Today SGInnovate announced its ‘Deep Tech Nexus’ Strategy
as a direct result of experiences and insights gained in its first year of
operation. The Deep Tech Nexus represents SGInnovate’s commitment to add
tangible value to the Singapore deep tech startup ecosystem in two key areas – Human Capital and Investment Capital. Three technology areas have been selected for focus during 2018: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and MedTech.
Mr. Leonard said, “SGInnovate is itself a startup and, to echo DPM Tharman’s point when he launched us last year, we will keep prototyping and pivoting in the coming years. Building deep tech companies takes time. We feel good about the impact we have already made, and are looking forward with confidence to the year ahead.”
As part of this strategy, SGInnovate has partnered with
like-minded industry players and global brands including General Assembly, GIC,
IBM, National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore, Nurture.ai, NVIDIA, Red
Dragon AI and SingularityNET (Details of the partnerships are presented in the last section of the article).
SGInnovate was launched in November 2016 as a private
limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government, to support and
develop the deep tech startup ecosystem in Singapore. It does so by investing in
deep tech startups, helping them source talent and finding early adopter
customers for them. It aims to leverage off Singapore’s strengths in academia
and scientific research and create globally relevant companies by filling a gap
in ‘business-building’ capabilities.
By the end of 2017, SGInnovate will have completed equity
investments in 15 deep tech startups, played a part in generating 400
potential-customer leads for early-stage companies and built a network of more
than 1,000 technical individuals interested in joining early-stage tech
Mr. Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate said that Deep
Tech Nexus strategy is built upon insights gained over the first year of
operations of SGInnovate.
“Over the past year, we have met and worked with hundreds of
researchers, founders, corporates and investors. Being so immersed in the deep
tech founder community has given us a rich understanding of the specific
challenges facing these entrepreneurs. Tackling these challenges gives our
second year of operation great clarity and focus – and this has led to our Deep
Tech Nexus Strategy,” he said.
Mr. Leonard outlined certain challenges faced during the
first year, primarily attributable to risk aversion and inadequate knowledge on
the part of different stakeholders. There wasn’t as much interest from the VC (venture
capital) community for investing in very early stage deep tech companies as was
expected. Often they are not very familiar with technologies, like say computer
vision. Mr. Leonard said that the landscape is improving and one of the
goals of SGInnovate’s community events for the coming year would be to generate
more opportunities for people to know what’s happening at the cutting edge of
Secondly, many are willing to be teammates no. 3 or 4, but not
enough people are willing to take the plunge to be the initial founders of a
startup. Most people would like to keep their day jobs, while trying their hand
at a startup. Finally, there is scope for improvement in the participation of large
corporates, which have a critical role to play in the startup ecosystem. Though
most corporates are talking about innovation, setting up innovation labs, there
is a lack of connection at the moment with startups. There needs to be greater
engagement on that front.
At the same time, there has been more than expected interest
in the community events. As part of its deep tech community building efforts,
SGInnovate has created and hosted more than 100 events at its premises
attracting a total of 9,000 participants. Now SGInnovate’s challenge is to help
realise that evident potential. For the coming year, SGInnovate is targeting
150 community events at an average of 2-3 every week, drawing a total of 15,000
The coming year
Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and
Based on market demand, SGInnovate has decided to focus in
three technology areas for the coming year: Artificial Intelligence (AI),
Blockchain and MedTech. Mr. Leonard said that AI and blockchain kept on coming up in conversations throughout the year.
The first two are transformational technologies that
have horizontal applications to many industries.
During 2018, SGInnovate, which is a part of AI.SG,
will be intensifying its efforts around AI, aligning with AI Singapore (AI.SG)’s
mission to bring together Singapore-based research institutions, AI
startups and corporates to enhance and expand Singapore's AI capabilities.
SGInnovate will focus its efforts on the AI startups area.
In the area of MedTech, SGInnovate will adopt a more ‘bespoke’
approach, working closely with companies on a one by one basis. This will happen
on a limited scale but the impact of success could be huge.
(OpenGov asked Mr.
