Interactive & Digital Media – IDM


The Interactive and Digital Media (IDM) sector is poised for tremendous growth, fuelled largely by the technological advancements and adoption in computing, broadband and mobile telephony.

IDM will be a fundamental enabler in the 21st century, presenting opportunities for new players, new content and business models. The IDM sector is a key driver in Singapore’s thrust towards an innovative global media city.

The IDM Strategic Research Programme will leverage on Singapore’s unique multi-cultural, multi-lingual and cosmopolitan identity, our strong foundation in information and communications infrastructure, our reputation as a trusted capital with a best-in-Asia intellectual property (IP) regime and a talented workforce, to catalyse new and innovative business models and activities in the IDM sector and create niches within this space that Singapore can excel in.

The development of the IDM sector requires the collaboration of a diverse range of public sector agencies, educational and research institutions, industry players and other stakeholders. Four key focus areas have been identified.

1. Education;

2. Animation, Games & Effects;

3. Media Intermediary (“Mediary”) Services; and

4. “On-the-Move” Technologies.

The IDM R&D Programme is under the purview of the IDM Programme Office (IDMPO), which coordinates a nation-wide effort across various agencies and oversees R&D initiatives in the IDM space, while research on the use of IDM in Education is overseen by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Interactive & Digital Media R&D Programme

The IDMPO has established an R&D programme with funding initiatives for the three R&D focus areas of Animation, Games & Effects, Media Intermediary (“Mediary”) Services, and “On-the-Move” Technologies. The programme seeks to grow the IDM ecosystem by providing:

  • Support for individuals: The IDM Jumpstart and Mentor (i.JAM) initiative supports individuals and start-ups with breakthrough ideas that can be developed into innovative products and services;
  • Support for Institutes of Higher Learning: The IDM Research Oriented Centres of Knowledge (i.ROCK) initiative aims to grow a network of local and international research organisations that will enhance the capabilities of the IDM industry and create a unique brand for IDM R&D in Singapore; and
  • Support for Industry: IDM support for industry encourages investment by key industry players to develop new open access platforms that will in turn stimulate demand for applications, products and services, and grow the IDM sector. By leveraging on the support schemes of IDM agencies in Singapore, it also aims to establish Singapore as a preferred location for the development and testbedding of innovative outdoor advertising locations.

Interactive & Digital Media in Education

The MOE’s R&D on IDM in Education programme will support the broader vision of growing Singapore’s IDM brand and the Singapore Education brand.MOE is working with the National Institute of Education, universities, polytechnics, arts institutions, industry as well as overseas institutions with the best capabilities in this area, to push the R&D frontiers in the use of IDM for learning. MOE supports R&D projects on IDM in Education that could help achieve the following outcomes:

  • Facilitate engaged learning for students in both the school and higher education sectors;
  • Develop educational models and tools to equip students with the right skills and competences to be ready for an IDM pervasive environment; and
  • Find ways for Singapore to generate commercial returns from its existing strengths in education.

The MOE’s IDM Programme Office serves as the single point of contact for all matters pertaining to IDM R&D in both school and higher education sectors as well as to oversee the evaluation of IDM in Education R&D project proposals.For more information on R&D on IDM in Education, please refer to the National Institute of Education website.

Interactive & Digital Media Strengths

Singapore has built capabilities in interactive and digital media, IT, computational science, communications and multimedia technologies, cloud computing and security.

Research focus in data analytics will provide organisations with decision-making tools based on data, ranging from the spread of infectious diseases, traffic management to consumer behaviour. Consequently, cloud computing research is poised to be the way the next generation of IT and network services will be delivered to homes and businesses.

In interactive and digital media, Singapore will continue to nurture technology enterprises in virtual world and games, mobile media marketing and rich media and publishing.

R&D is important to Singapore’s well-being and future sustainability. It creates value and enables us to exploit new industries and new economic opportunities. R&D fuels innovation and sharpens our competitive advantage.

Over the past two decades, we have made good progress in establishing ourselves as an R&D hub.

Since the launch of the first National Technology Plan in 1991, Singapore’s total R&D expenditure has increased more than tenfold, from about S$760 million in 1991 to S$6.5 billion in 2010.

To further boost R&D and sustain the competitive edge of our economy, the Singapore Government has committed S$16.1 billion over 2011-2015. This is 20% more than the previous five-year budget despite the economic slowdown. But it is necessary because R&D is a long and uncertain process and Singapore seeks to invest resolutely, consistently and judiciously to obtain the results which we want.

R&D Efforts

Singapore’s R&D efforts began in 1991, when the Government formed the National Science and Technology Board to frame the first five-year national technology plan for 1991 to 1995 and prepare Singapore to advance its economy and thrive in the knowledge era.

With an allocated budget of S$2 billion, the board was tasked with developing Singapore into a R&D hub in selected fields of science and technology in order to boost competitiveness in industry and the service sector.

By the second five-year technology plan, from 1996 to 2000, investment in R&D doubled to S$4 billion.

Recognizing the tremendous growth in the area of biomedical sciences, Singapore launched the Biomedical Sciences Initiative to establish biomedical sciences as one of the key pillars of the Singaporean economy, alongside the Electronics, Engineering and Chemicals Initiative.

