JANUARY 2023 — Artificial intelligence, robotics, and smart systems are the hallmarks of Industry 4.0 transformation in Singapore. Aimed at optimising and improving processes through cloud systems and automation, this movement is making waves in the agri-tech and sustainability sector here. Application of data science and advances in Internet of Things (IoT) systems bring immense potential to the world of urban farming and agri-tech, and has attracted investments and renewed research interest in this field.
To support innovation and talent development within this evolving environment, RP launched the 3,000 square foot RP-Shimadzu Sustainable Technology & Analytical Research Laboratory (STAR Lab) during RP Open House 2023 with long-term partner Shimadzu (Asia Pacific). Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister of Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, officiated the STAR Lab’s opening on 6 January 2023.
The STAR Lab is the first facility in an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore to have its analytical instruments connected to a cloud-based system. This enables more efficient data analysis and works in conjunction with Shimadzu’s state-of-the-art instruments, which has propriety artificial intelligence that can self-diagnose errors. Staff and students are now also empowered to remotely monitor experiments, collecting and analysing data in real-time.
With such capabilities, the facility plays an instrumental role in developing new analytical methods in areas such as nutrients profiling of agri-food products, specialty chemicals and materials analysis with a sustainable focus.
RP and Shimadzu also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the event. A renewal of a partnership that began in 2019, it represents our collaborative effort to redefine the lab experience and develop innovations in agri-food and other key areas.
Shimadzu plays a key role in providing opportunities for training, staff attachments, and sponsorships. During their internships at Shimadzu, our students are also fortunate to be able to develop and broaden their capabilities in food science, agri-tech and chemical laboratory technology.
Additionally, the MOU establishes collaborative research or other joint projects in the areas of agri-food, nutraceuticals, sustainable materials and specialty chemicals. This expands the possibilities within the industry and enables further innovations employing Shimadzu’s leading-edge technologies.
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister of Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, being shown the equipment and technology at the STAR Lab
RP and Shimadzu will also jointly develop Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses in focus areas like agri-food and sustainable materials. Such courses and programmes help build a skilled workforce that can contribute to the growing agri-tech sector, both through developing future talents and upskilling current employees.
Over 400 PET and CET students from RP School of Applied Science will be trained through the STAR Lab annually, equipping them with industry-ready skills. This builds a robust talent pool, which companies can leverage in key areas such as quality assurance and quality control.
In the same way, RP has also announced two new Pre-Employment Training (PET) programmes focused on nurturing students to become well-rounded professionals amid a constantly-evolving landscape. The two new PET programmes, the Common Arts, Design and Media Programme and the Diploma in Tourism Management with Technology have been introduced in Academic Year 2023. Like the STAR Lab, these programmes play an important part in the journey to a future-ready Singapore workforce.
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Harnessing technology and various means to support industry transformation, RP plays a pivotal role in propelling and contributing to industry partners' transformation plans through upskilling of the workforce, raising operational efficiency, leveraging applied research, and building overseas business networks.
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