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NUS to host two new national-level consortia in cybersecurity and synthetic biology, to spur research, collaboration, commercialisation and training in leading-edge technologies

20 September 2016 | General News
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Funded by NRF, these consortia will provide seamless platforms to engage industry, government agencies and researchers in these technologies

Two new consortia have been launched to promote research, commercialisation and training in cybersecurity and synthetic biology. The Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium (SGCSC) and the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY) will be hosted at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore.

Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, and Chairman of NRF Singapore, announced the launch of these two consortia today, at the opening of the inaugural Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SWITCH).

The two new consortia will encourage use-inspired research, technology translation, manpower training, and technology awareness in cybersecurity and synthetic biology by actively promoting research discussions across industry, government agencies and researchers.  It will spur the creation of value for Singapore’s economy and society from knowledge generated by the S$42 million investment in NRF’s National Cybersecurity R&D Programme and the S$34 million investment in synthetic biology-related R&D funded under the Biological Design Tools and Applications grant call and NRF’s Competitive Research Programme.

“NRF has been supporting the setting up of collaborative R&D consortia, built around scientific breakthroughs and new knowledge discovered from research programmes funded by NRF. These consortia will foster closer interaction between industry and research institutions and provide companies access to top researchers and emerging technologies. We are confident that the consortia will result in more innovation and commercialisation in the cybersecurity and synthetic biology sectors when companies adopt the new technologies developed by the research institutions,” said Mr George Loh, Director (Programmes), NRF Singapore.

Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium (SGCSC)

As Singapore is highly reliant on software and information technology infrastructure, cybersecurity threats pose significant challenges to the information security industry.

With support from NUS and NRF, Professor Abhik Roychoudhury from the NUS School of Computing, will lead SGCSC to promote greater awareness, adoption and translation of cybersecurity technologies.

Professor Roychoudhury said, “The consortium seeks to bridge the gap between state-of-the-practice and state-of-the-art cutting edge research in the area of cybersecurity, as well as in other areas which can benefit from advances in cybersecurity such as the software sector and financial technologies (FinTech). Through a concerted and collective effort to engage various cybersecurity stakeholders through training, professional engagement and research collaborations, we hope to lower the entry barrier for the adoption of relevant technologies by companies in Singapore, and at the same time create a vibrant community of professionals who will generate novel ideas and technologies that will advance the field of cybersecurity in ways that will benefit Singapore and beyond.”

The consortium will make use of the National Cybersecurity Lab infrastructure funded by NRF and housed at NUS. The consortium currently has 14 industry partners as founding members. Consortium members can access a range of activities such as technology talks, annual cybersecurity camps, short certification courses, seed grants to collaborate in addressing critical problems in security and privacy.

Please refer to Annex A for more details on the SGCSC and its activities.

Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY)

An emerging area of research, synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering that involves the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems. Recent research has demonstrated promising application of synthetic biology in areas such as energy, healthcare and the environment.

The Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology (SINERGY) will be led by Associate Professor Matthew Chang, Director for the Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI) programme at NUS. Set up with funding support from NUS and NRF, the new consortium will tap on the facilities and expertise at SynCTI.

Associate Professor Chang explained, “SINERGY aims to consolidate Singapore’s capabilities in synthetic biology and harness synergies across industry sectors to create a vibrant and globally-connected bio-based economy in Singapore. We envisage that the efforts by SINERGY to encourage frequent interactions and co-development between industry, the universities and research institutes, will contribute towards augmenting manpower development and deployment for the new bio-economy, as well as catalysing the translation of expertise in synthetic biology for industry applications.”

To date, more than 10 industry partners have committed to join the consortium as founding members. The new consortium will be engaging its members through various activities such as annual meeting for biofoundry users, short certification courses, and strategic workshops to promote collaboration between researchers and industry, as well as networking events with international synthetic biology consortia.

Please refer to Annex B for more details on SINERGY and its activities.

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