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Singapore to form data science consortium

Led by the National Research Foundation, the academic and research group will spearhead adoption of data analytics among Singaporean companies

Singapore will form a consortium of universities and research institutions to deepen its expertise in data science and analytics, as part of its efforts to become the world’s first smart nation.

Led by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the data science consortium – comprising the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research – will facilitate adoption of data analytics and grow a talent pool of data science experts.

Specifically, the consortium – formed in response to a call for Singapore to develop deep capabilities in data analytics – will help companies in the city state to identify and shape their data science problem statements, match them to the relevant universities and conduct data science and analytics workshops.

The NRF said that through the consortium, companies would be able to tap into publicly funded intellectual property to develop new products and services and solve market challenges. The consortium will also work with the Economic Development Board and the Infocomm Media Development Authority to engage companies across the finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, logistics and transport sectors. 

NRF CEO Low Teck Seng said the consortium would bring together public agencies, data scientists and companies in the data science ecosystem to tap into knowledge generated by NRF’s research efforts. “It is through this synergy that we create solutions that have direct relevance to meeting industry needs or in addressing our national challenges,” he said.

Separately, the NRF is also investing up to S$150m (US$107m) over five years in a national programme called AI.SG to enhance adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), not only to solve business problems, but also to address major challenges that affect society and industry, such as greater healthcare demands from Singapore’s rapidly ageing population.

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Bruce Liang, chief information officer at Singapore’s Ministry of Health, said: “Healthcare is currently both a knowledge and human touch-intensive industry. AI could play a big role in supporting prevention, diagnosis, treatment plans, medication management, precision medicine and drug creation.”

To nurture a local AI community, AI.SG will work with startups and corporate laboratories through new facilities that will provide software tools, anonymised datasets and high-performance computing resources.

The NRF said the consortium would work closely with AI.SG to “synergise the use of data in deepening AI technologies and tools, and the use of AI to automate and develop deeper, actionable data science insights”.

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