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Expanding Deep Tech Talent in Singapore

The Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) Fellowship Programme (IFP) is administered jointly by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and aims to increase the pool of deep tech talent in Singapore to drive innovation in the economy, support the commercialisation of deep tech research, and bring emerging technologies to market.

Via on-the-job training and attachments with designated IFP partners, the 12- to 18-month initiative equips mid-career professionals with technological monetisation capabilities. Fellows will build relevant skills in areas such as productisation, intellectual property (IP) management, technology screening, financial modelling, negotiation, and technical sales during the training.

A monthly stipend will be provided to fellows for the duration of their training with the partner. The amount of the honorarium varies by IFP partner and Fellows’ previous credentials.

Since the programme’s pilot started in 2020, over ninety Fellows have been accepted. After completing the programme, 85% of participants got placements in tech-related companies or took on tech and commercialisation-related roles.

Presently, qualifying Fellows get training from more than 50 private sector partners selected by Enterprise Singapore and SGInnovate, including deep-tech businesses, accelerators, and incubators.

The IFP will be expanded to accommodate more Fellows. The IFP will now include public sector partners, specifically the Diagnostics Development Hub (DxD Hub), the Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC), and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), all sponsored by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR).

DxD Hub’s training is intended for graduates of higher education institutions, mid-career PMETs, and employees of other public sector organisations. The on-the-job training programme seeks to prepare deep tech talent with industry knowledge, such as standards and norms, and the ability to engage in end-to-end medical device productisation and commercialisation projects.

Fellows will be instructed in drug discovery, project management, business development, and commercialisation by the EDDC. The planned curriculum will consist of coursework, on-the-job training, and mentoring for PhD or equivalent graduates in life sciences or related subjects.

When suitable, potential Fellows will also support the coordination of the Target Translation Consortium (TTC) and can collaborate directly on co-development projects with EDDC’s industry partners, including local biotech firms.

On the other hand, NAMIC will train and develop Fellows into experienced experts in Additive Manufacturing (AM) project management to meet the growing workforce needs of enterprises entering the AM market. The proposed programme, aimed at PMETs or mid-career technical professionals, will include organised and on-the-job training through secondments to NAMIC-supported industry initiatives, as well as supporting programmes at NAMIC Hubs, startups, and SMEs. Fellows will be mentored by corporate executives and will have the chance to pursue relevant professional certification in AM subject areas or AM-related Innovation and Enterprise skills.

The expansion of the IFP is a significant step that demonstrates Singapore’s commitment to assisting enterprises in their efforts to innovate. The three National I&E Platforms will provide structured training programmes that will leverage the expertise and infrastructure relevant to their particular industry domains. Additional information will be provided once the training programmes are released.

Deep Tech is distinguished from other technological fields by its emphasis on cutting-edge driven by research and innovation. Examples include Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and autonomous robotics, particularly those that have the potential to have a global or even global impact. Singapore’s Deep Tech sector is tagged as the “bright spot with a promising future” that will power future growth.


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