SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) in industries ranging from medical technology to oil and gas are getting a leg up in research and development.
The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SimTech), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), yesterday launched three collaborative industry projects worth $1.8 million.
The projects aim to be a platform for multinational corporations and SMEs in the same industry cluster to share resources for R&D, and generate technologies that improve productivity.
They were announced last night by Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, at a gala dinner held in celebration of SimTech's 20th anniversary.
"These projects will bring together industry and research partners with similar technology needs so as to maximise the sharing of resources and expertise, and accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies," he said.
One of the projects aims to develop a method of using X-rays for sterilisation in the medical technology and food industries, as an alternative to capital-intensive traditional methods.
A total of 15 companies, ranging from device makers to food and herbs suppliers, will be involved in this collaborative industry project.
The minister added that the Government has set aside $1 billion from 2011 to 2015 to help research centres identify opportunities for collaboration with SMEs.
Dr Lim Ser Yong, SimTech's executive director, said the collaborative industry project approach has "proven to be a cost-effective R&D platform" for companies to build new technologies together.
Since its inception in 1993, SimTech has completed 5,300 R&D projects with 1,300 companies in the areas of manufacturing processes, automation and systems. The research institute has also been granted over 88 patents, and licensed its technologies to more than 80 companies.