Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Logo of the A*STAR
|Jurisdiction||Government of Singapore|
|Headquarters||1 Fusionopolis Way, #20-10 Connexis, Singapore 138632|
|Parent agency||Ministry of Trade and Industry (Singapore)|
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (Abbreviation: A*STAR; Chinese: 新加坡科技研究局) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. The Agency was established in 1991 to foster scientific research and talent for a knowledge-based Singapore.
Established in 1991 as the former National Science and Technology Board (NSTB), A*STAR was established with the primary mission to raise the level of science and technology in Singapore.
The current chairman of A*STAR is Mr. Lim Chuan Poh. He was formerly the Permanent Secretary (Education) and the Chief of Defence Force. Mr Lim took over the reins of A*STAR from Mr. Philip Yeo, who later became Chairman of SPRING Singapore, on 1 April 2007.
The scientific leadership includes Tan Chorh Chuan, George Radda, Sydney Brenner, David Lane, Charles Zukoski and used to include Prof Low Teck Seng. Prof Low Teck Seng left A*Star on 19 July 2012 to join the National Research Foundation of the Prime Minister's Office.
The agency is made up of:
- The Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) – Oversees public sector research activities in the biomedical sciences
- The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) – Oversees public sector research activities in the physical sciences & engineering
- The A*STAR Joint Council (A*JC) – Promotes and supports interdisciplinary collaborations between biomedical sciences, and physical sciences & engineering
- The A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA) – Administers science scholarships and other manpower development programs
- Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL) – Manages the intellectual property created by research institutes in Singapore, and facilitates technology transfer to industry
- The Corporate Group – Supports the rest of the organisation with finance, human resources, legal and other services
The agency oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centre, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity.
A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.
Research Institutes & Units
Biomedical Research Council
The Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) oversees 7 research institutes and several other research units that focus on both basic as well as translational and clinical research to support the key industry clusters in Biomedical Sciences, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, biotechnology and healthcare services.
Having established a strong foundation in basic biomedical research capabilities, there is now an added focus on translating new knowledge and technologies created at the "benches" into new clinical applications for diagnosis and treatment that can one day be delivered at the "bedsides" of our hospitals and disease centres.
The research institutes and units under BMRC are:
- Bioinformatics Institute (BII)
- Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI)
- Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC)
- Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS)
- Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN)
- Institute of Medical Biology (IMB)
- Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB)
- Neuroscience Research Partnership (NRP)
- Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC)
- Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)
- Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
- Singapore Stem Cell Consortium (SSCC)
- A*STAR-NUS Clinical Imaging Research Centre (CIRC)
The BMRC Research Institutes focus on building up core biomedical capabilities in the areas of bioprocessing; chemical synthesis; genomics and proteomics; molecular and cell biology; bioengineering and nanotechnology and computational biology. In addition, the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) focus on translational and clinical research.
Science and Engineering Council
A*STAR's Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) promotes public sector research and development in the physical sciences & engineering.
SERC manages seven research institutes and several state-of-the art centres and facilities with core competencies in a wide range of fields including communications, data storage, materials, chemicals, computational sciences, microelectronics, advanced manufacturing and metrology to tackle global technological challenges and create future industries from its headquarters at Fusionopolis, Singapore’s iconic hub for science and technology research.
The research institutes and units under SERC are:
- Data Storage Institute (DSI)
- Institute of Chemical Engineering and Sciences (ICES)
- Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)
- Institute of Infocomm Research (I2R)
- Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
- Institute of Microelectronics (IME)
- Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech)
- National Metrology Centre (NMC)
The seamless integration of the research institutes is key to addressing industry needs, which may span multiple disciplines. To this end, SERC’s broad range of capabilities are in a unique position to develop new technologies in areas such as automotives, aerospace, energy, electronic healthcare and medical technology, nanotechnology, photonics, sensors and sensor networks.
In July 2012, it was announced that A*STAR collaborates with Chinese language internet search provider Baidu to open a joint laboratory, called the Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC), which aims to develop language processing technologies.
Each year, the Agency gives out a number of scholarships and awards to young and aspiring scientists. These awards are meant to help Singapore achieve its goal of becoming a research hub by nurturing home-grown PhDs to serve both in the public sector and in industry. In 2008, a total of 101 scholarships were awarded to Bachelor of Science and PhD students who were to embark on their studies in overseas universities. The administration of these awards are governed by the A*Star Graduate Academy, some of which are listed below:
- National Science Scholarship (BS)
- National Science Scholarship (PhD)
- A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (AGS)
- Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA)
- Singapore International Pre-Graduate Award (SIPGA)
- A*STAR Undergraduate Scholarship (AUS)
- A*STAR International Fellowship (AIF)
- "Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)". Ministry of Trade and Industry. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- Chang Ai-Lien, "S'pore's science salesman turns sights on SMEs", The Straits Times, 21 October 2006
- "Baidu, A*STAR open joint laboratory". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Davie, Sandra (Dec 1, 2014). "A*Star scientist took up two scholarships". The Straits Times. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- More Than 300 Young People Receive A*STAR Scholarships And Awards At A*STAR Scholarship Award Ceremony 2008, 25 July 08