Leonard during the media Q&A for a clarification regarding whether market
demand was more about entrepreneurs, corporates or investors. Mr. Leonard
replied that SGInnovate takes an entrepreneur first approach. Its objective is
to help them realise their vision. So, SGInnovate would not seek out startups for
finding solutions to defined problem statements from corporates or try to build
a company which does A, B, C and D as demanded by an investor.
But SGInnovate invests
in entities, which have gone through the Entrepreneur
First program, which validates that these companies have something of value
to potential customers, which is the corporates. Similarly, drawing investor interest
is essential for survival. So, it is about striking balance between helping the
entrepreneurs express themselves and meeting the requirements of investors and
SGInnovate’s work in the area of Human Capital will be
pursued in three ways:
Strengthening Individual Talent Capabilities through
a range of deep tech related learning opportunities. A series of programmes
delivered by industry leaders will be undertaken to help people gain knowledge
in working with tools at various competency levels in areas such as Machine
Learning, Deep Learning and Data Analytics. The goal is to have 1,500 people
participate in these programmes over the next two years.
Expanding Deep Tech Talent Network through active
engagements locally and internationally to build an ever-increasing network of
ambitious and capable people who want to build startups. The goal is to bring
2,000 high-potential talent into contact with high-potential deep tech startups
based in Singapore by 2018. One of the initiatives being driven by SGInnovate
in expanding the deep tech talent network is its Apprenticeship Programme,
where a curated pool of students in STEM disciplines from local and overseas
Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) are placed within a select number of
Singapore's promising deep technology startups.
Strengthening Deep Tech Communities through a host of
deep tech related networking events by bringing together researchers,
entrepreneurs and investors to share experiences on a wide range of topics.
These events serve as a way to raise the intellectual debate, as well as pursue
opportunities to get more people to know more about important future topics.
The goal is to have 15,000 participants taking part in over 150 events
throughout 2018 across various community meet-ups.
Investing Equity in Early-Stage Deep Tech Startups. The
goal is to make direct investments into at least 20 deep tech startups founded
in Singapore in 2018 ranging from pre-seed (less than 100,000), seed (100,000
to 1 million) to Series A stages (more than 1 million). SGInnovate will also be
managing a portion of the SG Equity fund, and will be co-investing into deep
tech startups alongside private-sector VCs including Jungle Ventures, NSI
Ventures and Vickers Partners.
Business Building Support where SGInnovate will
journey with startups in which it invests, supporting them in growing and
scaling their businesses – via connection to business use cases, customer
sales, talent acquisition, technical advisory and more.
Collaborative Spaces where deep tech startups,
education events and community events can co-exist for mutual benefit. All
activities will continue to take place at SGInnovate’s locations at 32
Carpenter Street (more than 16,000 square feet) and BASH (more than 25,000
In line with the Deep Tech Nexus Strategy, BASH will be
undergoing renovation works and will be operational again in Q1 2018. Some key
features of the revitalised BASH will include more enclosed rooms to allow
early-stage companies to have privacy (such as AI companies concerned about the
confidentiality of their data), expanded training areas to house more education
programmes in areas relating to AI, and access to AI-tuned computing resources.
In addition, there will be a new area dedicated to the companies formed under
the Entrepreneur First (EF) Singapore programme.
List of partnerships
SGInnovate will work with General Assembly to organise workshops and courses in
Python, Machine Learning and Data Science, to equip an estimated 250 trainees
with fundamental programming skills and principles before moving on to more
advanced Deep Learning concepts.
will work with GIC, which manages to Singapore's foreign reserves, to co-curate and/or co-brand industry events, targeting areas
related to AI, machine learning, data analytics and deep tech ecosystem. These
events will focus on promoting thought leadership and community building by
bringing in subject matter experts to talk about key industry trends, and
real-world applications of AI and deep technologies.
will work with IBM to organise AI training courses for undergraduate students
from IT related academic programmes such as computer science and software
engineering. The AI career path aims to prepare an estimated 50 students in
applying AI in real life.
