Central Gap Fund

The National Research Foundation (NRF) Central Gap Fund (“Central Gap”) aims to support the translation of research outcomes into useful products, processes and services that generate economic and societal benefits. The scheme provides a national-level platform to resource impactful projects and encourage collaboration across public research performers and/or industry. 


Eligibility Criteria


Types of projects

Projects from any area of science and engineering are eligible. However, only projects that aim to develop technologies of high impact and significant value for Singapore will be considered. Projects must aim to develop early technologies into working prototypes or functional processes that are closer to market, with the aim of demonstrating clear market need, so as to attract private sector investments and/or commercialisation receptacles to bring the technologies to full commercialisation or use. 


Project team

The team should comprise the following: 

  1. Project Lead who has the experience in leading translation/gap-funded projects and encourage collaboration with complementary projects with other institutions, if necessary.
  2. Researchers or scientists with relevant technical expertise and experience, and who are involved in the original research project.
  3. An experienced business management/development person or equivalent, or access to shared mentoring resources that the team can tap on. 

Eligible organisations

Publicly-funded research performers and government-linked entities are eligible for Central Gap. Entities in the list below are automatically eligible. Applicants outside of this list will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • A*STAR Research Institutes 
  • Local public research centres and consortia
  • CREATE entities
  • Local public hospitals, public health institutions and National Specialty Centres
  • Local autonomous universities, polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education
  • Research Centres of Excellence hosted by local autonomous universities
  • Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory

Call Frequency and Grant Quantum


The Central Gap provides funding support for projects of quantum greater than S$250K for a period of up to 2 years. The funding support is as follows:

  1. For projects with approved qualifying costs less than or equal to S$500K: The IEO and Central Gap will equally co-fund the qualifying costs. 
  2. For projects with approved qualifying costs greater than S$500K:  The IEO will co-fund S$250K and Central Gap will support the remaining qualifying costs.

Proposals can be submitted throughout the year and will be processed on a needs basis. All submission and endorsement will be through email with the email subject as “[For Submission and Endorsement] Central Gap Fund – Project Title and Project Lead” to NRF CIEO at  NRF_IE@nrf.gov.sg. Please note that each email should only contain one project. Multiple projects in one email will be returned. 

Application process


central gap application flowchart 500


Evaluation Criteria

A Standing Oversight Committee, with inputs from subject matter experts, will evaluate the proposals that have been submitted and recommend projects to award, guided by the following criteria:

Criteria Guiding Questions 
Project Scope
  • Does the project fit the scope and time-frame of a Central Gap Project?
  • Does the expected impact of the project accrue socioeconomic benefits to Singapore?
  • Is the project in an area where Singapore has or could have a competitive advantage, or where there is a national need or challenge?
  • Is the expected impact and/or deliverables of the project commensurate with the requested funding?
  • Are the proposed deliverables and milestones commensurate with the expected impact?
Commercialisation Potential
  • Does the project address an important unmet need? 
  • Does the proposed technology have a sustainable competitive advantage against competing patents/ research labs/products/companies? 
  • What is the addressable market size? 
  • Does the project have a viable business model (licensing, spin-offs, co-development, etc)? Does the project have a clear market development roadmap?  What are the possible barriers to entry? 
  • What is the time to market? Is the project sustainable e.g. plans have been made for long term funding beyond the Central Gap?
  • What is the manufacturability/scalability of the technology? How easy is it to scale up the technology for mass production?
  • Is there interest from potential customers?
Team
  •  Does the team have the necessary technical, business management and development expertise and resources?
  • Does the team have key/potential partnerships (collaborators from industry etc) that will enable faster development of the technology and shorten the time to market?
Technical Innovation
  • What is the current Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the proposed technology? What TRL would the team like to advance the proposed technology to with the Central Gap?
  • Is the proposed approach unique, innovative and disruptive? 
  • Is the proposed approach technically sound?  
  • Does it have a clear technology development roadmap?
  • What is the IP position/strategy of the technology?
Institutional Support
  • Are there programmes & infrastructure available at the Host Institution or collaborators to adequately support the project? 


Enquiries

For further clarifications, please contact your IEO.

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