France-Singapore Year of Innovation 2018 aims to strengthen collaboration between innovation ecosystems

France-Singapore Year of Innovation 2018 aims to strengthen collaboration between innovation ecosystems

Dr. Frederique Vidal, the French Minister for Higher
Education, Research and Innovation is in Singapore from 21 to 23 January 2018
to launch the France-Singapore Year of Innovation (YOI) 2018 with a
line-up of bilateral exchanges, aimed at strengthening innovation for economic
and societal transformation.

The YOI 2018 was first announced
by then-French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
in March 2017 on the sidelines of then-President Hollande’s State Visit to

YOI 2018 aims to achieve three primary objectives: 1) Deepen
collaboration between the French and Singaporean innovation ecosystems by
enlarging the pool of stakeholders; 2) Foster events and activities held in
France and Singapore that could mutually reinforce efforts to attain innovation
goals, while focusing on priority sectors where there are substantial
opportunities for synergy and partnerships; and 3) Lay the groundwork for
greater bilateral cooperation in innovation beyond the Year of Innovation.

platforms under the YOI
include VivaTech in France and Singapore Week of
Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) in Singapore. VivaTechnology is the global
leading innovation event in France, while SWITCH, which is organised by the
National Research Foundation and SGInnovate, is a leading “plug and play”
platform in Asia that showcases the best ideas, technology and innovation from
around the world.

Both these events aim to provide startups and enterprises
the opportunity to build partnerships, strengthen networks and also serve as
key gateways for businesses and talents to expand into the respective regions.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr. S. Iswaran, said,
“Both Singapore and France recognise that innovation is a key growth strategy
for our economies. There are many areas of synergy between both countries, with
opportunities to collaborate in research, industry partnerships and talent

“France has a long and successful history of collaboration
with Singapore in the research and science sectors, and we very much look
forward to creating further interactions between our two innovation ecosystems
as a result of the Year of Innovation. Singapore and France share a vision
where a collaborative education, research and business ecosystem are the backbone
to world-leading innovations,” commented Minister Vidal.

Minister Vidal also called on Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan.
They discussed Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, ongoing bilateral
collaborations and the challenges brought about by the digital revolution.

On 23 January 2018, Minister Vidal and Senior Minister of
State for Communications & Information and Education, Dr. Janil
Puthucheary, will officially launch the YOI 2018 with a roundtable themed “From
Research to Innovation” hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The roundtable will bring together senior Singaporean and
French representatives from industry, academia and the government to exchange
ideas on translating research efforts into impactful innovation for the economy
and society. During the roundtable, Dr. Puthucheary will also share initiatives
that support Singapore’s efforts to develop local capabilities.

One example of such an initiative is the DataCity Programme by the Infocommunications
Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), Impact Hub Singapore Pte. Ltd.
and NUMA SAS. DataCity is a global open
innovation program that brings together cities, companies, and startups to
address together city challenges and develop solutions to build sustainable and
efficient cities, using data and technologies.