Bringing digital innovation to aviation

30 January 2018 | ResearchEntrepreneurship
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Launching SIA’s Digital Innovation Blueprint were (from left): Prof Tan; Mr Lim Kok Kiang, EDB Assistant Managing Director; Mr Goh; Mr Iswaran; Mr Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR Chairman; and Mr Tay Tiang Guan, CAAS Deputy Director-General

NUS has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Singapore Airlines (SIA), paving the way forward for longer term research projects and the development of an innovation ecosystem centred around digital aviation and travel experience. The MOUs were unveiled at SIA’s Digital Innovation Blueprint Launch on 29 January, which was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry.

The first MOU will see three NUS faculties — Business, Computing and Engineering — and SIA working on joint longer term research projects focusing on business challenges for which solutions are not currently available. The collaboration offers a platform for both entities to exchange academic, scientific and technical information as well as participate in conferences, seminars and workshops in the areas of digital aviation and travel experience.

Under the second MOU, NUS Enterprise will team up with SIA to develop an ecosystem facilitating the growth of new technologies, start-ups and talents that can address the national carrier’s business challenges through a joint accelerator programme.

The joint accelerator programme will roll out in three phases covering outreach activities, a 10-week programme based on NUS Enterprise’s Lean LaunchPad methodology customised for the aviation and travel industry, as well as incubation of promising projects for six to 12 months for further development.   

Leveraging our strong and deep capabilities in data science, analytics, optimisation, cybersecurity and automation, as well as our comprehensive innovation and enterprise networks in Singapore and the region, we hope to open new opportunities for our researchers, students and start-ups to create and commercialise disruptive technologies that could accelerate the digital transformation of Singapore’s aviation sector and redefine the air travel experience.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Iswaran shared that the accelerator programme would nurture promising aviation and travel technology start-ups in Singapore. “I welcome this initiative as it would benefit not just the aviation and aerospace industries but also the larger innovation ecosystem in Singapore,” he said.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye, who participated in the launch, said that NUS was pleased to be a knowledge partner of SIA’s Digital Innovation Blueprint. “Leveraging our strong and deep capabilities in data science, analytics, optimisation, cybersecurity and automation, as well as our comprehensive innovation and enterprise networks in Singapore and the region, we hope to open new opportunities for our researchers, students and start-ups to create and commercialise disruptive technologies that could accelerate the digital transformation of Singapore’s aviation sector and redefine the air travel experience,” said Prof Tan.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, SIA CEO and NUS Trustee, said that the launch was the start of a long-term partnership with the airline’s collaborators, as it engages with partners and talents to develop the digital ecosystem. “As part of the SIA Group’s Digital Innovation Blueprint, we expect even more partners to come on board over time, as we work to contribute further to the aviation and travel space, and to the wider Singapore economy,” said Mr Goh.

The launch event also saw the unveiling of SIA’s partnerships with Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Economic Development Board (EDB).