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Maritime Innovation & Technology Fund enhanced to develop Singapore as a Centre of Excellence for R&D and tech solutions

Singapore is one of the leading international trading hubs and is recognised as a leader in the global maritime sector. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been focusing on digitalisation to help companies innovate and improve productivity over the past few years and they have had major success which can be attributed to the government’s pro-business policies, their industry transformation map  and their strong drive for and investment in innovation and technology solutions.

The Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund was set up to develop Singapore as a centre of excellence for maritime R&D and technology solutions. Since 2003, MPA has allocated a total of $265 million to the MINT Fund to accelerate industry technological innovation and capability development, and the fund has supported more than 350 industry projects.

Enhanced Investment in Maritime Research and Product Development

The objectives of the MINT Fund are to develop a competitive edge for the Port of Singapore, to build up technological capabilities within our maritime industry in key niche areas, and transform the maritime sector into a highly productive and innovative cluster by leveraging leading-edge technologies.

To strengthen MPA’s support for the maritime industry and local maritime tech SMEs, the MINT Fund will be enhanced in the following areas:

  • Top up of MINT Fund by $15 million to bring the total available MINT Fund to $100 million
  • Co-funding support for eligible projects by maritime tech SMEs increased from 50% to up to 70%
  • Co-funding support for eligible projects by industry consortiums of up to 70%.

There are currently two funding schemes available:

This scheme promotes upstream research and encourages the creation of knowledge, capability and intellectual property within the companies. It is relevant to maritime companies and large companies with in-house R&D, as well as marine equipment makers and technology developers.

This scheme encourages product and solution development, value creation, and translation of state-of-the-art technologies from non-maritime industries for use within the maritime domain. It is relevant to maritime companies with engineering design capabilities, engineering companies, system integrators, software/hardware developers, shipyards, and technology companies.

Maritime technology start-ups help build a vibrant innovation ecosystem

To drive the maritime sector’s next phase of growth, MPA has taken the lead to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem to drive competitiveness and new growth areas by creating an enabling environment for innovation, deepening maritime R&D capabilities and growing maritime technology enterprises to develop innovative solutions.

According to the MPA: “We aim to more than triple the number of maritime tech start-ups (who receive funding and support from MPA’s programmes e.g. PIER71), from 30 to 100 by 2025.”

Some of MPA’s past initiatives include innovation platforms such as the PIER71 (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71) and Smart Port Challenge (SPC) initiative.

PIER71, or Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71, was officially launched in June 2018, a collaboration between MPA and NUS Enterprise on developing the first industry-wide acceleration programme for the port and maritime industry. PIER71 has a 200 m2 area co-working space at Launchpad @ BLOCK71. It is made up of three parts: Smart Port Challenge (SPC), 8-week acceleration phase and ecosystem building.

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