The stage is set for greater collaboration in scientific R&D between Singapore and Korea.
With it looms the prospect for a more robust med-tech industry in Singapore as a result of commercialisation of projects brought about by this enhanced cooperation between the two countries.
The landmark development took place December 11 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Singapore Agency of Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHID) calling for closer cooperation in the biomedical sciences by the two countries.
Signing of MoU
The MoU signing at the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare formed part of the events during the three-day visit by Singapore prime Minister Lee Hsien long to that country.
Present to witness the signing were Singapore Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan and Korean Health and Welfare Minister Moon Hung-Pyo.
Aside from spurring biomedical science and development, the collaboration between the two national agencies will also promote talent exchange and development, and facilitate the commercialisation of joint projects, according to a press statement by the Singapore government.
Collaboration will involve the following:
- Establishment of the US $ 5 million A*STAR -KHDI Joint Research Fund with 2014 as the year the first grant call takes place
- Potential establishment by the KHDI of a Biomedical Sciences Development Centre in Singapore
- Plans for student exchange programmes between A*STAR and Dongguk University
The statement said local companies in Singapore lack the capacity to support product development, clinical trials, and regulatory capabilities.
On the other hand, many Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are into medical technology ventures.
Thus, the collaboration will strengthen Singapore's med-tech capabilities and build "a compelling value proposition for companies to use Singapore as a natural base to conduct first-in-man, first-to-register, and first-to-launch operations," said the statement.
Some other countries with research collaboration agreements with Singapore are Italy, Finland, Japan, and New Zealand.
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