Singapore launches S$150m research initiative to improve living environment

Channel News Asia
Thursday, 29 June, 2017

The Ministry of National Development (MND) launched a S$150 million initiative on Thursday (Jun 29) aimed at developing Singapore’s urban planning research capabilities.


The initiative, called the Cities of Tomorrow R&D Programme (CoT), aims to address key challenges facing Singapore such as climate change, ageing infrastructure, resource constraints and demand for space. CoT will support basic research, applied research, and small-scale demonstration projects, the ministry added.


Speaking at the opening of the fourth Urban Sustainability R&D Congress on Thursday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the research under CoT will help Singapore deal with the "increasing complexities" of running a city-state, which require greater coordination and better integration of research efforts.


“We’re also looking for research that can be translated from the lab to real-world deployment … so as to reap tangible social and economic benefits,” he added.


Funding for the project will come from the S$900 million allocated to the Urban Solutions and Sustainability sector under the S$19 billion Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan announced last year.


The programme will be a multi-agency effort led by MND, and focus on six research areas: Advanced construction, resilient infrastructure, new spaces, greater sustainability, urban environment analytics and complexity science for urban solutions.


For example, under the "new spaces" theme, researchers can look at how to develop tools to improve underground mapping accuracy or reduce the cost of developing underground. They can also look at how to move functions such as utilities, warehousing and storage facilities underground in order to free up surface land for other activities.


At the congress, the Housing and Development Board will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Imperial College London and A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research.


They will collaborate on a research project to expand the capabilities of sensor networks, strengthen the use of analytics and predictive modelling for better planning and resource optimisation in an urban environment, optimise estate maintenance and enhance the quality of the living environment, MND said.