The National Research Foundation (NRF), a Singapore government-backed R&D department, is set to launch a S$25 million (US$18 million) fund aimed at boosting the country’s quantum engineering capabilities.
Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Chairman of NRF, unveiled the new initiative, called the the Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP), during his opening address at the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) today.
Led by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and overseas partners, QEP will build upon 20 years of quantum science research from the country’s R&D facilities, to prototype and develop quantum technologies and devices.
Keat said that quantum technologies can achieve unprecedented levels of accuracy and, to put forth an example, mentioned how quantum clocks can unlock new possibilities for deep sea and space exploration.
QEP will focus on demonstrating use cases and applications in a range of domains such as cybersecurity and communications and diagnostics imaging.
Keat also announced two new initiatives designed to bolster the country’s entrepreneur ecosystem.
The first is the Innovators Academy — a national programme that facilitate overseas internship programmes in 17 cities over the next few years. Innovation academy is an initiative under the Global Innovation Alliance and aims to help Singapore entrepreneurs, businesses and students connect and collaborate with overseas partners in technology and innovation.
By exposing students to a diverse range of innovation ecosystems abroad, the Innovators Academy hopes to grow Singapore business leaders with a global perspective. Nanyang Technological University (NTU), NUS, Singapore Management University and Ngee Ann Polytechnic will participate in this programme, with more institutions to follow.
Startup SG Network
The second initiative is an online startup database for Singapore companies called Startup SG Network, developed by Enterprise Singapore.
It enables local ecosystem players across over 30 technology sectors such as agrifood tech,
medtech and urban solutions to profile themselves, connect with one another and seek
potential partnerships and deal flows through an online portal.
For example, startups could potentially use the database to search for an appropriate incubator or VC to help them scale. Or vice versa, a incubator or VC could leverage the portal to curate the right startups for strategic partnerships.
Keat also said that this portal puts Singapore “on the radar of global players”, making it easier for them to make connections within the local ecosystem.