Spore pins hopes on boutique R&D amid fierce competition

Singapore, Jan 5 | Updated: Jan 6 2006, 05:30am hrs
Singapore will inject some S$5 billion over the next five years to boost research and development in three niche areas to fend off fierce competition from Asias rising economic giants China and India, the government said.

The funds will be used to promote research and development work in biomedical science, environmental and water technologies, and interactive and digital media three key areas earmarked by the government to help sustain the economy. They will be managed by the National Research Foundation, which was established this year as a department in the office of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to fund research and development work in the country.

The governments target is for these three areas to provide up to 80,000 jobs by 2015 compared with 40,000 jobs at present and to inject value-added of S$27 billion a year to the economy from the current S$8.9 billion. Singapore is a small country with limited resources and manpower as well as the financial resources, the foundations chairman Tony Tan told a news conference on Tuesday after its inaugural board meeting. To make a significant impact on the world as well as in economic benefits for Singapore, we have no choice but to specialise, in a sense to try and identify areas which Singapore has got in some way a comparative advantage and which are growing, he said.

Tan said he is confident that by focusing on niche sectors, Singapore will have a very strong economy in 10 years time, well able to take on competition from China and India.