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VTT & A*StAR to establish R&D partnership for collaborative research

Singapore & Finland research agencies to ink MOU adding a boost to infocomms & media technologies related R&D

VTT signed an MOU with A*STAR’s (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) to promote R&D and scientific collaboration between Singapore and Finland. The MOU signing ceremony was witnessed by the Finnish Minister for Trade and Industry, Mauri Pekkarinen and his Singaporean counterpart, Mr Lim Hng Kiang. The MOU was signed by Prof Lye Kin Mun (Deputy Executive Director, I2R); Dr Lim Ser Yong (Executive Director, SIMTech) and Mr Erkki KM Leppävuori (President, VTT); Dr Jouko Suokas (Executive Director, VTT). The MOU sets the framework for all collaborative projects between A*STAR and VTT over the next three years.

“We envisage this MOU between the A*STAR Research Institutes and VTT will lead to the vibrant exchange of scientific ideas and talents; to realize joint scientific projects, technology transfer, commercialization of research and manpower training – for a win-win partnership, to meet the challenge of bringing new skills and technologies to the Infocomm cluster,” said Prof Chong Tow Chong, Executive Director of the Science and Engineering Council, A*STAR.

The MOU between A*STAR and VTT today, is a natural outgrowth of a joint seminar on Infocomms Media Technology (ICMT), held in Oct 2005 at the Biopolis. Jointly organized by A*STAR, VTT and Tekes, and facilitated by the Finnish Embassy in Singapore, the seminar themed "Future Intelligent Homes and Office Enabled by Infocomms technologies" was well attended by members of the research and business community. The seminar was graced by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister for Community, Youth Development & Sports and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, and Ms Mari Kiviniemi, Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Researchers, scientists and engineers from VTT, I2R and SIMTech will be collaborating on R&D projects, focusing on infocomms technology (ICT) in the areas of healthcare, digital entertainment as well as sensor technologies. In the area of ICT in healthcare, A*STAR and VTT, will be working closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to develop technologies for real-time monitoring of patients’ health parameters such as blood pressure, blood sugar level and heart-rate, that will allow monitoring over communication networks on a real-time basis. Such research could create a paradigm shift in healthcare, where health monitoring becomes more affordable, convenient, comfortable and safe.

In addition, there will be exploratory studies conducted on the potential synergies between Fusionpolis and Forum Virium Helsinki – a Finnish business development forum that seeks to develop a ‘knowledge cluster’ to incubate innovative ideas into successful businesses, for both domestic and international markets. The teams will study the potential to cooperate and develop synergies between Fusionpolis and Forum Virium Helsinki as partners for infocomms and media technologies hubs.

In the morning of Jan 20th 2006, researchers and scientists from A*STAR and VTT will be holding a joint workshop to discuss in detail, the projects for collaboration under the umbrella terms of the MOU.

“Singapore and Finland have much in common, in terms of R&D focus areas and our commitment to invest in the necessary infrastructure and human capital for R&D. We hope that the MOU between A*STAR and VTT is a foundation that we can build upon for other areas of cutting edge research,” said Mr Erkki KM Leppävuori (President, VTT).

This MOU will add a boost to the efforts of the infocomms cluster and industry in Singapore by laying the foundation for the exchange of scientific ideas and talents between both countries – to realize joint scientific projects, technology transfer, commercialization of research and manpower training. This is timely as the infocomms media and technology industry is a gazetted key area for development and growth for Singapore, and because Finland is particularly strong in innovation and wireless communications, therefore. According to the Infocomm Development Authority’s (IDA) Annual Survey on Infocomm Industry 2004, the total revenue of Singapore's infocomm industry was $34.77 billion, registering a growth from $32.83 billion in 2003. This represented a growth rate of 6%, an improvement compared to the 2% growth in 2003.



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Olli Ernvall
Communications Director
+358 20 722 6747