The National Science and Technology Board was renamed the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Leading and driving scientific research in the biomedical sciences, and the physical sciences and engineering, A*STAR seeks to foster talent to create economic impact that will bring about social benefits for the whole country.

With the biomedical sciences identified as a new growth area in Singapore, government investments in research continued to rise; with S$6 billion budgeted for 2001 to 2005, and a further S$13.9 billion in the 2006 to 2010 science and technology plan.

The steadily increasing national research budget acknowledges the importance of science, technology and research for the growth and development of Singapore.

From 2011 to 2015, under the RIE Plan, the Singapore government is committed to spending another S$16 billion in research, innovation and enterprise to establish Singapore as a world-class R&D hub through the development of human, intellectual and industrial capital.

R&D; Framework

Starting with pockets of R&D capabilities residing in research institutes and the universities, Singapore has now established an emerging and vibrant R&D ecosystem comprising public sector research institutions (A*STAR RIs), Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) including the universities, polytechnics, Research Centres of Excellence (RCEs) and international institutions under the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), hospitals and academic medical centres, and corporate R&D laboratories.

At the same time, Singapore’s autonomous universities were also transformed to become more research-intensive. To manage the research performers and to ensure the long-term relevance of Singapore R&D investments, a holistic R&D framework and strategy was put in place.

The various agencies fit together in Singapore such that we have a holistic coverage of the entire RIE value chain.The Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) was set up in 2006 to provide overall strategic direction for Singapore’s R&D. The council, chaired by our Prime Minister, advises the Singapore Cabinet on national research and innovation policies and strategies.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) was formed under the Prime Minister’s Office to support the RIEC in their work through the development and coordination of national policies to grow Singapore’s R&D capabilities.

A brief description of the R&D agencies in Singapore is as follows:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) consists of 21 public research institutes that conduct R&D with an industry focus, and is involved in translating research outcomes into innovative products and services.

SPRING Singapore focuses on the translational aspects of R&D and the development of Small and Medium Enterprises.

The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the lead government agency that works to attract multinational corporations and corporate R&D laboratories to Singapore.

Under the Ministry of Education (MOE), there are the Institutes of Higher Learning, which consist of the Autonomous Universities (the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University, the Singapore Management University and the singapore University of Technology and Design) and the polytechnics.

There are also hospitals and academic medical centres under the Ministry of Health (MOH), which engage in translational clinical research.Through strong partnerships and collaboration with our partners, NRF is helping develop Singapore to be among the most research-intensive and innovative countries in the world.

The spectrum of activities undertaken by the various agencies and entities shade into each other.

NRF’s programmes and policies cover the entire RIE spectrum.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), with its various agencies, also covers the RIE range, although each agency would have a slightly different mandate. For example, A*STAR has 20 public research institutes that conduct R&D with an industry focus and is also involved in translating the research outcomes into innovative products and services.

SPRING focuses more on the translation aspects of R&D and the building of local enterprises.

EDB is the lead government agency for planning and positioning Singapore as a global business centre and in creating value for investors and companies in Singapore.

The Institutes of Higher Learning under the Ministry of Education and the hospitals and medical centres under the Ministry of Health engage in basic to applied research as well as bringing innovations out of the academic and medical institutions.

RIE 2015

On 17 September 2010, the RIEC unveiled a S$16.1 billion national budget for research, innovation and enterprise from 2011 to 2015, as part of the RIE2015 plan. This is a 20% increase from the S$13.6 billion allocated from 2006 to 2010, and represents Singapore’s steady commitment to R&D.

RIE 2015 has six key thrusts.

First, there will be continued emphasis on basic science and knowledge as the basis for future innovations. Some funding is set aside for ‘white space’ to capture emerging opportunities that were not identified earlier.

Second, we will continue to focus on talent attraction and development, positioning Singapore as a choice location for top researchers.

Third, there will be greater emphasis on competitive funding as a means to select the best ideas.

This will direct resources to the best research projects and teams.

Fourth, greater synergies between researchers across the public and private sectors will be fostered. Funding will be provided to encourage public-private research collaboration.

Fifth, there will be greater emphasis on industry-oriented R&D with economic outcomes.

Sixth, we will strengthen support for commercialisation so as to spur the development of new products and services for economic and societal benefit.RIE2015 is the culmination of a year-long planning process involving the collective effort of all research, economic and funding agencies. It will support Singapore’s long-term vision to be a research-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy like Sweden, Finland and Israel.

