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technologies for computer data storage. In one
such research project, the centers are devel-
oping thin hard drives to serve the exponential
growth (and thus hard-drive needs) of the tablet
industry, which is poised to become the com-
puter technology of the future. A new hybrid thin
drive could significantly reduce a tablet’s power
consumption. local researchers are developing
a prototype and a pilot line, and the solutions
will be licensed to industry partners.
Another area of research that will benefit
greatly from multidisciplinary research is bioin-
terphase science research, which requires the
knowledge and expertise of researchers from
disciplines as diverse as biology, physics, chem-
istry and materials science.
With the space and platforms readily avail-
able for scientists to explore multidisciplinary
research, it follows that new knowledge will be
created, innovative scientific advances made,
and ingenious technologies developed to deal
with the many challenges prevalent today and
in the future.
This ability to integrate diverse research capa-
bilities and achieve maximum impact is one of
A*STAR’s key value propositions.
Singapore’s success is reflected in the interna-
tional acclaim that it has rapidly received for
the country’s intellectual capital.
In just one decade, the number
of scientists leapt from 14,500
to 26,600, an increase of more
than 80 percent. As of 2007, Sin-
gapore had published the highest
number of scientific papers per
capita in top international jour-
nals, demonstrating high recogni-
tion for the country’s researchers.
According to nature’s Asia-Pacific
publication rankings in 2009, Sin-
gapore ranked fifth in the region
by country for research paper
output (among the ranks of top
Asian R&D giants Korea and
Taiwan), while A*STAR ranked
seventh in the institution category. A*STAR
researchers publish about 3,200 papers and
file about 225 primary patent publications on
average every year.
Singapore’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD)
was S$7.13 billion (5.9 billion uS$) in 2008,
about 2.77% of GDP. overall, GERD grew rap-
idly, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR)
of 11.2% from 2000 to 2008, an indication of the
increasing intensity of R&D activities in Singa-
pore. This significant investment in R&D will
continue in order to maintain Singapore’s posi-
tion among R&D-intensive countries that include
Finland, Sweden, and Japan. In fact, Singapore
aims to raise GERD to 3.5% of GDP by 2015,
achieving this goal primarily through growing
business R&D activities. It has also announced
a S$16.1 billion (12.4 million uS$) national bud-
get for R&D for the next five years, to support
research, innovation, and enterprise activities.
Already, Singapore has established itself as
a preferred location for R&D activities. Roche,
GSK, Abbot, hP labs, Fujitsu, Seiko Instru-
ments, Thales, Gamesa and nitto Denko are
among the companies that have set up dedi-
cated R&D arms in Singapore in recent years.
Among the first few Singaporeans to embark on a PhD grant from
A*STAR was Cheok Chit Fang, who began her studies in 2001. In 2006,
she began her postdoctoral training under the tutelage of David lane
(A*STAR’s chief scientist). Today, Chit Fang leads the IFoM-p53lab Joint
Research lab, the first international outpost of the Italian FIRC Institute
of Molecular oncology (IFoM).
Another rising researcher who has benefited from A*STAR’s scholar-
ship is Joel Yang, who focuses on plasmonics. Yang was granted a schol-
arship to study for his PhD at MIT. While at MIT, his team developed a
single-photon detector that can receive information via low-intensity
light, which could in theory provide the tools for real-time data transfer
from as far away as Mars. After completing his PhD in electrical engineer-
ing, Yang returned to A*STAR as a recipient of a competitive three-year
grant. “When I came back, I was very impressed with the researchers
here and the resources that are available for equipment,” says Yang. At
A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), his work
on plasmnonics could result in much denser data storage for the future
of computing and electronics.
(LEFT TO RIGHT) Alan
Colman, Cheok Chit
Fang, David lane,
and Joel Yang.
10/4/2011 11:32:50 AM
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