SGInnovate and IBM would engage with the AI and deep tech
ecosystem through co-curated and/or co-branded industry events. These events
would focus on industry trends, case studies, real-world applications, etc. of
AI and deep technologies, including (but not limited to) blockchain, robotics,
machine learning, and medtech. These events will take place regularly, with a
target of 10-12 events in 2018.
Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore: SGInnovate will work with NSCC to
organise training in AI and High Performance Computing. SGInnovate-supported
startups and trainees will have access to HPC/AI computing resources, which
will include those provisioned under the NSCC-NVIDIA AI.Platform collaboration
(comprising DGX-1 Volta V100 and access to Saturn V), as well as NSCC’s
existing 1 PetaFLOPS supercomputing called ASPIRE1 (Advanced Supercomputer for
Petascale Innovation, Research and Enterprise) that comes with 13 petabytes of
high performance storage with global connectivity at up to 100Gbps.
will be working with Nurture.ai to build a strong community of enthusiasts and
experts who would be trained in AI. Nurture.ai enables this through organising
free study groups using Stanford University's course material on deep neural
networks, where participants get to discuss the most cutting-edge AI models
covered in the lectures, read the relevant research papers with peers and
implement these models as open-source code.
SGInnovate is also a partner to the Global NIPS Paper
Implementation Challenge organised by Nurture.ai, which has seen more than 600
applications globally so far and 30+ expert mentors including researchers from
the Baidu Silicon Valley AI Lab, Amazon Core Machine Learning Research team,
NVIDIA, SAP, Stanford University and several authors of papers accepted at the Conference
for Neural Information Processing Systems – the most prestigious AI research
conference in the world.
with NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI), SGInnovate will be conducting DLI
workshops and offering hands-on training for developers, data scientists, and
researchers looking to solve the world’s most challenging problems with deep
learning. The goal is to train 1,000 developers over the next two years.
Red Dragon AI: SGInnovate
will be working with Red Dragon AI to organise various advanced AI training
sessions. Using industry standard frameworks such as TensorFlow, Keras &
PyTorch, students will learn Deep Learning as applied to a variety of different
practical applications including computer vision, natural language and time
series information. They will then be applying those skills to make real world
AI products and services. At least 100 students will participate in the
advanced training sessions over the next year.
With a member count of close to 2,000, Red Dragon AI would
be looking to organise multiple TensorFlow, PyTorch & Deep Learning meetups
with SGInnovate in the next year. The target is to reach out to more than 1,000
with SGInnovate, SingularityNET will co-host meetups and provide speakers and
technical experts in the areas of blockchain, smart contracts, AI &
robotics to drive discussions and inspire new ideas. In 2018, the target is to
reach out to a community of over 2,000 people.
Through the partnership, startups within the SGInnovate
community will get early access to SingularityNET, with SingularityNET
providing technical guidance to enable them to integrate, monetise and scale
their AI technologies.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec) through its Institute for the Future of Education, signed a research collaboration agreement to improve the cyber-physical learning of students and teachers in Singapore and Mexico.
The three-year agreement will see the two parties share practices and experiences in the configuration and usage of cyber-physical learning infrastructure to create new opportunities for educational innovation and research, resulting in new pathways for the future of education.
The SUTD-Tec’s Institute for the Future of Education agreement will foster the exchange and sharing of practices of cyber-physical learning and evaluation of the effectiveness of associated educational delivery models. Both parties will conduct joint experiments involving students and instructors to explore domains such as technology-enabled learning, translational pedagogical innovations, learning analytics, and personalised and engaging learning.
This research collaboration will have its focus on the SUTD campusX initiative, which focuses on the needs and experiences of students and instructors using data analytics and learning sciences with the purpose of creating a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable space for students to learn, interact and optimise their learning outcomes.
With regards to the campusX and its impact on the future of education, SUTD’s Provost stated that both Tec and SUTD share a common vision of cyber-physical learning, with similar interests and understanding of the challenges in areas of applying human-centric technology and design to the practice of pedagogy and andragogy in actual higher learning environments. This forms a strong basis on which many more projects can be conducted between Tec and SUTD. The current research collaboration is an important start and SUTD looks forward to furthering the partnership with Tec in years to come.
