Health and Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical

To be a leading centre that advances human health and wellness, and creates economic value for Singapore and Singaporeans through the pursuit of excellence in research and its applications


Healthcare is a huge and rapidly growing global market, with the biomedical sector remaining an important contributor to Singapore’s manufacturing economy. We also seek to develop innovative healthcare services, drugs or devices that will deliver better health outcomes for our people and enable a sustainable healthcare system. 


Strategic Goals in RIE2020

In RIE2020, public research agencies plan to develop an ecosystem that better enables translation of research to improving health outcomes, including greater emphasis on Health Services Research to contain healthcare costs, and transform and enhance the efficiency of health services delivery. The ecosystem will be supported by building a strong core and pipeline of Singapore researchers, clinician-scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. 

Five therapeutic areas of focus have been identified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) based on factors such as disease impact, scientific excellence in Singapore and national needs. These are (i) cancers, (ii) cardiovascular diseases, (iii) diabetes mellitus and other metabolic / endocrine conditions, (iv) infectious diseases, and (v) neurological and sense disorders1. Health and Biomedical Sciences (HBMS) agencies will develop research roadmaps to determine specific problem statements and priorities for each of the identified therapeutic areas of focus. These will include pathways to translate research discoveries into healthcare solutions, innovative medicines or medical devices so as to create value.

Singapore’s HBMS industry cluster will be developed into a vibrant ecosystem comprising multinational corporations, local enterprises and start-ups. Singapore will also be diversifying its industry focus beyond the pharmaceutical and biologics, and medical technology sectors, to include personal care, and food and nutrition, which had demonstrated the potential for economic growth, and where R&D can play an important differentiating factor.


Key Schemes open to Public Research Performers

Administered by MOH's National Medical Research Council (NMRC)

Scheme Description
(i) Schemes open to researchers in all public research institutions

HBMS Open Fund Large Collaborative Grant (LCG) 

LCG, funding up to $25 million over a maximum of five years, aims to support the best teams of researchers from public institutions to advance human health and wellness, and create economic value for Singapore and Singaporeans, through the pursuit of excellence in research and its applications. LCGs represent a unique opportunity to bring together investigators from across all of Singapore with the clinician-scientists and clinical investigators in the hospitals and Academic Medical Centres.

Key Elements

  • Collaboration within as well as between the basic and clinical research communities is strongly encouraged. Interdisciplinary collaboration across institutions is important to integrate, coordinate and leverage the full spectrum of research capabilities in Singapore from basic science to clinical research.
  • LCG programmes should aim to make significant contributions to the advancement of study of therapeutic areas and help establish Singapore as a global leader. 
  • They should facilitate the discovery and application of basic science ideas relevant to the advancement of health (as well as the translation of clinical findings into practices and policies if any); and provide opportunities to support industry sectors integral to the HBMS economic strategy, namely pharmaceutical and biologics, medical technology, food and nutrition, and personal care. Pathway(s) to impact should be clearly articulated.

HBMS Open Fund Individual Research Grant (IRG)

IRG, funding up to $1.5 million over a maximum of five years, supports basic and translational clinical research that are relevant to human health and wellness, as well as research into the causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases.

HBMS Open Fund Young Individual Research Grant (YIRG)

YIRG is a sub-category of IRG, and a first step for new investigators. Funding per project is up to $0.3 million over a maximum of three years.

National Innovation Challenge (NIC) on Active and Confident Ageing


The NIC on Active and Confident Ageing seeks to catalyse innovative ideas and research in Singapore that can positively transform the experience of ageing in Singapore2 through three key research thrusts:

  • Lengthening of health span
    Finding better ways of delaying onset of disease and disability, to extend seniors' health span, so that our seniors continue to lead economically and socially active lives for much longer
  • Productive longevity
    Research and innovation that unlocks the talent, energies and productivity in longevity, to benefit individuals, society and our nation. 
  • Ageing in place
    Science and technology that can help seniors live independent and autonomous lives despite their physical frailty; innovative solutions to effectively support ageing in place, in a smart city.
(ii) Schemes open to clinical researchers in public healthcare institutions and universities

Clinician Scientist Individual Research Grant (CS-IRG)

CS-IRG, funding up to $1.8 million over a maximum of three years, is provided to clinician-scientists to enable them to carry out medical research on a specifically defined topic.

CS-IRG New Investigator Grant (CS-IRG NIG)


CS-IRG NIG is a sub-category of CS-IRG and a first step for new clinician-scientist investigators. Funding per project is up to $0.24 million over a maximum of two years. 

