Singapore Science Park
Comments on article: InfopediaTalk
The Singapore Science Park (SSP) is a hub for research and development (R&D) organisations and companies. Developed by the government through the Jurong Town Corporation in the early 1980s, the SSP is now run by business property developer Ascendas. As of 2011, the park houses more than 350 organisations and is part of Singapore’s “Technology Corridor” with the National University of Singapore, and the one-north and Biopolis R&D hubs nearby.
In the 1970s, the government planned to restructure the Singapore economy for the next decade by moving away from labour-intensive industries towards science- and technology-based industries and knowledge-intensive activities. R&D was identified as a key focus as it had the potential to lead to value-added products, more efficient production processes and provide employment.
The idea of a park for companies and organisations engaged in R&D was conceived in the late 1970s. The SSP was envisioned as an environment that would be a significant step up from existing industrial infrastructure, and one where R&D operations could flourish. The government hoped for the park to become a focal point for R&D in Singapore as well as draw investment and innovation from overseas.
In September 1979, when the park was revealed as part of the Jurong Town Corporation’s (JTC) master plan for the 1980s. The SSP’s location near the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore (NUS)) at Kent Ridge was intended to facilitate interaction between industry and academia, and the park was modeled after R&D complexes at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The SSP also took inspiration from similar parks in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and England, and was described as the most important component of the JTC’s plans for the 1980s.
Development and early years
The SSP was to be developed in four phases, intended to total 115ha of land. Singapore Science Park I (SSP I), located along Ayer Rajah Road with a land area of 30ha, was the first and work started on the site in 1981. The Faraday and Fleming blocks, named after prominent scientists, were starter unit blocks constructed to accommodate smaller firms, while larger organisations such as Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and the National Computing Board leased land for their own buildings.
An admissions committee for the SSP was set up and comprised representatives from the JTC, NUS, Economic Development Board (EDB) and other R&D organisations. The committee controlled admissions to the SSP to ensure that its tenants would be engaged mainly in R&D activities.
DNV became the SSP’s first tenant in 1982, when it set up its S$12 million Marine Technology Centre. Other firms began moving in from the following year, when the Faraday and Fleming blocks were completed. The SSP was officially opened on 17 January 1984 by Minister for Law E. W. Barker, with the opening attended by Crown Prince Harald of Norway. From April 1984, the Singapore Science Council took over administration of the SSP, working together with the JTC and EDB. The Science Council also administered a government tax incentive and grant scheme that encouraged companies to set up in the SSP.
In April 1990, a subsidiary of the JTC, Technology Parks Pte Ltd (now Ascendas), took over management of the SSP as part of a commercialisation exercise. Development on SSP I was complete by July 1995, and the cost of the first phase was estimated at S$226 million. By this time, the park had been developed into around 240,000 sq m2 of R&D space in 21 buildings and housed 4,600 staff from more than 100 organisations. R&D activities centred around the areas of biotechnology and biomedical sciences, information technology and computing, and petrochemicals, chemicals and chemical engineering.
Singapore Science Park II
In mid-1992, the master plan for the second phase of the SSP was released. Singapore Science Park II (SSP II) was sited on a 20.3ha plot of land between Pasir Panjang Road and South Buona Vista Road, and would be jointly owned by the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB, 60%) and the JTC (40%).
With a rise in demand for R&D space in Singapore, developmental work on SSP II began in late 1993, before work on the first phase of the Science Park had been completed. SSP II was estimated to cost S$291 million. In 1994, the Institute of Microelectronics and the Information Technology Institute became the first tenants of SSP II. The park’s first multi-tenant facility, the Alpha, was then completed in February 1995 with the NSTB being its first tenant. In October 1995, Technology Parks acquired its parent company JTC’s 40% stake in SSP II for S$110 million. Development on SSP II was completed in 2001.
By 2002, SSP I and SSP II housed a total of 270 organisations and companies. About 41% of this number were engaged in information technology, with the rest from the chemicals, electronics, food, life sciences, manufacturing and engineering technology, telecommunications and other sectors. The workforce in the two parks totaled around 10,000 people.
Singapore Science Park III
In late 2000, the master plan for the third phase of the SSP was released, with the development of a 15ha area next to the existing SSP at South Buona Vista Road estimated to cost S$600 million. The first building in the third phase of the SSP, the Galen, was completed in June 2002.
In October 2007, Ascendas announced a S$400 million renovation of the SSP, to be carried out in three phases. The first phase of the renovations would add 87,000 sq m2 of space and improve access to green spaces and recreational facilities, with much of the redevelopment involving the 25-year-old SSP I. The other phases would replace older buildings and add newer facilities. In early 2012, the JTC carried out a study into the feasibility of creating an underground complex about 30 storeys beneath the SSP as an extension of the park.
Besides the tailoring of facilities to R&D-related requirements, the SSP is designed to provide an environment conducive for R&D work and to encourage interaction between researchers within its environs. The park includes green spaces, gardens water features, as well as fitness centres, sports facilities, swimming pools, restaurants and other facilities designed for social interaction and relaxation.
Blueprint for Science Park’s Phase II to be ready soon. (1992, April 8). The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Bubbly flow as Science Park opens. (1984, January 18). The Straits Times, p. 48. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Chang, A-L. (2002, October 19). Biotech buzz at the Singapore Science Park. The Straits Times, Home, p. H21. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Cheong, C. (1993). New frontiers: 25 years of the Jurong Town Corporation (pp. 58-59). Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: 338.95957 CHE)
Chew, M. (2000, April 21). Arcasia Land to develop S$600m, 15-ha Science Park III. The Business Times. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from Factiva.
Chng, G. (1987, September 29). Science Park now focus for R & D. The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Ho, Y. N. (2012, January 3). An underground science city in Singapore?. TODAY. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from Factiva.
JTC takes over site of army base for Science Park. (1985, January 21). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Kooi, C. T. (1993, April 7). Science Park phase II to be completed by 2001. The Business Times. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from Factiva.
Liaw, W-C. (2007, October 22). $400m makeover for Science Park. The Straits Times, Home, p.H6 . Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Like a mini-United Nations. (1987, September 28). The Straits Times, Section Two, p. 2. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Long, S. (1998, July 24). Take a break, feed a guppy. The Straits Times, Life!, p. 2. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
$150m to be spent on second phase of Science Park. (1992, June 15). The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Phase I – expected to be ready in two years. (1982, March 4). The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Republic takes big step towards becoming a ‘technology city’. (1993, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Science Council of Singapore. (1987). Window on the future: a status report on the Singapore Science Park. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: 507.05957 WIN)
Science Park’s population up by over 40pc. (1989, November 25). The Business Times. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from Factiva.
Soh, T. K. (1979, September 18). JTC outlines master plan. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Study into rigs for the region. (1984, January 17). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Tan, S. (1993, April 7). Govt to embark on phase two development of Singapore Science Park. The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
Yeo, K. (1994, September 1). Science Park to expand by another 20 ha. The Straits Times, Tech Month 94, p. 4. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2012 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.