He noted that, similarly, SUTD also looks forward to working with more like-minded partners across academia and industry and from local and global landscapes to make cyber-physical learning a reality.
Speaking about the research collaboration between the two renowned higher education institutions, the Rector for Higher Education of Tecnológico de Monterrey expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the agreement and said that to advance in current-day education challenges and design the future of education, collaboration is key.
He noted that Tec has pioneered educational innovation in Mexico and Latin America, and they aim to expand their projects and initiatives to have an increasingly global relationship and impact. An initiative aimed at strengthening links with Asia is being developed; these collaborations with them will extend to the areas of research, education, and technology.
Furthermore, the Executive Director of the Institute for the Future of Education of Tecnológico de Monterrey emphasised the importance of this kind of agreement between both universities. He noted that conducting joint experiments to evaluate innovative cross-border educational models will be key to developing effective cyber-physical learning environments.
The collaborative project with SUTD’s campusX initiative will increase learning opportunities for global higher education audiences, capitalising on the intercultural exchanges between Singaporean and Mexican students and professors, and developing best practices with an international perspective, he added.
The research activities framed in this agreement are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2023 and the experimental and simulated learning environment trials will result in the identification of best practices in digital education delivery models supported by effective cyber-physical technology platforms.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) has launched an online masters in technology (MTech) course for working professionals, allowing candidates to pursue the educational qualification while working. According to a statement, the tailor-made online programme for qualified engineers is gaining popularity and over 600 working professionals have already enrolled for the three-year course.
The MTech degree includes programmes on communications, VLSI and analog circuits, microelectronics, multimedia signal processing, software security, automotive engineering, mechanical design, interdisciplinary programmes in quantum technology, and data sciences.
IIT-Madras is the first IIT to offer an MTech course in a distance learning mode through its Centre for Continuing Education. “The students of this programme have the same rights and privileges as regular students. The working professionals can carry out the project work at their workplaces. They do not need any residency as compared to sponsored candidates,” a representative from the IIT-Madras said. From only 14 candidates in 2020, the number has shot up to 605 this year.
IIT-Madras faculty, teachers from other premier academic institutions, and eminent industry professionals will be conducting the classes. Apart from online classes, which are held in the evening, students will also have live interaction with their faculty members. Students will give exams in the same city as their offices. In terms of the evaluation method, a problem statement will be evaluated and approved by IIT-Madras faculty. A mentor will guide the student at their workplace. The student’s progress will be jointly evaluated by faculty from IIT-Madras and the mentor. The faculty member will approve the problem statement and review the progress.
In September, IIT-Madras launched an industry-oriented Online Certificate Programme on e-mobility for working professionals. Four out of the nine modules in the programme are delivered by industry professionals. The programme was conceived with inputs from industry experts and would be continuously upgraded based on technology trends, market trends, and industry needs, the Institute noted.
The course is offered through IIT-Madras’ Centre for Outreach and Digital Education (CODE). It provides an overview of the e-mobility ecosystem and fundamentals in technical areas like vehicle development, power electronics, battery engineering, thermal management, power trains, and EMI/ EMC, among others. The programme contains 120 hours of video classes and 40 hours of online contact classes with the faculty. The candidates need to complete regular assignments and a final evaluation, after which they will receive a certificate. The first cohort started at the beginning of October.
In November, the Institute partnered with United States-based Purdue University to jointly develop a dual-degree programme in semiconductors. As OpenGov Asia reported, the programme focuses on an innovative, cooperatively developed curriculum to meet the growing needs of the industry. Undergraduate students with strong academic credentials and a deep interest in semiconductor devices, chip fabrication, and circuits and systems will be considered. The programme will enable a quick ramp-up of skilled talent, preparing the next generation of the semiconductor workforce. The partnership would also entail research collaboration in semiconductor supply-chain management, chip design, packaging, system architecture, and advanced manufacturing methods
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, recently revealed details of an AU$15 million project to develop a national soil information system, aimed at improving the sustainable management of one of the nation’s most precious assets.
