The government of Singapore is setting aside SGD 20 billion (USD 14.5 billion) to support basic and applied research in high impact areas, such as health and biomedical sciences, climate change, and artificial intelligence. It will launch a series of Innovation Challenges to rally Singaporeans to pioneer solutions for some of the world’s major challenges.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as he was concluding a series of national ministerial broadcasts on Singapore’s post-COVID-19 future. He also explained what a post-COVID-19 future looks like for the city nation, saying that Singapore “will persist to find new links to enable the free flow of goods, services, capital, data, ideas, and talent; continue investing in infrastructure, and invest in research and innovation to sharpen Singapore’s competitiveness.”
The government is in the process of finalizing its research & development (R&D) plan for the next five years. SGD 19 billion (USD 13.8 billion) was assigned for the 2016-2020 Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan, while SGD 16.1 billion (USD 11.7 billion) was spent between 2011 and 2015.
In response to the pandemic outbreak, the Singaporean Government has mobilized almost SGD 100 billion (USD 70.4 billion) in support measures to help businesses and households manage the economic impact of the coronavirus. Moving forward, regardless of what the rest of the world does in a more fractious post-COVID world, Singapore will remain “an open, trading nation” and will continue to invest in infrastructure, even if some projects are paced based on demand.
The focus for the moment is job creation, said the Minister, pointing out that this is the Government’s “most urgent task,”. The National Jobs Council has started work, to oversee the creation of 100,000 jobs and training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. Besides, the Government has also set up Singapore Together Action Networks, such as Youth Mental Well-being Network, UPLIFT, and the SG Cares Community Care Network, bringing together more partners across different sectors to turn new ideas into new solutions.
(Sources: Gov.sg; Channel NewsAsia; Today Online)