SINGAPORE – A new Jurong Innovation District (JID), envisioned as the industrial park of the future, will be built as part of the Government’s push to encourage more innovation.
The first phase of the district, which will be in Jurong West, is expected to be completed by around 2020.
Singapore’s earlier industrial estates were developed for specific industries focused mostly on production, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget speech on Thursday (March 24).
But nowadays, research, innovation and production are closely intertwined, he pointed out.
The district will bring together researchers, students, innovators and businesses to develop products and services of the future. It will also create an environment to house different activities within a single next-generation industrial district.
It will be the future of innovation for enterprise, learning and living, Mr Heng added.
“Fifty years ago, we transformed Jurong from swampland into a thriving hub for the manufacturing industry that powered Singapore’s economic growth. Now, we will take another leap to create the industrial park of the future,” he said.
“This has the potential to transform how we live, work, play and create.”
JTC, the national developer of industrial infrastructure, is currently constructing Launchpad@JID, to serve as a space for entrepreneurs, researchers and students to design, prototype, and test-bed their new innovations.
JTC has also launched an Open Innovation Call to invite private sector technology owners to test-bed and develop innovative and sustainable infrastructure solutions within the district.
There are already other new types of industrial parks being built in other parts of Singapore,
JTC, for instance, is also building a creative industry cluster across the road from Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) which will move to Punggol.
SIT, Singapore’s fifth autonomous university, was set up in May 2009 to offer more degree opportunities to polytechnic graduates. It now operates from an interim campus at Dover with satellite branches in each of the five polytechnics.
Besides the new innovation district, the Government will also try to encourage innovation by promoting start-ups in new and existing industries.
To achieve this, a new entity called SG-lnnovate will be set up, Mr Heng announced.
SG-lnnovate will match budding entrepreneurs with mentors, introduce them to venture capital firms, help them to access talent in research institutes, and open up new markets.
It will build on what has been done by the lnfocomm Investments Private Limited (llPL), and work with Spring and EDB to expand the accelerator programmes to new and emerging sectors such as smart energy, digital manufacturing, fintech, digital health and Internet-of-Things.
In addition, up to $4 billion from the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan will be directed to industry-research collaboration.
“Innovation is enabled and enhanced by the use of technology but innovation goes beyond that. It is fundamentally about new ways of doing things to meet the needs of people and industries better,” said Mr Heng.
“Innovation is the engine of value creation and growth. We must make innovation pervasive in our society.”
This article was first published on March 24, 2016.
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