Supporting the National Soil Strategy, and funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS) project is a collaboration between the government, research organisations, industry, the private sector and the community.
Using innovative processes and technologies, ANSIS will allow improved sharing of nationally consistent soil data and information through online access for users. This will help Australians to better understand their nation’s diverse range of soils and make better decisions about managing our important soil resources. Currently, soil data is collected using different methods, by different organisations, and at a range of depths in the soil. This makes it hard to access, compare and use data from diverse sources.
The Project Lead at CSIRO stated that improving access to the best soil data and information can help promote digital agriculture innovation and is key to sustainably managing Australia’s soils. By using ANSIS, farmers and agricultural advisors will have access to more soil data and be better placed to more sustainably manage the soil on which they rely.
Soil is vital to agricultural production and natural environments, as well as health and well-being. This information system will help everyone care for this important natural resource. Productive, healthy, and resilient soil means more economic, environmental, and social benefits to Australia. Monitoring soil also helps scientific understanding of how the natural world is changing.
This work will provide insight into biodiversity, water resources, landscapes and coastlines, fauna, climate, and geology. By harmonising Australia’s soil data, we can make it accessible across many fields of science and exploration. The project is being delivered under the Federal Government’s National Soil Strategy, which is about prioritising soil health, empowering soil innovation and stewards, and strengthening soil knowledge and capability. The new ANSIS system will be available for use in 2023.
ANSIS will provide improved access to nationally consistent soil data and information needed to help sustainably manage Australian soil. ANSIS will provide:
- More soil data
- More data sets are available that in other soil systems
- Enables more certainty in products developed
- Opportunity to develop new products
- Improved access
- Multiple data sets are now discoverable and accessible
- National coverage
- Most up-to-date data available
- Efficient provision
- Organised and standardised data for immediate use
- Can feed into many users’ requirements
- Consistent delivery
- Substantial reduction in time to prepare information products
- Trusted location
- Certainty that data is from an authoritative source, verified and satisfies standards.
AI and other digital technologies could help solve some of the world’s most important social problems, like climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and risks to public health, among others. Harnessing digital capabilities to promote a transformative system could be a game-changer for a sustainable and equitable global future.
Today’s consumers expect more than great products and services, and businesses are well aware of this. Clients want to feel like they are investing in a reputable, responsible brand. Consequently, the most market-dominant businesses are not merely profitable and have good products but those that have multiple alternate bottom lines – social, environmental and sustainable.
More than 90% of business executives agree that sustainability is crucial to their success. As consumer groups continue to publish reports on the increased desire for more environmentally friendly corporate practices, it is simple to see why green marketing strategies are gaining such importance.
The environment and sustainability are vital components in the strategy and operations of enterprises looking to be more conscientious. Organisations have been taking proactive steps to develop a greener future with their consumers, partners, stakeholders and workers. These efforts include environmental initiatives, community outreach efforts and business practices.
Advancing Environmental Sustainability and Resilience
“Everyone is becoming aware of the necessity for action to attain sustainability,” says Vivek. “There is a growing interest in corporate sustainability and how corporations can strive for it to meet the needs of stakeholders for social, economic, and environmental implications.”
Most businesses are considering ways to contribute significantly, which will need robust investment and efforts. “We see businesses quickening their momentum and considering effective climate innovations. A case in point is how electric mobility companies can be affected by the huge reductions in costs for climate technology.”
Vivek believes it is possible to adapt a company’s digital strategy to mitigate and deal with extreme climate change. Companies must include digitalisation and decarbonisation in their strategy, as industry 4.0 technologies will play a crucial role in meeting the emissions reduction goal.
Digital technologies can increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel consumption across multiple industries and sectors. Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the way people and technology interact by helping to analyse and calibrate necessary interventions.
By utilising digitalisation, businesses can identify the emissions sources, whether at the product level, manufacturing unit level, or equipment level. They can then determine the necessary interventions to reduce emissions, such as a change in the manufacturing or personnel settings, and then monitor whether the identified interventions are being implemented.
“Here is where I believe digitalisation and decarbonisation must go hand-in-hand, as this will ensure that industries undergo structural changes and reach their objective,” says Vivek.
