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Singapore PM calls for further R&D rise

Singapore’s investment in R&D has grown dramatically over the past two decades but the prime minister, Lee Hsien, has called for further increases over the next four years.

Hsien was speaking on 29 November at the launch of “A*STAR: 20 Years of Science and Technology”, a publication that tracks Singapore’s R&D investments since 1991.

According to the publication, the country has increased its R&D spend from 1 per cent of gross domestic product in 1991 to 2.3 per cent in 2009, when expenditure amounted to SGD$6 billion ($4.6bn).

The report says that the private sector contributed more than half of total R&D spend in 2009, or SGD$3.7bn.

“Today, Singapore is ranked among some of the most research-intensive nations in the world,” said a statement from the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR).

“Singapore’s R&D ecosystem has grown from five public research institutes linked to specific industry clusters such as manufacturing, microelectronics and infocomm technology to a plethora of research performers including the research intensive universities and the 20 research entities from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

“Singapore’s vibrant R&D ecosystem has also successfully attracted MNCs [multinational corporations] such as Roche, GSK, Applied Materials, Gamesa, Fujitsu and Mitsui Chemicals to establish corporate laboratories here,” said the statement.

At the launch, Hsien said he wanted the country to spend 3.5 per cent of GDP on R&D by 2015.