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Singapore’s existing S&T relations with Italy

Agreement and P.E.: The bilateral scientific and technological relations between Italy and Singapore are currently regulated by the CST Agreement signed in Singapore on July 30, 1990, ratified by law of March 6, 1996, No. 140. A bilateral agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the Italian Government and the Government of Singapore, which was subsequently signed on May 23, 2016 in Rome and, after parliamentary ratification, entered into force on June 26, 2020.

After a negotiation between the parties lasting over two years, on October 7, 2022, the first call for joint projects was launched, following which 87 projects were received, of which 71 were considered valid by both parties. After the bilateral evaluation procedure, on May 4, 2023, the first Executive Program was signed with the list of 10 projects that will be financed for the 2023-2025 triennium for a total equivalent to about 6 million euros. The topics included are: Artificial Intelligence, Foodtech, Health/Medical (Cancer, Immunology and Skin Research), Hydrogen-related Research, Photonics, Quantum Technology, Robotics.

Recent Institutional Visits: With the end of the pandemic, visits by Italian delegations to Singapore have resumed. Those of the City of Milan in December 2022 on the topic of food waste, a delegation of AIOP (Italian Association of Private Hospitals) in March 2023 with numerous visits to local medical and hospital facilities and that of Prof. Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director of IIT in April 2023 for a collaboration with A*STAR.

Academic and Scientific University Relations: According to the CINECA website, there are currently about 20 agreements in force between Italian universities and their counterparts in Singapore. The relationships with the “Luigi Bocconi” University of Milan are particularly good, which also hosts several students from Singapore. Recently, in 2022, an agreement was signed between NParks and the University of Padua for a collaboration between their respective Botanical Gardens. In addition, in 2022, an agreement was signed between the Guglielmo Marconi Open University and the Lithan Academy within the framework of the digital MoU signed between the two countries.

Scientific relations with research institutes: A possible general agreement between CNR and NTU is under preliminary discussion, and promising contacts have been initiated by researchers from other research institutes such as INFN, CREA and ENEA to develop shared research programs.

Italian companies in S&T: There is strong interest from Italian companies in the S&T sector, especially in electronics, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, IT and telecommunications. The Italian presence in Singapore is strengthening every year. In addition to the historic presence of ST Microelectronics, ENI, Finmeccanica, Leonardo, Saipem, Prysmian (ex Pirelli Cavi) and Perfetti have also joined. The acquisition, in 2011, by Menarini, of the Invida Group, leader in biopharmaceuticals in the Asia-Pacific region, for approximately $220 million USD. ENEL has started the procedures to realize its Innovation Hub. Ferrero has also recently opened a research and innovation center on food. Leonardo has expressed interest in a possible Corporate Lab in NTU.

Italian presence: Singapore is a global attraction pole where a considerable community of scientists and researchers from not only the region but from all over the world operates (a number of Italians is also increasing, even if to a lesser extent than other European countries). Many Italian researchers have reached prestigious positions in local research institutions and universities. A non-exhaustive list of Italian researchers and managerial positions held includes F. Mancini (co-director NUS-LKY school of public policy), E. Cambria (Provost’s Chair in NTU Computer Science and Engineering) , D. Lomanto (Director NUH Minimally Invasive Surgical Center), S. Albani (Director Translational Immunology Center Duke-NUS), E. Petretto (Director Centre for Computational Biology Duke-NUS), M. Alioto (Director NUS Green IC group), D. Campolo (Director NTU Robotic Center), F. Lauro (Director NTU SLIME), A. Romagnoli (Assistant Dean for Innovation and Enterprise NTU), C. Soci (co-Director NTU Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies), G. Pastorin (Assistant Dean Research NUS ), P. Magni (Deputy Dean Murdoch University SG).

In particular, the “Italian Bilateral Cooperation Award” 2023 awarded to Dario Campana and the “Genio Vagante” 2023 award awarded to Erik Cambria are noteworthy. In both cases, the research collaborations maintained with Italy were very important.