On the occasion of a State Visit by the French President to Singapore, a number of initiatives were announced to advance and intensify bilateral cooperation on innovation in wide range of areas from biomedical sciences and Fintech to defence, space and smart city solutions. The initiatives involve French and Singaporean government agencies, enterprises, public and private research organisations, along with institutions of higher learning.
The press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) highlighted the focus on innovation in the national strategies of both countries, such as recommendations in the Report of the Committee on the Future Economy of Singapore, and the 2017 – 2027 critical actions defined by France Stratégie’s National Commission for the Evaluation of Innovation Policies.
The French Tech community in Singapore has been working since 2016 to qualify for the French Tech Hub label to increase the contribution of the French Tech community in Singapore to the development of the Singapore Tech ecosystem and its interactions with the French Tech ecosystem. After formal launch, the French Tech Hub in Singapore is expected to work closely with other French Tech Hubs around the world and notably in Asia.
Similarly, the existing network of French companies in healthcare and biomedical sciences in Southeast Asia will be enhanced to reduce healthcare costs and find solutions for care of the elderly. A programme has been proposed, called Singapore Innovative Living Environment (SILVER), for an integrated research partnership between the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS; French National Center for Scientific Research ), the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to work on innovative multi-disciplinary solutions to enable active ageing and elderly well-being in urban community settings. The proposal will be submitted to the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) for funding consideration under the CREATE programme of excellence.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) signed a MOU with research institute System X, launching “SystemX @ Singapore”. Industrial partners and academia will collaborate in the field of complex systems digital engineering, in the areas of sustainability and environment, future mobility and smart urban solutions. NTU also extended its cooperation with the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA; French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) through the signing of a MOU for the development of a highly integrated, technology driven joint research project on green chemistry, waste recycling, materials recovery, and toxic waste remediation.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR; French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority) adopted a cooperation agreement for fostering the development of new technologies in the financial services (Fintech) area in the two countries.
Ties were also strengthened in defence and space technology. Singapore’s Defence Technology Community will work with France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) to develop innovative technological solutions to defence and security challenges. The French space agency, Centre National d’études Spatiales (CNES) and the Singaporean Office of Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn; established by the Singapore government in February 2013 with the mandate to serve as the designated office to develop Singapore’s space industry) confirmed their desired to convert a 2015 Letter of Intent between into a framework agreement to be signed on the occasion of the State Visit.
According to the press release, French companies will continue their contribution to projects related to Smart Cities and sustainable development in Singapore. Examples include Dassault Système’s project on Virtual Singapore, the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) collaboration with Electricite de France (EDF) on developing a Complex System Modelling tool to improve city and town planning, or Suez’ research projects with the Public Utilities Board, Singapore’s National Water Agency on advanced metering infrastructure and storm water management etc.
The year 2018 was declared as the France-Singapore Year of Innovation by President Hollande and Prime Minister Lee agreed to declare. Joint or separate events will be held in both France and Singapore, during the course of the year to find more areas and ways of working together to drive innovation in both countries.