and NUMA SAS. DataCity is a global open innovation program that brings together cities, companies, and startups to address together city challenges and develop solutions to build sustainable and efficient cities, using data and technologies.

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