Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Singapore to develop clean energy market

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
16 March 2007

SINGAPORE: The Singapore government's target is to transform the country into a knowledge-intensive economy.

To achieve this, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said there is a need to enhance competencies in existing technologies and seek out promising new areas.

So the government will step up research efforts at the local universities such as establishing a small number of research centres of excellence focusing on investigator-led research.

A five-year budget of S$500 million, from 2007 to 2011, has been approved for the National Research Foundation to co-fund the research centres of excellence together with the Education Ministry.

Three growth sectors were identified by the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) at their inaugural meeting in Singapore last year.

These three sectors are the biomedical sciences, environmental and water technologies and interactive and digital media.

The RIEC said good progress has been made in these sectors.

This year, clean energy focusing on solar energy has been identified.

For this, S$170 million has been approved for a strategic research programme.

The likely spin-off is an added value of S$1.7 billion and 7,000 new jobs by 2015.

Mr Lee said: "It's a judgement of the science and technology, it's a judgement of the market opportunities. It's a judgement of the spin-offs which are likely if you succeed and also the conditions that we bring to the table which give us an advantage in these areas.

"Clean energy is in great demand because of climate change, the growth is dramatic. There is a lot of investment going on around the world and we believe this is an area where the technology will move and the market opportunities will grow.

"And the investments are likely to come because EDB already has potential clients who want to set up clean energy projects in Singapore. And this whole process from the research part to the manufacturing part to the economic part are areas where we already have basic capabilities."

The Council also wants to encourage a broader range of high-impact research programmes as it believes new ideas could emerge as a result of this.

To kickstart such an initiative, there will be a competitive research programme with a budget of S$250 million for four years.

Dr Paul Herrling, Head, Corporate Research, Novartis International, said: "I think this is saying something about the future of Singapore – that the future of Singapore is brains, not muscle. The message to every parent in Singapore – educate your kids because this is their future."

Finally, in order to attract and retain top research talent to help Singapore become a global research and development hub, the National Research Foundation is launching research fellowships.

- CNA/so

Labels: ,