Spurring Academic Research Excellence

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To build up a strong base of scientific capabilities and a pipeline of ideas that can drive the next phase of growth


Academic research, also known as foundational research, aims to support work that leads to creation of new knowledge.  Academic research is crucial to ensure that Singapore remains at the forefront of science, and supports new discoveries that can feed into translational and industrial research in the future.  At the same time, academic research helps enable quality education at our Institutes of Higher Learning, by infusing teaching with the latest thinking and discoveries.



Strategic Goals in RIE2020

In RIE2020, the government will continue to support investigator-led, programme and centre grants, to sustain a broad base of capabilities with peaks of excellence. To support the best ideas and teams, a larger proportion of academic research funding will be given out through competitive grant calls open to all public research performers. We will also continue to support international collaborations with leading research institutions to develop Singapore’s global networks and thought leadership. 


Key Schemes open to Public Research Performers

Administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF)

Scheme Description
NRF Fellowship
  • Supports promising early-career researchers to carry out independent research in Singapore. Provides up to $3 million over five years.
NRF Investigatorship
  • Provides opportunities for mid-career researchers to pursue ground breaking, high-risk research, and become scientific leaders. Provides up to $3 million over five years.
NRF Competitive Research Programme
  • Supports multi-disciplinary teams to conduct cutting-edge research with potential impact to Singapore. Provides funding support for programmes up to a period of five years.
Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme 
  • Provides outstanding Singaporean researchers who have established themselves overseas with the opportunity to relocate their research back to Singapore.


Administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE)

Scheme Description
MOE Academic Research Funding (AcRF)

Supports research in our research-intensive Autonomous Universities (AUs)1 that has academic significance and potential to create new knowledge that benefits Singapore and the larger academic community. The AcRF comprises three tiers:

  • AcRF Tier 1 - core institutional funding to the four research-intensive AUs that is allocated within each AU through an internal competitive process.  
  • AcRF Tier 2 - supports research projects on a competitive basis across the AUs. Provides funding of up to $1 million per project over three years.
  • AcRF Tier 3 - supports high-impact, multidisciplinary research programmes in the AUs. Provides funding of between $5 million to $25 million per programme over five years.  



Contact Points

For schemes administered by NRF: NRF_CRP@nrf.gov.sg

For schemes administered by MOE: MOE_ARD@moe.gov.sg


1 Autonomous Universities refer to the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design.

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