The Innovation & Enterprise (I&E) Cluster Fund is an initiative under Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020), aimed at supporting projects catering to address the specific needs of each domain and to help capture value through translation of research to impact. As pathways to commercialisation vary across domains, are often complex, multi-factorial and may not be addressable through generic schemes, domains can tap on the I&E Cluster Fund for a broad range of possible applications. The Fund seeks to strengthen partnerships across companies, universities, research institutes and government to bring ideas quickly to market, raise productivity, create jobs and grow the sector. Previous Innovation Clusters under RIE2015 have been folded under this initiative.
Cluster development plans encompass support for collaborative projects, shared infrastructure, capacity building and bridging gaps in the value chain.
Diagnostics Innovation Cluster
Singapore can become a global hub for the development of selected diagnostic solutions for dominant Asian diseases by capitalising on our long standing relationships with major pharmaceutical companies and our status as a key regional medical hub and clinical trial site. As part of the cluster development plan, the Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, which possesses the capabilities to accelerate the transformation of IPs into clinically validated diagnostic devices that are ready for subsequent market adoption, was established. Leveraging Singapore’s strengths and leading clinicians and medical consortiums in areas such as oncology, ophthalmology, infectious and cardiac diseases, as well as ready access to Asian patient samples, the DxD Hub will develop diagnostic solutions tailored to diseases predominantly found in Asia. Over 5 years, the DxD Hub targets to license diagnostics technologies to MNCs, SMEs and start-ups, complete commercial contracts, attract industry co-funding, and help establish local and foreign start-ups.
The DxD Hub was launched by Mr S Iswaran, then Second Minister for Trade and Industry, on 26 Nov 2014. Led by Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, partners of the S$60 million hub include SingHealth, National University Health System, National Healthcare Group and the Singapore Clinical Research Institute. Multinational companies such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Thermo Fisher Scientific, along with SMEs and start-ups such as AITbiotech, Gencurix, HistoIndex, iPtec, InvitroCue and MiRXES, are among the early supporters of the DxD Hub.
(Credit: DxD Hub)
National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster
Identified as a key component in the future of manufacturing, additive manufacturing (AM) offers new disruptive technologies that allow for significant shortening of product development cycles and the construction of complex, intricate components. Anchoring such AM developments can boost Singapore’s manufacturing foothold in industries such as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, and medical devices, providing the competitive and innovative edge over traditional manufacturing powerhouses in the region.
The $54.4 million National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) was set up in September 2015 to consolidate and coordinate AM efforts from institutes across the country, catalysing public-private collaborations for effective translation of AM research into commercial applications. Officially launched on 23 Jan 2017 by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Loh Khum Yean at the opening of NAMIC’s inaugural AM summit, NAMIC will also focus on capabilities upgrading of the manufacturing workforce, expanding Singapore’s talent pool in the field of AM through seminars, competitions and a series of technical training workshops co-organised with software and equipment partners including SigmaLabs, 3D Systems, Autodesk and Hitachi-Sunway.
Each I&E cluster will be jointly led by an economic and technology agency. For example, in the case of DxD Hub, the Economic Development Board is the economic lead and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research is the technology lead. The economic agency identifies market opportunities for growing the cluster while the technology agency strengthens translational competencies and activities of organisations and entities identified under the cluster.