Singapore govt to make first grant call for land and liveability fund by end-2013

Olivia Siong Channel NewsAsia 27 Jun 13;

SINGAPORE: The government will be making its first grant call for the Land and Liveability National Challenge (L2 NIC) by the end of the year.

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi-Shyan on Thursday at this year's Urban Sustainability Research and Development Congress.

He said the first competitive call for research and development (R&D) proposals will be made at the end of the year and will allow researchers to begin tapping on the fund.

A total of S$135 million has been approved for the first six years of the programme.

The initiative was announced last year and is a long-term, multi-agency effort.

It is meant to fund R&D projects that enhance liveability, environmental quality, land creation and land savings.

The projects will need to have high potential for practical implementation.

Some of the initial research and development focus areas include creating new underground spaces and achieving high standards of liveability even in high-density towns.

Separately, four projects have been selected to receive research grants under the Ministry of National Development's Sustainable Urban Living programme. The projects will receive S$8 million.

They are among the first to be selected since the programme's inaugural grant call was launched in August last year.

These projects cover areas of underground construction and land reclamation technology.

The programme aims to provide nearer-term seed funding for R&D on urban solutions in land and liveability.

- CNA/fa

Future living ideas: Going underground
Subterranean goods mover, science city mooted for $135m R&D kitty
Kash Cheong Straits Times 28 Jun 13;

INSTEAD of containers being driven out on trucks, a new underground transportation system may be doing the job when the new "Tuas megaport" opens.

A seamless underground goods mover system could connect the port to nearby warehousing facilities when it is expected to be operational in around 10 years.

This is one "land and liveability" idea being looked at by the Government, among several it may consider for a share of $135 million in research and development funding over the next five years.

Another is 2West, a mixed-used township being looked into by JTC Corporation, which integrates residential, industrial and research uses in areas such as CleanTech Park, Nanyang Technological University and Tengah- which could be linked by underground networks.

"We face the continuous challenges of creating more usable space and optimising the use of land to support future growth," said Ministry of National Development (MND) deputy secretary Tay Kim Poh.

"By seeking innovation to overcome common challenges, Singapore can pioneer the development of practical, scalable and replicable urban solutions that can benefit our long-term future as well as other cities."

He was speaking at Singapore's Urban Sustainability Research and Development Congress at Biopolis yesterday.

The underground goods mover system - still in an exploratory phase - would reduce traffic congestion on roads and free up land space for other uses, Mr Tay said.

It could work by using automated systems or self-driven cars.

Other ideas include the development of sensors to remotely monitor the health of the elderly and an enhanced use of data to provide better municipal services and traffic management. Researchers might also be working in an underground science city in Kent Ridge.

Firms and institutions will competefor funding under the National Innovation Challenge on Land and Liveability (L2NIC), announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last year.

The first official grant call for projects will be made by the end of this year, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan said yesterday.

Government agencies have talked to researchers and industry players, sought out potential concepts and established areas where more research and development is needed.

The L2NIC team has identified four key research areas: Creating underground spaces, optimising land use, creating liveable community-centred cities and use of technology for intelligent decision making.

MND has also awarded $8 million in research funds under the Sustainable Urban Living fund to four projects.

These include one that uses excavated soil to create greener underground carpark walls. "It is more cost-effective. We can use excavated soil to build, we can grow plants on carpark walls so they don't look like only concrete," said Mr Alan Tan, senior principal architect from the Housing Board.

Additionally, the MND has earmarked $25 million for new R&D into green technologies, Mr Lee said.

He also gave out the Minister for National Development R&D Awards yesterday, which recognised innovative projects. HDB's Punggol Waterway clinched the top prize for providing green living spaces along a waterway.

Two other projects - one which turns waste concrete into construction material and another which increases energy efficiency in water reclamation - won merit awards.