Businesses need to be more conscious of the need to be prepared for the energy shift, and he has five relevant steps for how businesses should approach this:
- Develop an understanding of how energy shifts will affect your company;
- Think about a bold and ambitious target, such as considering how big of a carbon footprint reduction they intend to achieve with this energy transition;
- Consider various situations and their effects;
- Create a comprehensive plan that will serve as an overall strategy with well-defined and cascading targets;
- Think about implementation, where companies strike a balance between all the goals, e.g., carbon footprint and profitability
Right now, society is more conscious of sustainability and is calling for companies to shift their carbon footprint and be more conscious about emissions. This is causing profound changes in the corporate and government landscape.
Organisations can work toward more sustainable practices with the aid of corporate sustainability’s economic, social and environmental pillars. Businesses must alter their mindset from just profitability at the expense of the environment to a sustainable and profitable paradigm. There must be interdependence and a greater emphasis on operations and eco-innovation.
Adopting sustainable practices benefits the environment, but businesses have also demonstrated that these programmes can boost productivity, lower costs, make shareholders happy, and a host of other advantages.
“Corporate entities must take the initiative in determining pertinent technologies. Companies must implement technologies to decrease their carbon footprint. They are the ones that will bring about change. Governments can decide the legislation, but unless companies change, it will be difficult to achieve net zero,” Vivek firmly believes.
A green economy is the practice of sustainable development supported by public and private investment in creating an infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability. A green economy refers to an economy in which individuals are increasingly aware of their carbon emissions and are taking steps to reduce them.
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that corporations and individuals generate.
There are numerous practical and effective approaches to implementing sustainable technologies at the national level. “I believe that each country will deploy different technologies; the mix of technologies, the adoption rate, and the deployment cost will all be very different. However, each country will need to consider what sustainable technologies are relevant to them, consider implementing them, and consider the reasons for doing so.”
According to Vivek, decarbonisation entails significant economic transformation. When new business opportunities arise in Asia, companies must contemplate how they will be the first to take advantage. To do this, they must seriously consider the technologies and industries they want to innovate in or implement and the various business models they should use to take these opportunities.
There will be an acceleration of the energy transitions if individuals in the nation change their behaviour, the government considers how the empowering regulations should be made, or how businesses decide how they will operate.
Vivek has led several large-scale transformations and new business builds across the region, such as for an energy conglomerate in Indonesia. From this experience, he is convinced that a fundamentally different way of thinking about any business problem is required.
It requires thinking about what the unique value proposition is going to be and thinking about getting new talent to build a business from the ground up. Some of his most memorable moments on this journey include realising the value of having the right talent.
Another thing he learned is that customer preferences change at very different levels. So, thinking about the organisation’s unique value propositions and how customers perceive them becomes very important. For incumbents, choosing different business models can also be essential.
Both private and public organisations are aware that change needs to occur quickly. Resources are becoming harder to come by while demand is rising, necessitating a balance to build a sustainable future. “Green technologies will help the world achieve sustainable levels and make the environment cleaner and safer for everyone.”
Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC
Vivek is on the International Judging Panel (IJP) of the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), a biennial global university start-up challenge held in Singapore.
As a member of the judging panel charged with driving, developing, and upholding the entrepreneurial spirit of the LKYGBPC participants, Vivek is focused on the innovativeness of the solutions, such as how effectively the technology solves the problem.
He also believes that feasibility and how the different technologies are correctly implemented can significantly change the world. “These two parameters will be quite useful in considering how we are selecting, or how I would select various technologies.”
He acknowledges that innovative entrepreneurship talent can be cultivated wider in the broader community through such competitions. These serve as an illustration of how they are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across society.
The competition is also one example of instilling a culture where the next generation is thinking about how things can be done differently. Competitors explore creative ideas and have a forum where they can share their thoughts, which can be a great example of nurturing innovation.
The competition, which is run by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University (SMU), is centred on urban ideas and solutions developed by student founders and early-stage start-ups. It is positioned as a campus innovation movement that seeks to establish a global startup ecosystem with financial backers, including venture capitalists, corporate oligopolies, and governmental organisations.
