Cisco is hoping to deepen its efforts to help boost Singapore’s knowledge-based, innovation-driven digital economy after partnering up with the National University of Singapore (NUS) on a new ‘corporate laboratory’.
Established with an investment of S$54 million over five years, the Cisco-NUS Accelerated Digital Economy Corporate Laboratory is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore.
The NRF, a department within the Prime Minister's Office, was set up to guide the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise.
The new lab, officially launched on 5 November, is intended to bring together talent from both the NUS and Cisco to focus on five strategic research areas: artificial intelligence, healthcare, cyber security, urban infrastructure and future workforce and productivity.
It is thought that these technology focus areas are key not just in relation to the successful digital transformation of businesses but also to efforts of governments across the world as they look to digital adoption to improve citizen services.
“Over the past 18 months, we have seen the role technology has played in keeping the world running as we grappled with the pandemic,” said Naveen Menon, Cisco ASEAN president. “As we prepare for a post-pandemic future, one thing is clear – technology will be central to every aspect of businesses and governments, and their interaction with consumers and citizens.
“In this digital-first era, building local innovation capabilities that deliver globally relevant solutions will be critical to the success of countries. At Cisco, we are delighted to have the opportunity to play our part in Singapore’s growth through this collaboration with NUS,” he added.
The Corporate Lab is being led by Jeremy Lim, manager of the Cisco Singapore Co-Innovation Centre, and Associate Professor Biplab Sikdar, who is a faculty member of the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as co-directors.
It is expected that the lab will employ and train more than 100 researchers, analysts, engineers and students to work on 15 research projects. It will also provide scholarships for doctoral students who will work on projects associated with the new facility.
Additionally, the Corporate Lab aims to deliver 17 new technology solutions, 12 improved products and services and also benefit or partner with at least 100 Singapore-based companies to use and refine the developed solutions.
According to Low Teck Seng, CEO of the NRF, the areas within which the Cisco-NUS Corporate Lab plans to develop critical digital capabilities – namely healthcare, cyber security and urban infrastructure – are strategic and important areas of research for Singapore and will help to ensure the country continues to maintain its competitiveness.
“This partnership will help foster stronger industry-research ties and pave the way for more industry-research collaborations within our science and technology ecosystem,” he said.
This is not the first time Cisco has partnered with the NUS. In 2019, the two organisations got together to collaborate on innovation and research in key emerging technologies.
In fact, that partnership came with exactly the same stated goal as this latest collaboration: to boost the country's knowledge-based, innovation-driven digital economy.
The 2019 deal saw both the NUS and Cisco work to promote joint research and development activities in the areas of data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), automation, cyber security, artificial intelligence, machine learning and software-defined networking.
Furthermore, the collaboration saw the two sides identify joint research projects and sponsored chairs, as well as exchange scientific, academic and technical information.