The National Research Foundation (NRF) Central Gap Fund (“Central Gap”) aims to support the translation of research outcomes into products, processes and/or services that generate economic and societal benefits for Singapore.
The scheme provides a national-level platform to resource impactful projects and encourage collaboration across public research performers and/or industry.
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.
The team should comprise the following:
- Project Lead who has the experience in leading translation/gap-funded projects and encourage collaboration with complementary projects with other institutions, if necessary.
- Researchers or scientists with relevant technical expertise and experience, and who are involved in the original research project.
- An experienced business management/development person or equivalent, or access to shared mentoring resources that the team can tap on.
Publicly-funded research performers and government-linked entities are eligible for Central Gap. Entities listed 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
- Local public hospitals, public health institutions and National Specialty Centres
- Local autonomous universities, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education
- CREATE entities
- 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 up to S$2M (inclusive of 30% Overheads) for a period of up to 2 years. Projects of larger quantum may be considered on a case-by-case basis, and if awarded, will be subject to appropriate stage-gating.
Projects that had previously received translation funding from the Host Institution (HI) and/or Innovation and Enterprise Office (IEO), the co-funding requirement may be waived. Otherwise, co-funding support is necessary and as follows:
- For projects with approved qualifying costs less than or equal to S$500K: The IEO/HI and Central Gap will equally co-fund the qualifying costs.
- For projects with approved qualifying costs greater than S$500K: The IEO/HI 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. To apply for Central Gap, proposals must be lodged electronically via the Integrated Grants Management System (IGMS) (https://www.researchgrant.gov.sg/).
A Standing Oversight Committee will evaluate proposals with inputs from subject matter experts. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- 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?
- 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, serviceable available market and serviceable obtainable market?
- 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 or investors?
- 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?
- 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?
- Are there programmes & infrastructure available at the Host Institution or collaborators to adequately support the project?
For further clarifications, please contact your IEO.
For Central Gap Application Guidelines, please click here
For frequently asked questions on Central Gap, please click here.
For the list of awarded NRF Central Gap Fund projects, please click here.
For the list of awarded NRF COVID-19 Challenge projects, please click here.