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Singapore’s National Innovation Challenges to accelerate innovation & solutions post COVID-19

S$40 million in funding has been dedicated to National Innovation Challenges to ramp-up the development and adoption of solutions, where each challenge is allocated up to S$2 million.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) launched a series of seven National Innovation Challenges (NICs) today to accelerate innovation efforts and help enterprises develop solutions to overcome challenges in the post-COVID world.

As announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Fortitude Budget, the NICs seek to catalyse partnerships across the economy by providing a platform for enterprises, government agencies, Research Institutions (RIs), Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), and Trade Associations & Chambers (TACs) to co-innovate and tackle immediate needs for safe reopening.

Through open innovation calls, the cross-industry collaborations will also address mid- and long-term sectoral challenges to help companies emerge stronger in the new future.

The round of open innovation calls extends seven challenge statements across five sectors – transport and logistics, built environment, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), tourism, and maritime.

The National Innovation Challenges aim to quicken the pace of innovation and commercialisation across industry sectors and to act as a platform to encourage collaboration across private and public sectors.

Through this open innovation platform, companies and government agencies can gain access to a diverse pool of SMEs and start ups with new solutions that can be applied across industries, while solution providers can innovate and create solutions that are catered to industry demands.

Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore, said, “The pandemic is forcing entire economic sectors to adapt to a new operating environment. The NICs will help companies and government agencies adapt more quickly by tapping the innovation capabilities of Singapore-based inventors and enterprises.”

“The NICs will also offer our innovative enterprises opportunities to work with potential customers to test novel solutions. This will help them build up their track record and scale their solutions to grow both in Singapore and overseas.”

“We recognise the urgent need to accelerate innovation adoption and digitalisation across the Singapore economy. Open innovation can be the channel for companies looking to solve problems with innovative solutions quickly” said Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA

“Through platforms such as IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP), enterprises, trade associations and chambers can co-create and deploy innovative solutions that improve organisational efficiency. With the NICs, the government is taking an additional step in committing resources and prioritising the deployment and adoption of successful pilots across industry sectors.”

This series of NICs will host seven challenge statements. Three challenge statements involve addressing higher accuracy of shipping container inspections, more productive tracking and tracing of cargo and increasing productivity through AI.

Four challenge statements will be hosted on IMDA’s OIP. These statements seek to address challenges across different sectors from tourism, the MICE sector, to construction.

These challenges aim to position Singapore as a safe place to conduct business among the local and international community, while helping to spark a revival of the events and construction sectors post-COVID.

All challenges under the NICs will be hosted on the Open Innovation Network (OIN), the national gateway to all open innovation challenges and activities in Singapore where users will be able to find out more information about each innovation call and how they can participate.

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