How innovative is Singapore

Background & facts

What advantages does Singapore offer companies as a research location?
Research and development plays a major role in Singapore and is specifically planned and promoted by the government. The expenditures for research and development almost tripled between 1998 and 2008 - from 1.7 billion to five billion euros. They are expected to increase from currently around three percent of gross domestic product (GDP; 2010: 158.8 billion euros) to 3.5 percent by 2015. (Source: gtai)
The state supports companies in research and development: From 2011 to 2015 they can claim expenses in this area to an even greater extent than before and thus further reduce their tax burden. This also applies to companies based abroad that declare their taxes in Singapore.
In addition, Singapore has a good infrastructure for activities in research and development: science and business are brought together in a cluster of several industrial parks in the One-North district. There is also a state university, a university hospital, the Polytechnic University of Applied Sciences and the Singapore Science Parc for applied research. In addition, universities and numerous research institutes strive to cooperate with industry, which German companies and research organizations also join.

Which research institutions do companies find?
In the public sector, the state Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A * STAR) ensures that there are enough research facilities and personnel and supports public institutes and private companies in acquiring funding and tax breaks. In 2010, Singapore had twelve multi-discipline research facilities. These include the biomedical and scientific-technical research sectors, the A * STAR University Academy, the A * STAR Graduate Academy and a planning and administration department. The main focus of research and development is currently on clean energy generation, medical technology, urban transport, environmental protection and energy security.
In 2008, according to figures from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Singapore, there were almost 900 companies doing research and development - their number is increasing from year to year. Around 43 percent of the companies came from the manufacturing industry, 56 percent from the service sector and one percent from the construction sector.

Are there sufficiently qualified personnel for research and development?
For more than ten years, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has focused its efforts on strengthening the Singapore labor market in the area of ​​research and development. Since 2000, the number of jobs in this sector has grown from around 14,500 to over 27,000. Two out of five jobs were in the public sector (higher education, public research and government) and the remainder in the private sector. Four out of five scientists and research engineers are either Singaporean or permanent residents - and the number is rising.
Two universities, Nanyang Technological Univesity (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS), which are among the top 200 universities in the world according to the “Times Higher Education” magazine, provide for young scientists.

Do European companies have to change their products and technologies in Singapore?
As a “hub to Asia”, Singapore has been heavily influenced by the western lifestyle for decades and there have been collaborations with Europe and the USA for years.
The first agreement between Germany and Singapore was concluded in 1994: the Federal Ministry for Research and Development of the Federal Republic and the Ministry for Trade and Industry of the Republic of Singapore declared their cooperation in the field of scientific research and technology. Since then, the cooperation has been intensified. In 2011, an agreement on the exchange of students and professors followed, and in 2005 the German-Singaporean Declaration on intensive cooperation in the fields of politics, business, research, education and culture.

Can we expect a strengthening of trade relations between Singapore and Germany in the future?
The German government is working intensively on a free trade agreement which, according to Federal Economics Minister Phillip Rösler, “will be successfully concluded in the near future”. Relations between Germany and Singapore are thus facing a further phase of intensification.

Which institutions support German companies in Singapore?
German companies can start from a solid base in Singapore. Support at the branch can be found at various institutions. The German center of industry and trade, the German Center, is particularly active. More than 130 German companies are registered there. The all-round service of the center ranges from the provision of office space to legal and IT advice. The SGC, the Singapore-German Chamber of Commerce, has provided the institutional framework for this since 2004.

Are innovations possible within a secure legal framework?
Singapore has an excellent business-friendly legal system. Particularly in the area of ​​research and innovation, the legal regulations are geared towards particularly high demands and sometimes outperform those of European countries. In its “Competetiveness Report 2010/2011”, the World Economic Forum named Singapore the country with the best protection for intellectual property.

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