SG Invests in the Future, including $2.5B for “White Space” Research

Source: Straits Times, Jan 2016

Related Resource: The Edge Markets, Jan 2016

In RIE2020, the budget allocated to “White Space” or new and emerging sectors, has been increased by more than 50% to $2.5 billion from $1.6 billion previously.

Low explains that budgeting for White Space is crucial. For example, when RIE2015 was introduced, cybersecurity was not even an area of interest at all, he recalls.

However, when its importance was quickly recognised, the government was able to allocate funds from the White Space to help set up the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.

It was also be to fund various labs jointly set up by other government bodies like the Infocomm Development Authority and private, international cybersecurity companies, to, say, train more cybersecurity professionals.

Besides cybersecurity, other areas that were funded using “White Space” included marine and offshore as well as satellite technology, says Low.

$0.4 billion will be committed for Services and Digital Economy, which will look at how Singapore can weave together its existing and new IT capabilities as part of the Smart Nation programme. Researchers in this sector will also be looking at how technology will change the nature of some jobs.

For example, smarter machine learning capabilities has given rise to what is known as “AOKW”: automation of knowledge work in areas like finance and legal.

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