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Singapore anchorage

Singapore's maritime R&D needs to be targeted: A*Star chief

Singapore needs to focussed in its maritime R&D efforts says the chief of A*Star, the country’s agency for science, technology and research.

Speaking at the Singapore Maritime Institute forum on Wednesday, Frederick Chew ceo of A*Star said the republic needed to be more targeted in its approach to maritime R&D. He noted, “We are doing a bit of everything” and that some of it was a bit “#metoo” in nature.

Drawing on his armed forces experience Chew described Singapore as small force and that when it came to maritime R&D needed to draw on the military concept of concentrated firepower.

“What do we actually need from Singapore versus other countries like Australia, China, the US, so we have to think very sharply and be very hard on ourselves that R&D money is well spent,” he said.

Along with being targeted Chew highlighted two other areas essential to Singapore’s maritime R&D efforts.

The second was teamwork. “From the shipping companies on one hand to port operators on the other hand and to straddle from sea to land, even the land logistics part is very important,” he said.

“We need to create a culture of team work in Singapore, not just within the maritime sector, but all adjacent sectors, supported by a vibrant R&D eco-system.”

Chew also believes there is a lot of potential for synergies between commercial and military with the Singapore Navy and worked on areas such as autonomy and collision avoidance for five to 10 years now.

The third point was that research need to yield practical results and could not be all blue sky thinking. “We need to match supply and demand well to realise commercial outcomes for Singapore,” he said.