Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings and the city-state’s National Research Foundation (NRF) have committed S$100 million ($75.9 million) to support the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) from publicly-funded research under the NRF- Temasek IP Commercial Vehicle, according to details disclosed in briefings by the Singapore government on its 2018 budget.
The joint venture (JV) vehicle, which will commence operations this year, will focus on investing, building and growing startups with commercially viable business models underpinned by science and technology generated from publicly-funded research in Singapore, according to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
In a statement, Heng said, “This new investment venture will bring together Temasek’s global investment networks and NRF’s connections with Singapore’s R&D community, to grow companies that draw on IP from publicly-funded research.”
He added, “We have built a strong research and knowledge base in our universities and A*STAR institutes, which provides a solid foundation for an innovative economy. We have various programmes to translate our public sector research efforts into commercially viable applications, and we will build on these,” he added.
Singapore is ranked fourth in the world and the first in Asia for possessing the best IP protection in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, while the Bloomberg 2018 Innovation Index, which scores economies using factors including research and development spending and the concentration of high-tech public companies, ranked Singapore as third in the world.
According to Heng, public sector R&D spending in Singapore has been sustained at 1 per cent of GDP annually. In October 2017, the NRF also launched an enhanced IP framework, the National IP Protocol, which encourages public agencies to collaborate with local enterprises who can develop publicly-funded R&D into products and services.
This National IP Protocol grants public agencies the flexibility to grant exclusive licences, non-exclusive licences, and assign IP to industry players with the aim of facilitating commercialisation.