Science of Research, Innovation and Enterprise Programme

The National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, launched the Science of Research, Innovation and Enterprise (SRIE) programme in 2014 to support evidence-based policy-making in research, innovation and enterprise. 

SRIE 1st Grant Call

The first NRF SRIE grant call was made on 14 July 2014. Seventeen proposal submissions were received from Singapore-based researchers from local universities when the call closed on 25 August 2014. Proposals were subjected to a two-stage international peer evaluation and selection process, and six projects were finally selected for award in December 2014.  

Synopses of Awarded SRIE Projects


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Wong Poh Kam
Institute: National University of Singapore

This study seeks to gain insights on the key growth drivers of high-tech start-ups (HTSUs) as well as the macro impacts of HTSUs on Singapore’s economy over the last 10 years, and to provide empirical evidence for policy recommendations for the next 5 to 10 years. 

There are three parts to this study. The first two parts identify the key growth drivers of HTSUs at different stages of the start-up cycle (2005-2009 and 2010-2014) and how these drivers vary with changes in Singapore’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, based on survey of young technology firms started in the two five year periods. The third part provides a macro comparative analysis of the dynamism and employment contribution of HTSUs in Singapore versus selected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The research methodology and five-yearly survey datasets will provide a foundation for future studies to track the growth performance and micro-drivers of HTSUs in Singapore. Tracking of growth performance will be based on five-year intervals, or on an annual basis, while the macro analysis can be conducted yearly.


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Hang Chang Chieh
Institute: National University of Singapore

Singapore's “Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrading” (GET-Up) seeks to stimulate technology transfer from public to private sector to promote the R&D capability of the Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). This study attempts to understand the effectiveness of the technology transfer between the Research Institutes (RIs) and SMEs. It will examine how GET-Up has helped to enhance the R&D capability, resource availability and performance of SMEs. It will also look at factors influencing the effectiveness of the technology transfer and benefits attained by the research institutes with respect to the source and the recipient, technology, transfer agent, environment and business models of SMEs, etc.

Qualitative and quantitative methods through large scale surveys with the SMEs, research scientists, engineers, policy makers, as well as statistical methods will be deployed to analyse the data.

The results will be shared with the public agencies in the GET-Up schemes such as A*STAR, EDB, SPRING, IES, Polytechnics, etc., to enhance its translational R&D programmes and will also be shared with SMEs so that they are better prepared for a successful transfer of technology and knowledge from RIs.


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Boh Wai Fong
Institute: Nanyang Technological University

Building on research in the behavioural economics, cognitive science and social psychology domains, this study seeks to identify and examine the decision-making styles and preferences of entrepreneurs and how these act as enablers or barriers to innovation, which in turn affect the innovation and performance of the firm. 

The study also seeks to identify the key strategies that entrepreneurs adopt to improve innovation and the manner in which the decision-making styles and preference of entrepreneurs “diffuse to” and interact with the strategies adopted by entrepreneurs towards innovation and growth. Understanding this connection is a significant theoretical and applied contribution as it uncovers the mechanisms through which decision-making preferences of entrepreneurs influence outcomes such as innovation, growth and performance of the firm.

Findings, which are to be shared with government agencies, key partners (e.g. SPRING), study respondents, SMEs and start-ups, will provide insights into the following issues: 

  • Profiles of decision-making preferences of successful versus unsuccessful entrepreneurs;
  • Best practices, innovation processes and key strategies adopted by successful versus unsuccessful entrepreneurs and local companies;
  • Drivers of innovation in SMEs and start-ups;
  • Barriers of innovation and how successful entrepreneurs overcome those barriers;
  • Impact of government programmes and incentives and recommendations with respect to the appropriate timeframe and features of policy interventions.


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Theng Yin Leng
Institute: Nanyang Technological University

Altmetrics has appeared as an alternative, non-traditional metrics to the commonly used metrics to measure research impact. Altmetrics was first proposed in 2010 as a generalization of article level metrics, and has its roots in the Twitter #altmetrics hashtag. Although altmetrics are often thought of as metrics about articles, it can be applied to people, journals, books, data sets, presentations, videos, source code repositories, web pages, etc. Altmetrics covers not just citation counts, but also other aspects on the impact of a work (e.g. such as how many data and knowledge bases refer to it, article views, downloads, or mentions in social media and news media). 

We will design, develop and evaluate a system prototype called “Altmetrics for Research Impact Actuation” (ARIA) to gather and compute altmetrics to measure research impact of scholarly and scientific publishing. 
This research will help funding agencies, and educational and research institutions, to measure and benchmark research outputs. The design and development of the ARIA system prototype that supports altmetrics may lead to tie-ups with market research and publishing companies.


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Wang Jue
Institute: Nanyang Technological University

This study evaluates the impact that international talents have on SRIE investments and interventions throughout the last decade. It identifies their motivations to relocate and stay in Singapore. We answer two questions in this study: What is the value-add of international talents to Singapore’s global SRIE competitiveness? What motivates academic talents to move across borders? To obtain a meaningful response, we will assess their performance before delineating their network effects. This approach allows us to capture the indirect impact that internationally mobile scientific manpower have on the domestic SRIE system. 

Our assumption is that academic professionals exert an immediate but likely-to-be-moderate positive impact on Singapore’s SRIE system (i.e. they contribute to increasing national outputs), but their real value-add is more likely to be the long-term effects on its global competitiveness. We expect to observe that foreign academics connect Singapore to top-performing and emerging SRIE systems via their current international networks and, if their experiences in Singapore have been positive, would strengthen this link when they leave. This study seeks to offer a comprehensive and credible picture of how Singapore has successfully attracted foreign academic talents and the likelihood that it will retain them.


Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Khor Khiam Aik
Institute: Nanyang Technological University

Singapore has been actively recruiting world-class young scientists through the NRF Fellowship and NTU's Nanyang Assistant Professorship programme. There are a number of policy and research questions raised by such programmes: 

  1. Why and to what extent are the young scientist funding programmes effective at enhancing the ability of early career researchers in achieving their research breakthroughs?

  2. To what extent are the knowledge spill-overs generated by ‘star’ young scientists captured at the localised level of the host institution and host country, as well as by the academic discipline or world as a whole?

  3. What are the changes in the collaboration networks of these young R&D talents as they embark on their research in Singapore?

Our methodology centres on an in-depth analysis of the research outputs of the NRF Fellows and the NAP; and to contrast that with their peers in Singapore as well as in top overseas institutions. Studying the research collaboration network of these young talents will help shed light into the development of their research globally. Comparing the results of this study on Singapore young research talents with older schemes for young research talent could help to identify key factors that contributing to the success of young research talent schemes. We believe these questions will have direct policy relevance for Singapore and improve the effectiveness of public research funding programmes.


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