Creating a Future-Ready Singapore That is Liveable, Sustainable and Resource-Resilient
Senior Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Lee Yi-Shyan announced various urban sustainability-related R&D efforts at the 2013 Urban Sustainability Research and Development (R&D) Congress today:
a) A Roadmap to Guide R&D Efforts Under the $135 Million Land and Liveability National Innovation Challenge (L2 NIC).
The Ministry of National Development (MND) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), together with its partner agencies such as A*STAR, HDB, IDA, JTC, and URA, have carried out extensive consultations in coming up with the Roadmap, which will be discussed further at the Congress. This will eventually lead to the inaugural competitive call for R&D proposals by the end of the year, which will begin to tap on the $135 million L2 NIC funds
b) $8 Million in Research Grants for Four R&D Projects Under MND’s Sustainable Urban Living (SUL) Programme.
Four projects are the first to be selected for offer since the inaugural SUL grant call was launched in August 2012. These projects encompass the areas of Underground Construction Technology, Land Reclamation Technology and Space Optimisation
c) $4 Million in Research Grants for Four R&D Projects Under A*STAR-MND’s Green Buildings (GB) Programme.
Another four projects have been selected for offer, and their R&D areas encompass improved building façade materials, such as heat/glare reducing “cool” paint and “smart windows”
d) $5 Million for the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA’s) New Innovation Grant.
The new Innovation Grant provides funding support for small-scale, ad-hoc R&D projects for faster deployment by the industry; and
e) Up to $20 Million to Develop Energy Efficient and Cost-Effective Solutions for Buildings in the Tropics.
Co-led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Energy Market Authority (EMA) under the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO), the grant calls will look into lowering the energy usage of new and old buildings. This will help Singapore achieve our carbon emission reduction targets of up to 16 per cent business-as-usual level for the building sector by 2020
More than six hundred participants from government agencies, research institutes and private sector companies convened at the Biopolis for the two-day event. Themed “Creating a Future-Ready City – Liveable, Sustainable and Resource-Resilient”, the Congress aims to develop urban innovations, build up Singapore’s existing and future capabilities, and create sustained capacity for growth. For more information, please visit http://www.urbansustainability.sg
Land and Liveability National Innovation Challenge (L2 NIC)
To ensure that the research will have strong implementation potential in Singapore, MND, NRF and their partner agencies held extensive R&D road-mapping consultation with stakeholders from the research community and industry. Through this process, the following were identified as some potential R&D focus areas for the L2 NIC:
a. Thrust 1 - Creating New Space Cost-Effectively:
To create cost-effective and useable underground spaces for an expanded range of uses, thus freeing up surface land for more optimal uses. For example, by developing an underground goods mover system to serve industries. This could reduce traffic congestion, especially from heavy vehicles, and free up surface spaces for other uses, e.g. for industrial parks and amenities etc.
Other possibilities include data centres and warehousing, and could be developed in underground spaces such as the Underground Warehouse & Logistics Facilities at Tanjong Kling. New forms of amenities and R&D laboratories to create more habitable spaces beyond storage purposes could be pioneered at the Underground Science City at Kent Ridge. These require R&D in innovative engineering and construction methods, safe and efficient M&E and ventilation systems, robust fire protection and evacuation systems.
b. Thrust 2 - Optimising the Use of Space while Maintaining High Liveability:
To create liveable, sustainable and community-centric towns of the future, innovation in urban designs and technologies are important. These will enhance our environmental quality of where we work, live, learn and play. Liveability encompasses a balance of physiological comfort, environmental performance and social needs. There is a need to study how community needs, social behaviour, and perception towards high-rise high density living, can be addressed through good urban design and urban solutions. These include ways to improve thermal comfort, create more green and community spaces, and improve urban mobility. This will help us formulate solutions to achieve a comfortable, green living environment for all.
Besides these two thrusts, the roadmap also identified the need to harness info-communications technology (ICT) to make better sense of urban and environmental data to aid policy-making. In addition, the L2 NIC will support research into social behavioural related studies, such as assessing people’s perception and behaviour to improve liveability within Singapore’s urban environment.
Going forward, MND and NRF, together with their partner agencies, will also consult international experts who are leaders in their field. All these will eventually lead to the L2 NIC’s inaugural competitive call for research proposals by the end of the year.
Driving Research in Sustainable Urban Living (SUL)
MND launched the inaugural SUL competitive call for research proposals on 31 August 2012 to provide nearer-term seed funding for R&D in urban solutions. A total of 4 projects amounting to S$8 million have been selected for offer. These R&D projects will take about 3 years to complete:
a. The use of biogrout, a type of organic material, to stabilise rock conditions in Singapore. This will lower the construction risks and make underground developments safer.
b. The use of locally generated waste materials to develop an alternative fill material for land reclamation. This also reduces the space required for waste disposal in Singapore, e.g. landfills.
c. The use of a natural, green GeoBarrier System in underground structures. This natural geobarrier will replace the need for a concrete retaining wall, and potentially free up at-grade space for other uses, e.g. social and community facilities.
d. The study of new construction methods to improve structural and safety performance for long span bridging structures. Such large bridging structures could potentially be used to deck over roads and utilities, and be used to create new innovative spaces.
Sustaining Research in Green Buildings
In collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), MND launched a second joint grant call for R&D proposals on Green Building technologies. A total of four projects amounting to S$4 million have been selected for offer, and they will take about 3 years to complete:
a. Three of the awarded projects will look at ways to improve the performance and reduce the cost of “smart window” technologies. This can lead to significant cost savings in air-conditioning.
b. The development of a multi-purpose “cool paint” for buildings which can reflect light, minimise heat transmission and clean itself.
The Energy Innovation Research Programme, under the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO) co-led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Energy Market Authority (EMA), allocated up to S$20 million to support the development of energy efficient and cost-effective solutions for buildings in the tropics, which will be administered by BCA. Besides lowering the energy usage of new and old buildings significantly, the grant calls will also help Singapore achieve our carbon emission reduction targets for the building sector by 2020.
BCA also plans to launch a new S$5 million “Innovation Grant” targeted at small-scale, ad-hoc R&D projects such as prototyping of technologies. Such projects are usually more downstream. If successfully implemented, the scheme would encourage wider adoption of innovative technologies by industry. The new scheme will be rolled out in July 2013.
Minister for National Development R&D Award 2013
SMS Lee also presented the Minister for National Development R&D Awards to outstanding projects which have contributed towards MND’s vision of creating an “Endearing Home and a Global City”. This Award was established in 2011 to recognise outstanding R&D efforts within the MND Family. For the first time this year, MND extended the award to external partner agencies who have also contributed towards its vision. This year’s winners are:
a. HDB’s project, “Creating a Sustainability Living Laboratory along a Waterway in Punggol”, was awarded the Distinguished Award for creating a living laboratory for innovations and green technologies, as well as realising a sustainable living environment in Punggol Eco Town for residents to enjoy.
b. BCA’s project with SamWoh Corporation Pte Ltd as a key partner, “From waste to high value construction material - the first building in the region using 100 per cent Recycled Concrete Aggregate” was awarded the Merit Award for promoting the use of recycled waste materials, and setting an international benchmark for sustainable construction.
c. NTU’s project, “Integration of novel forward osmosis membranes and optimized bioprocess for water reclamation” was awarded the Merit Award for its innovative and energy efficient approach to water reclamation.
Source: Ministry of National Development