The six key strategies for RIE 2015 are to:

    • Continue to invest in new knowledge and ideas, to seed the intellectual capital that forms the basis for future innovations. Ministry of Education (MOE) has enhanced its Academic Research Fund to provide more support for basic, investigator-led research. A new Tier 3 programme has been introduced to fund programme-level research projects ranging from S$5 million to S$25 million over 5 years.
    • Continue to emphasize the attraction and development of scientific talent to meet the needs of our industry and public sector research institutions. S$735 million will be allocated to scholarships and fellowships for talent training at renowned opportunities both locally and overseas.
    • Place greater emphasis on competitive funding to spur innovation and bring out the best ideas for further support and development. National Research Foundation’s Competitive Research Programme will be expanded significantly from S$350 million to close to S$1 billion.
    • Strengthen synergies across our various R&D performers, and greater funding priority will be given to such multi-disciplinary and collaborative efforts, including collaborations with corporate R&D laboratories. A*STAR’s Joint Council Office, which supports multidisciplinary research across the physical and biomedical sciences, will receive an expanded budget of S$250 million.
    • Focus a greater proportion of R&D on economic outcomes, which means greater support for private sector R&D, closer collaborations between public and private sector R&D, and added emphasis on commercialization. Support for private R&D will be increased from S$2.1 billion to S$2.5 billion, while a new S$1.35 billion Industry Alignment Fund will encourage public researchers to work more closely with the industry.
    • Provide stronger support for our scientists to take their ideas from basic research through to commercialization, with the Innovation and Enterprise budget doubling to about S$1.08 billion.

RIE 2015 will also introduce a new S$1.6 billion White Space fund for responding to emerging opportunities in the course of the 5-year period from 2011 to 2015. White Space will be open to proposals from all agencies, and will enable Singapore to respond quickly to unanticipated challenges and opportunities.

Science of Learning Initiative Call for Proposals for Planning Grants

To develop Singapore’s research capabilities in the Science of Learning, the National Research Foundation is pleased to announce a call for proposals for Planning Grants.

NRF is looking to support activities to develop Full Proposals for multi-disciplinary research projects.

Collaborations with international experts are encouraged and meetings with such scientists will be supported by the Planning Grants.

The call for proposals for Planning Grants will commence on 5 June 2015 and close on 31 July 2015 at 5pm (Singapore time). A grant call for Full Proposals will be launched in the second half of 2016.

The Science of Learning Initiative aims to grow and strengthen Singapore’s research capabilities and grow a pool of manpower in relevant research areas. It seeks to develop a science-based understanding of the effectiveness of Singapore’s education methods as well as develop new methods to realise better learning outcomes.

Research Challenges

Proposals could be based on, but need not be limited to, research in the following priority areas:

  1. Development of neuroscience-informed interventions for translation – This refers to the development of interventions built on existing related neuroscience knowledge.
  2. Validation of cognitive theories or interventions with neuroscientific evidence – This refers to the corroboration of existing interventions/theories with the development of new neuroscience knowledge.
  3. Development of platform technologies as tools to support scaling of  interventions – This focuses on methods to scale up application of established intervention methods.

Grant Details

The grant support is up to $100,000 (including 20% indirect costs) for one year. Besides the immediate approach to be supported by the Planning Grant, the proposal must clearly articulate the problem statement and a summary of the approach to be further described in the Full Proposal.

Full Proposals should lead to actionable and scalable interventions for translation. Successful applications will be  expected to submit Full Proposals, or a report detailing why the initial proposed approach is not feasible.

Details of Grant Application

Planning Grant Proposal

The Planning grant will support activities toward the development of a Full Proposal. Activities could include research support (manpower, consumables, etc) to obtain preliminary data, or meetings with international experts for example. The Full Proposal will support collaboration with international researcher(s).

White Paper

To encourage forward thinking, the Planning Grant application will require concise details on what will be further elaborated in the Full Proposal, and must address the following questions:

a. What problem are you trying to address?b. How is it done today? Who are the leading researchers studying this problem and what is your understanding of the limitations of their current approaches? What is your approach and how does this differ from what others are doing? Why do you think that your proposal will be successful?
c. How are the financial and human resources organised to accomplish your proposed objective? What are the technical risks and how would these be mitigated?
d. What are the roles and contributions of the co-PIs and collaborators? Why are you and your team members particularly qualified to do this? How do the collaborations between the disciplines, institution or with industry add value to the project?
e. What are the scientific milestones / metrics that can be used to measure the success at completion of the Planning Grant and the Full Proposal?
f. What are the potential advances and benefits for society?
g. How will the project be actionable and scalable?
The descriptions of the Planning Grant proposal and the White Paper should not exceed 5 pages (Arial font size 10) in total.
Applicants can expect to be notified by email on the outcome of the grant call by Nov 2015.

Eligibility Criteria

Lead and Co-PIs at the point of application must fulfil the following requirements:

a. Hold a primary full-time appointment in a Singapore publicly funded institutionb. Have a laboratory or research program that carries out research in Singaporec. Have no outstanding (i.e. late submission) reports from other national grants

Assessment Criteria

Some of the key criteria include:

a.    Relevance of the application to the aims and scope defined in the call- Significance of the problem- Development of research capabilities in Singapore
b.    Quality- Scientific excellence- Technological novelty
c.    Impact- Potential benefit for scientific breakthroughs or disruption- Opportunities to address global challenges
– Opportunities for translation results
d.    Implementation- Competencies of the research team- Complementarity of the expertise of the research team- Whether aims and objectives are achievable within the timeframe

– See more at: http://www.nrf.gov.sg/funding-grants/science-of-learning#sthash.htOLDK3j.dpuf


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