“I believe many of our leading schools are doing a great job of instilling a culture where children are thinking about how things can be done differently and what are creative ideas,” Vivek opines.
There are numerous instances throughout the world where the technologies or solutions used by youth or larger communities have truly made a meaningful difference. “But it does take some significant effort to raise awareness and establish a forum where people can discuss their concerns, share their ideas, and obtain the resources needed to solve them,” Vivek concludes.
The Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) will be collaborating with a chemical manufacturing corporation in research that will drive new advancements in sustainable lithium battery technologies. The joint project will be led by the Executive Director of the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N) and Co-Director of NTUSingapore CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (SCARCE), a centre for excellence in innovative solutions for recycling and recovering valuable elements from e-waste.
The Chief Commercial Officer at the chemical manufacturing corporation has played an important role in many breakthroughs in battery research and development. By expanding its R&D partnerships, the company can build on its heritage of innovation and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and find optimal pathways for progress.
The firm is excited to begin this journey with a pioneering, distinguished scientist like Professor Srinivasan and the entire team at NTU, as new pathways to support advancements in battery technology can be explored.
The Executive Director of the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N), who will lead the research, is a renowned academic whose research focuses on the circular economy. She worked extensively on research initiatives with battery industry leaders and helps advise on public policies for energy and sustainability in Singapore and around the world. She is also the Executive Director of the Sustainability Office at NTU Singapore, which oversees and integrates sustainability initiatives and innovation across the University and its smart campus.
She noted that NTU Singapore has a strong history of working closely with the industry to commercialise research into tangible and impactful outcomes. The team is excited to collaborate with innovative leaders like the partnering firm, to advance sustainable lithium battery technologies. Their hope is to accelerate a more sustainable approach for lithium-ion batteries used in millions of electric vehicles and portable devices across the world.
The global Lithium-ion Battery Market was US$36.90 billion in 2020. The global market size is projected to reach US$193.13 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 23.3% during the forecast period from 2021-2028.
Recent research shows that the continuing demand for power supply for numerous applications, augmented demand for electric vehicles, the surging necessity of battery-operated equipment and machinery in automotive industries, and the usage of lithium-ion batteries in renewable energy applications are sustaining the lithium-ion battery market growth.
As governments across the globe begin imposing guidelines for the monitoring of surging pollution phases. Various industries are being compelled to use lithium-ion batteries. The power industry is working to manufacture renewable energy and stock for future purposes.
In addition, low cost, low-self discharge rate, and negligible installation space are a few of the crucial factors driving the implementation of lithium-ion batteries in smart grid and energy storage systems. Since the product is more resilient to high temperatures, it is perfect for usage in distant areas and thermal control applications. The Asia Pacific region is expected to hold the largest lithium-ion battery market share during the mentioned period.
NTU is home to various leading research centres including the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.
Indonesia has great ambitions for its digital economy and has deployed strategies to achieve its ambitions with a goal to reach USD315 billion by 2030. The 2021-2024 Indonesia Digital Roadmap is set on 4 pillars, namely digital infrastructure, digital government, digital economy and digital society.
As part of its strategy, the government is promoting four important digital skills to accelerate its digital economy. The government believes that the future demand for digital skills will be focused on four areas Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics (ABCD). The ABCD skills are projected to help the national economy hit its US$315 billion by 2030 target.
Therefore, the Indonesian government is encouraging young people to start businesses through a variety of free programs such as Beta School, 1,000 Startup Movement, Startup Studio, HUB.ID and IGDX.
“Aside from university disciplines, the ABCD is becoming increasingly important for everyone. I believe that all young people require ABCD,” stated Dedy Permadi, Expert Staff of the Minister of Communication and Informatics, in a discussion forum.
Mastering ABCD technical hard skills apart, Indonesian digital talents are also expected to be proficient in non-technical or soft skills known as the 4C’s, which are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication.
The Director of SDPPI Kominfo, Ismail, expressed his hope that the young generation in Indonesia would capture the golden opportunity for digitalisation. Digitalisation will transform Indonesia from a consumer country to a prominent player in the new normal.
