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SMART’s new innovation office to launch scientists from bench to business

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Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right), Singapore deputy prime minister and coordinating minister for economic and social policies, learn about a startup at SMART@SGInnovate.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right), Singapore deputy prime minister and coordinating minister for economic and social policies, learn about a startup at SMART@SGInnovate.
Photo: SMART

In tandem with the Singapore’s government launch of SGInnovate — the new agency that connects entrepreneurs with industry mentors, venture capitalists and research talent — Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has launched its new SMART@SGInnovate Office.

Housed within the SGInnovate office, SMART’s new office is a physical extension of the SMART Innovation Center — an entity under the ambit of SMART that models the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. The SMART Innovation Center aims to nurture scientists and engineers so that their innovations can be accelerated to commercialisation. The SMART Innovation Center offers two sets of innovation grants in the areas of physical and biological-oriented science and engineering sometimes called the deep sciences. As a leading innovation center with almost a decade of experience in training startups, SMART’s flagship programs include:

  • SMART Catalyst, a network of trained people who are catalysts with domain knowledge in the deep sciences to help drive projects to company formation and commercial impact;
  • SMART Bootcamp, a three-week entrepreneurship bootcamp for recipients of the SMART Innovation Grant, which teaches the fundamentals of venture building in the deep sciences; and
  • SMART Fellowship, a program aimed primarily at postdocs in the deep sciences to develop a talent group of chief technology officers and chief science officers for deep science-based startup companies.

One of the successful firms that has gone through SMART's startup program include Visenti, a smart water analytics company that was recently acquired by water technology provider Xylem. 

“Singapore has a vibrant entrepreneurial scene which can be enabled further with a stronger ecosystem that ties in all parties at the different levels of innovation, and it is very encouraging that the government has taken the lead in making this a reality, with a strong focus on the finance, energy, and health sectors,” says Howard Califano, director of the SMART Innovation Center. “We are confident that SMART@SGInnovate will be a critical node in the SGInnovate network, serving as a platform for scientists, engineers, and researchers and its partners to co-create new solutions for Singapore and beyond.” 

Daniel Hastings, SMART CEO and director, says: “Propelling scientists and researchers from bench to business take a lot of gumption, tenacity and above all, a network and links to a strong ecosystem. SMART is committed to working in close collaboration with all stakeholders in this ecosystem to make innovative solutions a reality in Singapore and beyond. MIT wants to learn about innovation through the activities of SMART@SGInnovate.”

The SMART Innovation Center is funded through SMART by the National Research Foundation Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program.

Officially launched by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, SG-Innovate aims to take the Singapore startup ecosystem to the next level. To participate in any of the programmes, contact

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