RIE2020: What You Need To Know About Singapore’s Blockbuster $19b R&D Budget

Here’s five things you need to know about Singapore’s S$19 billion five-year research budget.

AsianScientist (Jan. 11, 2016) – On Friday, we learnt that the Singapore Government has committed S$19 billion (~US$13.2 billion) to research investments over the next five years.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that approximately S$4 billion (~US$2.8 billion) will be invested each year from 2016 to 2020 on research, innovation and enterprise activities.

In this article, we highlight five things you need to know about the five-year budget. We also help you to wade through the ‘government-speak’ and figure out what exactly the budget means for you.
Basically, a lot of money is on the table

The Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), chaired by the prime minister and comprising of cabinet ministers and science and technology experts, held their ninth annual meeting on Friday last week.

A culmination of months of planning, the budget represents an 18 percent increase over the S$16.1 billion budget (RIE2015), which was committed from 2011 to 2015.
Four areas are prioritized in the latest budget

The four technology domains, or ‘verticals,’ prioritized under RIE2020 are:

  1. Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering
  2. Health and Biomedical Sciences
  3. Services and Digital Economy
  4. Urban Solutions and Sustainability

What this really means is that the city nation intends to develop sufficient and sustainable sources of energy, create more space for future development, and ensure an active and healthy elderly population.
Three programs are designed help to achieve these goals

To achieve these four technology domains, attention will be given to three key programs, or ‘horizontals’:

  1. Academic Research
  2. Manpower
  3. Innovation and Enterprise

What this really means is that the RIE2020 budget will not forget the scientists who work at the universities. It will also include manpower and training expenditure such as grants and fellowships, as well as support to budding entrepreneurs.
An emphasis on public-private partnerships

The National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF), the country’s lead research funding body, says that the country has built up a strong R&D base at the universities, research institutes and hospitals. It says, however, that private sector funding fell short of its goal of reaching 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015.

Hence, the new RIE2020 budget will emphasize public-private collaborations and the participation of multi-national companies (MNCs), large local enterprises (LLEs) and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
More start-ups and spin-offs, please

Commercialization of technology will be a key focus of RIE2020, to help create value from existing R&D investments in both the economy and quality of life.

To turn Singapore’s investments into products, services and solutions, NRF will nurture high-growth innovative enterprises as well as engage the private sector.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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