6 Oct 2016, PUB Press Release – PUB calls for proposals to develop water technologies

S$25million set aside for novel water solutions, as well as research projects which can be scaled-up and commercialised within the next five years.

Singapore’s national water agency PUB today announced an open Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit new ideas, and develop and translate water technologies under the Competitive Research Programme (Water). Under this RFP, up to S$25million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) could be allocated to fund basic and applied research projects under two tracks. This is in line with efforts to develop water technologies and grow the water industry.

Under the first track, interested applicants can submit proposals for funding of new ideas and technologies that can meet the objectives of increasing water resources, improving water quality and security, and reducing production cost.

The second track, which is being introduced for the first time, is aimed at accelerating the commercialisation and export of water technologies. Under this track, PUB will accept proposals for funding to translate ongoing research into commercial solutions through technology scale-up and validation under real operational conditions.

Technology providers, in collaboration with researchers, can apply for funding to translate a list of 17 research projects in these focus areas: (i) water treatment, seawater desalination and reuse; (ii) used water treatment processes for resource recovery; (iii) industrial water solutions; and (iv) water quality monitoring. These projects should be commercialised within the next five years. Details of the 17 projects that are available for translation support can be found on NRF Research, Innovation and Technology Administration (RITA) website.

Mr Harry Seah, PUB’s Chief Engineering and Technology Officer, said, “PUB is always on the lookout for innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency of water treatment, and ensure a robust and secure supply of water. Through this RFP, we hope to discover and develop new and groundbreaking technologies that can keep our water supply sustainable and affordable.”

In particular, the call for translation proposals aims to encourage researchers and industry technology providers to work closely to build on innovative technology ideas and turn them into actual commercial products. This ensures that the development of these technologies are based on real-life industry challenges and will meet operational needs when they are ready for commercialisation. The industry gains from having more solutions to meet specific industry needs, while technology providers new products and technologies to market and increase their business value.

Local technology provider De.mem is collaborating with a team from NTU headed by Prof Wang Rong to scale up and validate a low-pressure hollow fibre membrane for industrial used water treatment. The membrane can potentially reduce the energy needed, and treat industrial used water cost-effectively. It was developed in the laboratory by Prof Wang and her team, and licensed to De.mem in June this year.

“We see strong potential in the membrane to effectively and affordably treat industrial used water. By working with NTU, we intend to scale up and test the membrane under real-life working conditions, so we can develop a new solution for the industrial water market,” said Mr Andreas Kroell, Chief Executive Officer of De.mem.

“One of the challenges for companies and technology developers is the scaling up of technologies, because of the financial stakes and risks involved. By providing funding support for such translation proposals through the RFP, we therefore hope to work with partners to accelerate the journey from technology conceptualisation to commercialisation for enterprises, contributing to a more vibrant water industry in Singapore,” Mr Seah added.

This RFP is part of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan. In 2006, water was identified as a key growth industry, and funding of $670 million from the NRF has been committed over 15 years (2006 – 2020) to foster leading-edge technologies and create a thriving and vibrant research community in Singapore.

Companies interested in finding out more about the projects that are available for translation partnership and support can find out more at a roadshow to be held on 11 Oct 2016 at the Waterhub Auditorium. Registration for the roadshow closes on 10 Oct 2016.

From 6 October to 8 December 2016, interested applicants can submit a white paper to apply for funding via the RITA White Paper application form on https://rita.nrf.gov.sg/ewi/1601/default.aspx.  For more information on the RFP or to register for the roadshow, please contact Ms Selica Lai at +65 6571 4098 or selica_lai@pub.gov.sg.

For more information, visit https://www.pub.gov.sg/news/pressreleases/PUBlaunchesRequest-for-Proposals(RFP)todevelopandtranslatewatertechnologies

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