Health Services Research (HSR) Grant

HSR Grant is for researchers conducting HSR and enabling the translation of HSR findings into policy and practice. More information will be provided on the NMRC website at a later date.

Singapore Translational Research (STaR) Investigator Award

STaR Investigator Award is a prestigious award which supports established world-class clinician-scientists to undertake cutting edge translational and clinical research in Singapore. Each award is up to $8 million (inclusive of five-year research grant, indirect costs and salary support). STaR Investigators must commit to a full-time appointment in Singapore and their proposed research conducted in Singapore.

Clinician Scientist Award (CSA)


CSA provides salary and funding support to selected outstanding clinician-scientists, who possess a consistent record of excellence in research, to enable them to continue with their internationally competitive translational and clinical research. There are two levels of awards:

  • Investigator Category: For clinician-scientists who have good track records of research work and have demonstrated potential to become leaders in their field (three-year research grant of up to $0.81 million and salary support.

  • Senior Investigator Category: For clinician-scientists who have demonstrated sustained, high levels of productivity and leadership in translational and clinical research (five-year research grant of up to $2.1 million and salary support). They are expected to mentor MBBS-PhD students and junior clinician-scientists. 

Transition Award (TA)

TA aims to assist budding clinicians who have just returned from formal research training to build up their capability in research, so they can transition to a stable independent research position or other independent research funding and eventually obtain independent research support.  The award for a mentored research project includes a three-year research grant of up to $0.45 million and salary support.

Clinician Investigator / Clinician Scientists Salary Support Programme (CI/CS SSP)

CI/CS SSP aims to encourage clinicians to participate in healthcare research by providing salary support for their research time, so as to contribute to the pipeline of clinician researchers. The programme is open to clinicians who spend between 10-60% of their time in research for NMRC-administered research projects. The funding for salary support will be channelled to the respective clinical departments to recognise their support for the clinicians’ participation in research, with the flexibility for the departments to use the funds for research-related activities in the department.

Masters in Clinical Investigation (MCI) Programme

MCI, run by the National University of Singapore (NUS), aims to equip clinicians with the basic methodological and practical skills necessary to design and conduct clinical investigations relevant to patient care. It also provides the foundation for clinicians to pursue advanced clinical research training. Scholarships are provided for outstanding clinicians (Singaporeans or Permanent Residents) selected for entry into the MCI programme. Recipients are obliged to serve two and half years with the government or in positions directed by the government.

NMRC Research Training Fellowship

NMRC Research Training Fellowship aims to equip outstanding and talented clinicians, health science professionals (e.g. nurses, pharmacists) and biostatisticians with academic qualifications and skills necessary for pursuing research as a career.

Up to $0.5 million over two to three years (extendable to four years for PhD), or up to $0.8 million for overseas full-time PhD training for a clinician. Funds tuition fees and other allowances related to the research training. A seed fund of $30,000 is available for an awardee who returns from training of 12 months or longer (subject to the approval of a research proposal). 

Recipients are obliged to serve with the government or in positions directed by the government.


Administered by the Agency for Science, Technology And Research (A*STAR) and the Economic Development Board (EDB)

Scheme Description

Industry Alignment Fund Pre-Positioning (IAF-PP)

IAF-PP supports public sector research aligned with industry outcomes for Singapore, through the development of integrated capabilities and programmes, which address major challenges faced by industry, or which have the potential to transform or disrupt existing industry sectors. IAF PP will allow A*STAR and EDB to catalyse and orchestrate R&D activities across research and academic institutes, hospitals, public institutions and companies, towards industry development outcomes and to achieve economic impact. This encompasses new programmes, as well as existing programmes that have demonstrated strong track record of success and industry potential.





In addition, there are schemes available to support research performers in R&D partnerships with health and biomedical companies in Singapore. Please refer to the Innovation & Enterprise section for information on these schemes. Companies and research performers may directly discuss potential partnerships, or connect with the Biomedical Sciences Industry Partnerships Office (BMS IPO), jointly established by A*STAR, EDB and MOH to facilitate partnerships between research performers and companies with a strong R&D commitment to Singapore. For more information, please contact info@bmsipo.sg.


Contact Points

For schemes administered by NMRC: MOH_NMRC@moh.gov.sg

For schemes administered by A*STAR: contact@a-star.edu.sg

1 Please refer to the NMRC website for more information on the HBMS Disease Taskforces and the Taskforces’ Reports. 

2 Eligibility criteria for grant calls may vary. Please refer to the NMRC website for details, or contact us at nic_ageing@moh.gov.sg to find out more.

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