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SMART's Innovation Journey: Transforming Research into Commercial Success

SMART has been at the forefront of advancing research to solve critical problems of societal significance and is a key driver of Singapore’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The SMART Innovation Centre (SMART IC) plays a crucial role in advancing SMART’s goals by identifying and fostering innovative technologies. Through four distinct grant programs, SMART IC offers training and mentorship for faculty and post-doctoral researchers in Singapore, equipping them with the necessary skills to translate research and technology from the laboratory to the marketplace and ultimately ensuring societal impact.

Since 2009, SMART’s Innovation Centre has trained over 300 post-doctorates and researchers, who have since launched 56 companies and created over 3,300 high-impact jobs in the process. Some of these companies were successful spinoffs from SMART’s interdisciplinary research groups,  including biotech companies such as AIM Biotech and Thrixen, autonomous vehicle software company nuTonomy, integrated circuit company nsc, and more.

nsc is an integrated circuit design company providing solutions that combine higher-performance compound semiconductors in integrated silicon circuit designs to create chips that enable industries to deliver new innovations in product, system and software design. “SMART is a unique place where big ideas and big visions can be explored,” said Fayyaz Singaporewala, SMART Alumni and the CEO and Co-founder of nsc. “At SMART LEES IRG, the complete integration of silicon and compound semiconductors was achieved, and through this breakthrough research, as well as the support of SMART Innovation Centre, nsc was born. Through the SMART innovation process, we learnt not to follow some predetermined outcomes. Staying true to this process allowed us to navigate through many challenges, including manufacturing parts and even customer interactions.”

Thrixen, a biotech company, created a set of proprietary technologies that revolutionise biomarker detection and rapid assay generation, which enables the development of simpler, faster, and more affordable diagnostic solutions. Shavit Clein, CEO of Thrixen, added, “SMART played a key role in helping us to spin off the company and work towards commercialising the products that we were developing. For us, it is key to be able to connect with government regulators and other industry bodies in order to be able to progress and commercialise our products, something that we would not have been able to do without SMART’s support.”

“At SMART, we're driven by a single purpose: tackling critical societal challenges through groundbreaking research and innovation, and our Innovation Centre plays a vital role in this mission,” said Eugene Fitzgerald, CEO and Director of SMART. “By fostering a culture of exploration and providing the support and resources needed, we empower researchers and faculty, within SMART and from other institutions, to translate their discoveries into real-world solutions. The journeys of countless SMART-backed startups are a testament to the impact we can achieve together. We're not just shaping Singapore's innovation ecosystem; we're helping to bring ideas and research to life and make a difference globally."

“The SMART Innovation Centre is a key player in accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in Singapore. We identify promising new technologies with the potential to solve real-world challenges. By nurturing their development and empowering researchers with mentorship and financial and strategic support from early stages, we fast-track their path to commercialisation. This fosters a more efficient problem-solving landscape and ensures scientific breakthroughs translate into impactful solutions that address societal issues of pivotal importance,” Brian Yen, Innovation Centre Director.

Empowered by SMART, these start-ups have revolutionised and shaped various industries and contributed to the betterment of pressing societal issues. In collaboration with our dedicated partners, researchers, and institutions, SMART is committed to driving research and innovation, and transforming innovative technologies towards commercialisation to bring significant societal impact in Singapore and beyond.


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