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Singapore Boosts Digital Economy with Corporate Laboratory

Attractive young scientist and her post doctoral supervisor looking at the microscope slide in the forensic laboratory.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and global technology leader launched a Corporate Laboratory to boost innovation and research in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), healthcare, urban infrastructure and cybersecurity. These capabilities are crucial in driving Singapore’s knowledge-based, innovation-driven digital economy.

Established with an investment of S$54 million over five years, the Accelerated Digital Economy Corporate Laboratory is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore. The NRF, a department within the Prime Minister’s Office, was set up to guide the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise.

The Lab will take a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to accelerate Singapore’s Digital Economy transformation by developing solutions to automate and scale business operations; developing intelligent infrastructure for healthcare; building and operationalising secure and resilient next-generation infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise environments, and harnessing technology to augment and drive the productivity of a future-ready professional workforce.

The Corporate Lab will bring together talent to focus on five strategic research areas to boost Singapore’s digital economy. The areas are:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Exploring the usage of technologies like machine learning to transform and scale customer service operations of large businesses.
  • Healthcare: Developing an enabling network and intelligent infrastructure for healthcare in hospitals and at home.
  • Cybersecurity: Strengthening Critical Information Infrastructure through research into advanced, network-centric cyber threat detection.
  • Urban Infrastructure: Developing architectures and solutions to support the design and operation of urban infrastructure and smart industries.
  • Future Workforce and Productivity: Driving productivity by understanding who needs to learn, how they learn, and how to generate skills and competencies needed for a future-ready workforce.

These technology focus areas are key not just in relation to the successful digital transformation of businesses but also to efforts of governments across the world as they look to digital adoption to improve citizen services.

The cutting-edge technologies developed by the Corporate Lab can be accessed by companies looking to digitally transform their businesses to help them compete more effectively. Partnerships between companies continue to be an effective way to spur innovation and reimagine business models. I encourage more to follow the example of the company and work with us to uplift the entire ecosystem, which will benefit everyone.

– Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade & Industry

The lab will employ and train more than 100 researchers, analysts, engineers and students to work on 15 research projects. It will also provide scholarships for doctoral students who will work on projects associated with the new facility. Additionally, the Corporate Lab aims to deliver 17 new technology solutions, 12 improved products and services and also benefit or partner with at least 100 Singapore-based companies to use and refine the developed solutions.

This partnership will help foster stronger industry-research ties and pave the way for more industry-research collaborations within our science and technology ecosystem. In fact, that partnership came with exactly the same stated goal as this latest collaboration: to boost the country’s knowledge-based, innovation-driven digital economy.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the NUS has also established the Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials (I-FIM), the world’s first institute devoted to the design, synthesis, and application of Functional Intelligent Materials (FIMs). The I-FIM will be Singapore’s sixth research centre of excellence (RCE), and the fourth hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Singapore’s innovation ecosystem, which includes high-quality infrastructure, a growing pool of dynamic start-ups, well-trained talent, and strong government support, is a major draw for global businesses. Because of these characteristics, Singapore has become one of the most innovative places to do business.


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