SINGAPORE – The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) will be opening the doors of a new research institute, the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI), by the second quarter of 2020.
The research centre will bring together A*Star’s existing capabilities under one roof, build on current collaborations, and better facilitate economic value capture for Singapore’s food ecosystem.
The launch of SIFBI was announced by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week.
In his keynote address, SMS Koh highlighted the importance of agri-food technology and innovation, and securing healthier, safer and more resilient food systems around the world.
For Singapore in particular, investing in agri-food technology serves as an alternative way to feed the nation and achieve its “30 by 30” goal.
It also accelerates the transformation of the food industry, capturing new opportunities in established industries such as advanced manufacturing, specialty chemicals, biopharmaceuticals, and food manufacturing.
A*Star noted that the SIFBI will contribute to Singapore’s goal to be a leading agri-food and nutrition hub.
It will pull together A*Star’s research capabilities in areas such as food structure engineering, biotechnology, agri-food technology and food safety.
In doing so, A*Star said this provides a single touchpoint for industry players who are keen to collaborate in areas such as food, nutrition, public health, biotechnology, manufacturing, agri-food technology, and food safety research.
Dr Ralph Graichen, Senior Director of A*STAR’s Food and Consumer Cluster, said, “Consumers are very emotional to food, so even with innovation and change, it is necessary to communicate with them.
“SIFBI has been established as a collaboration of our expertise internally, so now it’s all under one umbrella, and there will be just one interface point for the F&B industry and public partners to connect with.”
The institute will be staffed by more than 120 research, technical and administrative personnel from various divisions within A*Star, such as the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Biotransformation Innovation Platform, Innovations in Food and Chemical Safety Programme, and Natural Product Library.
SIFBI will also work closely with other research partners in the food ecosystem such as the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Food Agency’s (SFA) National Centre for Food Science (NCFS).