The Singapore government has pledged S$19 billion (US$13.18 billion) towards supporting research and development efforts aimed at driving the country's economic growth.
Spread over five years until 2020, the funds would facilitate research that leverage science and technology to address national challenges as well as develop local business capabilities, said Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also chairman of the Research, Innovation, and Enterprise Council (RIEC). Cabinet ministers and global science and tech leaders sit on the council.
The S$19 billion is 18 percent more than the S$16.1 billion set aside between 2011 and 2015, according to RIEC.
Lee said at the announcement that the new funds allocation would contribute significantly to the local economy, creating opportunities and jobs, as well as support national initiatives such as smart nation and SkillsFuture. "And it helps our workers thrive amidst technological changes and globalisation," the prime minister said, adding that the R&D efforts also would help Singapore's urban landscape evolve to become more sustainable.
During the five-year roadmap, the National Research Foundation (NRF)--which manages the fund--will aim to tap technology in which Singapore already has a competitive edge as well as develop capabilities in others that it will require.
"We will build on the investments made to-date, and sharpen our focus on growing private-sector R&D capabilities and nurturing high growth innovative enterprises that leverage technology, to turn these investments into products, services, and solutions that create better economic and societal outcomes for Singaporeans," NRF said.
Focus areas under the new five-year plan include advanced manufacturing and engineering, health and biomedical sciences, services and digital economy, as well as urban living and sustainability.