The 16th meeting of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) between China and Singapore, co-chaired by China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat, was held online on Tuesday (December 8th). Initiated by leaders from both countries, the JCBC was set up as a deputy-prime-minister-level communication mechanism and has been held annually since 2004 in order to discuss progress in major cooperative programmes between the two countries. Among the bilateral cooperation topics, progress on the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC), a state-level bilateral cooperation project was reviewed.
As a continuation to the Cooperation Agreement, the four founding parties of the Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI), namely China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) Administrative Committee, South China University of Technology (SCUT), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) and China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Co. (CSGKC JV Co.) signed the Deepened Cooperation Agreement in support of SSIJRI’s second phase of development.
Prof Zhu Min, Vice President of SCUT and Co-chair of the SSIJRI Governing Council, said: “The Deepened Cooperation Agreement will bring new opportunities to the development of SSIJRI. SCUT will work together with NTU Singapore to build the Institute into an exemplary model of scientific and technological cooperation between China and Singapore.”
Prof Lam Khin Yong, Senior Vice President (Research) of NTU and Co-chair of the SSIJRI Governing Council, said: “The Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute (SSIJRI) is a landmark project for scientific and technological collaboration between China and Singapore, and shows how a public-private collaboration model can yield remarkable results in translational research, technology commercialisation and incubation. Through leveraging NTU Singapore’s strength in interdisciplinary research and strong credentials in technology innovations, SSIJRI has seen a steady flow of innovative ideas that can be quickly turned into real-world solutions.”
“The Institute’s work is aligned with the NTU Smart Campus vision of using tech-enabled solutions to support knowledge discovery and promote better learning and living experiences and allows the University to push the frontiers of research and translate it into beneficial outcomes to better society on a wider scale.”
The CSGKC Administrative Committee spokesperson said: “With the elevation of China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City’s strategic position, it is hoped that SSIJRI can be built into a new scientific research institute that takes the lead in technological cooperation and innovation between China and Singapore, and a new highland in international technological innovation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.”
Mr Chen Changxin, CEO of CSGKC JV Co., said: “SSIJRI is an iconic government-industry-academia collaboration between China and Singapore. CSGKC JV Co. will continue to support the Institute’s development and facilitate the commercialisation of the scientific and technological achievements from the Institute’s projects.”
Following the signing of the Deepened Cooperation Agreement, the four founding parties of SSIJRI will continue to support its next phase of development, which is directed to further strengthen the cutting-edge research and accelerate commercialisation of technologies developed by SSIJRI.
In this coming 5 years, SSIJRI will align with the industrial needs and set up 3 Innovative R&D Centres focusing on emerging industries, such as digital technologies, new energy and bio-medical-related areas. SSIJRI also seeks to launch at least 40 local and international R&D projects by the end of the Agreement.
SSIJRI will continue to work on an integration of industry-academic-research partnership by strengthening industrial collaboration, project connectivity, talent exchanges, resource consolidation and achievement sharing.
With the support of CSGKC Administrative Committee and CSGKC JV Co., SSIJRI is scheduled to move into its headquarters building located at the core of CSGKC Southern Start-up Area in mid-2021. The total floor area of the headquarters building is estimated to be 23,000 square metres and will be used to house R&D facilities, research and administration personnel as well as SSIJRI spin-offs.
To achieve sustainable development, SSIJRI will work closely with CSGKC JV Co. to exploit new measures on Fintech; and establish a whole chain collaborative service system of various financial institutions and financial instruments.
Since its establishment in 2017, SSIJRI has launched 47 research projects led by renowned researchers from both SCUT and NTU, among them are Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Science, Fellows of Engineering Academy, Singapore, and recipient of the President’s Technology Award, Singapore, IEEE Fellows, Pearl River Scholars, etc.
So far, SSIJRI has received accumulated scientific support funding of over 8 million RMB awarded by various key provincial and municipal R&D funding programmes and published more than 90 highly influential articles in internationally renowned research journals, such as Nature Communications and Chemical Society Review, attracting a significant amount of attention from the academic world.
As a platform designed to transform fundamental research from the laboratories into applicable and marketable solutions for the society-at-large, SSIJRI has successfully established 3 joint research laboratories with industrial partners and collaborations with other industry partners are underway. SSIJRI has also incubated 22 high-tech enterprises with estimated total annual revenue of over 30 million RMB.
SSIJRI has been a keen advocate for IP protection and is leading the patent applications of similar research institutes in Guangzhou City with more than 70 patent applications. It has also facilitated 5 successful patent licensing/assignment of NTU patents to the Chinese enterprises, with a total contract value of 8.6 million RMB.