The government recognises the importance of good infrastructure support in boosting the digital economy. As a result, the government is working to ensure an equitable distribution of internet connection networks across Indonesia, particularly in frontier, remote, and underdeveloped (3T) areas.
According to Ismail, the development of ICT infrastructure must meet three criteria: broad coverage, the deployment of a fibre-optic cable network on the backbone, and affordability, which means that the price is reasonable for the community.
Private operators focus on developing infrastructure in high-demand urban areas and, as a result, the digital divide between cities and towns has grown wider. Consequently, the government is beginning to develop 3T telecommunications in rural, underserved areas.
“We cannot rely solely on private-sector investment. To speed up and accelerate digital transformation, the government must invest in infrastructure,” Ismail said emphatically.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Agency and Telecommunications and Information Accessibility (BAKTI) have also worked to improve and expand internet access for public services throughout Indonesia. BAKTI is working with telecommunications companies to build Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in remote areas of Indonesia.
“We hope to finish building BTS in all remote areas by 2023 and connect them to the 4G network,” Deddy stated.
Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. So, relying solely on fibre optic cable networks will make it difficult to provide connectivity. As a result, the government is combining the fibre optic cable network constructed with the 150 Gbps SATRIA 1 satellite.
This multifunctional satellite can provide internet access to 150,000 public service locations in Indonesia, including educational institutions, local governments, defence and security administration, and health facilities. This satellite is scheduled to launch in 2023.
The government has begun construction of the first National Data Centre in the Delta Mas Region, GIIC, Cikarang District, Bekasi Regency, West Java Province, in connection with its digital strategy. It will then gradually expand data centres in Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Riau Archipelago, the new National Capital City (IKN) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
The creation of this government data centre is intended to promote efficiency, effectiveness, state data sovereignty, and national data consolidation as part of the One Data Indonesia initiative. “This (data centre) is critical because government data management is critical to developing society’s transformation into a digital society,” Deddy said.
The National Single Window System (NSWS) currently accepts applications for 248 government-to-business (G3B) clearances from 26 central ministries and departments, in addition to state-level clearances in 16 states and union territories.
The portal is rapidly gaining traction among the investor community and as of date has over 370,000 unique visitors. Since its launch last year, more than 44,000 approvals have been facilitated on the portal and over 28,000 approvals are currently under process. Over time, the portal will onboard more approvals and licenses, based on user and industry feedback. According to a press release, the government is committed to reforming the system, making it a more conducive environment for business and investment.
In 2021, NSWS was soft-launched to all stakeholders and the public by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal. NSWS was created by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), following the government’s decision to create an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC). NSWS is a single platform that allows investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses to identify, apply for, track, and obtain approvals and clearances.
The system aims to reduce duplicities in information submission and compliance burden and promote sector-specific reforms and schemes. It reduces the gestation period of projects and strives to promote the ease of starting and doing business.
The release informed that the Know Your Approvals (KYA) service is live on NSWS with 544 approvals across 32 central ministries and departments and 2,895 approvals across 30 states and union territories. A total of 3,439 approvals are listed. A total of 132,510 investors have used the KYA module to find out the type of approvals they need for their businesses. 26 ministries and departments were onboarded with 248 approvals live. The 16 states and union territories onboarded on the platform are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The teams are working to integrate five more states by 15 December, namely Haryana, Andaman Nicobar, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Arunachal Pradesh. To date, a total of 71,000 approvals have been applied on the portal. The system has recorded visitors from 157 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. The release said that the remaining eight ministries and departments will be onboarded by the end of the year.
A review of the progress and status of NSWS is set to happen on 5 December with ministries, states, union territories, and industry representatives. In this regard, preparatory meetings have been held to discuss the integration status of various regions and departments. These meetings have witnessed active participation from the stakeholders, the release noted. DPIIT and Invest India have been proactively holding regular reviews with the ministries, states, and industry associations in the process of setting up the NSWS to ensure an inclusive approach to evolving the national portal. Over 150 participants from states and ministries have participated in the review meetings.