SINGAPORE (Sept 20): Two new consortiums in cybersecurity and synthetic biology were launched today to spur collaborations between industry players, government agencies and research institutions.
The Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium (SGCC) and the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY) are supported by the National Research Foundation. They will be hosted at the National University of Singapore.
“The idea of a consortium is to [bring together] our researchers who have received funding from us [NRF], and have created a portfolio of IPs and know-how through their research. The intent is to bring the industry [the companies that are interested in these technologies] now to them,” says CEO of NRF, Professor Low Teck Seng, at the opening of the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH).
Low says that most companies around the world are cutting down their R&D budget amid a tougher business environment.
Through the consortiums, companies can leverage on the expertise of the research institutions to bring new technologies to market in a more efficient manner.
Companies that “leverage research from the consortiums for collaborative projects with researchers” can also apply for co-funding from the NRF.
NRF has invested $42 million in seven research projects under the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme and $34 million in eight synthetic biology related R&D projects so far. The consortiums will build on these projects, and seek opportunities to bring them to market.
There are currently 14 industry players in the cybersecurity consortium, including StarHub, ST Electronics, Singapore Telecommunications, PwC Singapore and Standard Chartered Bank Singapore. The synthetic biology consortium has more than 10 companies as members, including GlaxoSmithKline and Wilmar International. Consortium members will have access to a range of activities such as global networking opportunities, grant calls for seed grants, training and workshops.
Already, the institutions and industry players within the consortiums are working together. One instance is NTUitive, the commercialisation arm of Nanyang Technological University, which is incubating AdvanceSyn Studio. The latter is a company that does predictive biological engineering.
“We hope to tap onto the interaction platform that the Consortium provides, to further the international partnerships of our technologies and spinoff companies,” says Lim Jui, CEO of NTU Innovation and NTUitive.
NRF previously launched two consortiums, which led to at least six collaborative projects.