I have been heading the Chemicals, Materials and GreenTech Research Cluster since December 2015. In terms of my organizational role, I support A*STAR Senior Management to organize the funding and research activities of 4 of A*STAR's research institutes (IMRE and ICES) overseeing 600 research staff and combined budget of >SGD$100M and competitive research programmes with a combined budget of >SGD$150M. I am also involved in research programme ideation, development and implementation and review. These require me to don the role of Futurist, Strategist and Activist, as I will explain below.
SERC manages the AME research funding of SGD$3.3B under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 quinquennial research funding plan. The AME domain consists of 8 vertical industry sectors, namely Aerospace, Electronics, Chemicals, Machinery & Systems, Marine & Offshore, Precision Modules & Components, Biologics & Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Medical Technology Manufacturing; and 4 technology horizontals, namely Robotics and Automation, Digital Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials.
Under the GreenTech portion of my portfolio, I coordinate the research activities in A*STAR focusing on Environment and Infrastructure. This includes research in Energy, Water and Land and the Built Environment.
Development of new programmes requires a good handle on current technology trends and foresighting of future technology trends through a variety of technology scanning techniques and engagement with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). The insights contribute toward the development of strategic national initiatives targeted at economic outcomes.
Together with our sister economic agencies, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), I co-develop strategies in Advanced Materials, Specialty Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing areas to enable investments in the relevant research and innovation to generate economic outcomes of increasing GDP, jobs and resilience.
The strategies inform the scope of research areas, and along with the inputs from the foresighting exercise described in the previous section, the information are synthesized into programme proposals that are then validated by research and industry KOLs. This involves continuous engagement with executives from key industry accounts, discussions with key opinion leaders and research performers from the local landscape through stakeholder outreach and technology roadmapping sessions.
Funding initiatives in A*STAR are periodically reviewed. To this end I organized institute-wide and programme reviews by international panels to conduct these reviews on A*STAR's behalf.
I am also a strong advocate of A*STAR's Future of Manufacturing (FoM) Initiative. I co-developed the approach for Standards and Policy in FoM, working closely together with SPRING Singapore and the Standards Development Office in the Singapore Manufacturer's Federation (SDO@SMF). I co-organized several large scale public outreach programmes to explain the importance of the Future of Manufacturing and Industrie 4.0 to local industry players.
I was seconded to MTI from A*STAR for a period of 1 year between December 2014 to December 2015. Under the RED division, I worked in the R&D department, which oversaw both A*STAR and coordinated national policy for research leading to economic outcomes.
My main role in MTI was to help coordinate the strategic planning for RIE2020 for research with economic outcomes. RIE2020 was announced in January 2016, with the Singapore Government committing SGD$19.1B towards research from 2016 to 2020. This amounts to 1% of GDP investment in RIE.
My other main role was to assist in S&T policy communications. The main mode of policy communication was through speeches for political office holders, which I helped to draft.
I was seconded to BMRC from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in October 2012, for an initial 7 months before I was fully transferred over in May 2013.
My first role in BMRC was in SP where I was in charge of SGD$400mil of competitive funding. I established polices and processes for the governance of this funding, in collaboration with the Economic Development Board (EDB). I was also responsible for outreach to other research performers in the biomedical research space in Singapore.
After SP was transitioned into the Grants Administration Division, I was transferred to the Planning Division in BMRC. My main role here was in corporate planning, and to ensure that funding and resources were available to the BMRC research institutes.
I also spent some time in the Pharmbio cluster in BMRC, overseeing the competitive funding (>SGD$100M) and developing new research programmes for the research institutes in this cluster.