Got an idea for better living? Get R&D funding

Ideas for cheaper underground development, cooler housing estates and smart buildings are being sought for two government research funding schemes.

Announcing the grant calls yesterday, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said that Singapore's search continues for innovative solutions to challenges such as climate change and increased population density.

"Research and development can and should play a key role in that endeavour," he said at the opening of this year's Urban Sustainability R&D Congress.

Two funding schemes that support such research are now open for applications.

The multi-agency Land and Liveability National Innovation Challenge, launched in 2013, is making its second call for proposals until Aug 20 this year. Up to $10 million worth of funding is available for each project. This round seeks solutions to three challenges: halving the cost of underground development, reducing the temperature in housing estates, and reducing noise levels in these estates while maintaining natural ventilation.

For smart building ideas, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has launched the first R&D grant call under its Green Buildings Innovation Cluster programme. Potential research areas include sensing tools and analytics to optimise building energy performance.

The BCA has also granted $6 million in funding to four projects under its second Energy Innovation Research Programme grant call for building energy efficiency.

These are for air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems, which form a major part of a building's energy consumption.

Mr Lee also presented the Minister for National Development's R&D Award to four projects.

The Distinguished Award was given to an air dehumidification system that makes air-conditioning more energy-efficient, developed by the National University of Singapore.

The Housing Board received two Merit Awards for a modelling tool used to plan towns and its development of solar energy projects.

A Special Mention was awarded to a National Parks Board project that uses computer modelling to predict how changes in coastal waters affect organisms such as coral larvae.

The two-day congress continues today at Suntec convention centre.

This article was first published on July 10, 2015.
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