Singapore Science Park

The building of Singapore Science Park is a state-driven attempt to attract global research and development (R&D) corporations.1 It houses more than 300 multinational corporations, local companies and national institutions. The park is complemented by lifestyle amenities, business support facilities and networking activities.2 Run by Ascendas-Singbridge Private Limited, the park is situated along Singapore’s Technology Corridor, near key research institutions, national agencies and technology start-ups.3

Research and development master plan
In 1979, Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) outlined a national R&D programme in its master plan to build a science complex to promote industrial growth.4 The building of the complex was modelled after those in California’s Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.5 About 70 percent of the staff would be scientists, engineers, economists and accountants.6 According to the master plan, the University of Singapore would be involved in setting up the complex.7

Science Park 1
In April 1981, the site was cleared for phase 1 development of the science park.8 It was next to the Kent Ridge campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS), along the Ayer Rajah Expressway.9 The cost for phase 1 was estimated to be about S$90 million, and construction was expected to be completed within two years.10 Buildings were restricted to no taller than 150 m or more than four storeys, so as not to dominate the rolling landscape. The plan was to have a park-like effect with open space, many trees and no fences.11

To attract technology companies to the science park, the government offered generous tax incentives and grants for R&D.12 These included double deduction for R&D operating expenditure, investment allowances of up to 50 percent of the capital investment in R&D, and accelerated depreciation over three years for all plant and machinery for R&D.13 Det Norske Veritas, the first firm to be admitted to the park, applied for these incentives.14

The park opened on 17 January 1984, after a six-month delay in construction.15 Only 30 percent of the 25 ha set aside for phase 1 had been taken up then.16

In 1991, Science Park 1 achieved full occupancy with Fortune 500 companies as tenants, such as Dupont, Fujitsu and Union Carbide.17 The full occupancy was in part due to competitive rentals and 30-year land lease rates. The tenants were also attracted by the park’s close proximity to the NUS and National University Hospital, which fostered synergy between research communities within the area.18

The 30-hectare Science Park 1 has 21 buildings. In 1995, The Rutherford, a S$53 million facility, was launched. The four-storey, high-technology facility offers 22,000 sq m of research space for industries such as aeronautical engineering, biotechnology, chemical technology, laser technology, microelectronics, software development and telecommunications.19

Science Park 2
Clearing of the land designated for the phase 2 development started in 1985.20 In 1992, the National Science and Technology Board and JTC formed a new company called Singapore Science Park Private Limited, which would develop the remaining phases of the science park.21 In 1990, JTC invested in Singapore Science Park and Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park to form Technology Parks as a wholly owned subsidiary to oversee development of the park.22 Technology Parks was also the master consultant to the S$291 million Science Park 2, which covers 20 ha of land along Buona Vista and Pasir Panjang roads.23

Opened in 1996, the Innovation Centre in Science Park 2 offers common facilities for technology firms starting up in R&D.24 In 1997, Technology Parks was renamed as Arcasia Land, which took over the running of the park.25 Science Park 2 was completed in 2001.26

In 2002, among the 270 companies in Science Parks 1 and 2, the largest sector was information technology (41 percent), followed by life sciences (12 percent), telecommunications (7 percent), electronics (7 percent), chemicals (7 percent), manufacturing and engineering technology (5 percent), food, flavours, fragrance (3 percent) and others (18 percent).27

Further development
A 13-hectare plot of land was set aside in 1993 for the development of phase 3, and another 49 ha for further development. When fully completed, the science part was projected to cost S$226 million and span 121 ha.28 In 2000, to nurture start-ups, the Innovation Centre offered a 50 percent rental waiver for an equity stake.29 In the same year, Arcasia invested S$600m in Science Park 3.30

In 2001, Arcasia Land merged with JTC International’s Business Parks and Facilities Group to form Ascendas, which took over the running and development of the park.31 Since 2015, the park has been run by Ascendas-Singbridge, a merger between Ascendas and Singbridge.32

On its 25th anniversary in 2007, the science park received S$400 million to add 87,000 sq m of space.33 In 2017, the science park participated in Singapore’s first large-scale electric-car sharing programme as one of the sites offering charging stations.34 In the same year, NUS Enterprise and Ascendas-Singbridge jointly set up NUS Enterprise@Singapore Science Park, a 5,000-square-foot space for incubating deep-technology companies. The facility also housed a prototyping studio providing access to technologies, talents and startups from the NUS.35

Neo Tiong Seng

1. Su-Ann Mae Phillips and Henry Wai-chung Yeung, “A Place for R&D? The Singapore Science Park,” Urban Studies 40, no. 4 (2003): 707–32. (From JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website)
2. “Discover Singapore Science Park,” Singapore Science Park, accessed 21 November 2018.
3. “About Us,” Singapore Science Park,” accessed 21 November 2018.
4. Soh Tiang Keng, “JTC Outlines Master Plan,” Straits Times, 18 September 1979, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Soh, “JTC Outlines Master Plan.”
6. Soh, “JTC Outlines Master Plan.”
7. Soh, “JTC Outlines Master Plan.”
8. “Work to Clear Site for Science Park Underway,” Straits Times, 17 April 1981, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Lillian Chew, “Science Park Opening Today,” Straits Times, 17 January 1984, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
10. “Phase I – Expected to Be Ready in Two Years,” Straits Times, 4 March 1982, 36. (From NewspaperSG)
11. “Phase I – Expected to Be Ready in Two Years.”
12. “Promotion of R and D Important Part of Industrial Programme,” Straits Times, 4 March 1981, 13. (From Newslink via NLB’s eResources website)
13. “More Perks to Boost R and D Activities Here,” Straits Times, 5 November 1980, 29. (From Newslink via NLB’s eResources website)
14. “Work to Clear Site for Science Park Underway.”
15. Chew, “Science Park Opening Today.”
16. Chew, “Science Park Opening Today.”
17. Wong Leong Mein, “Science Park Enjoys Full Occupancy in First Phase,” Straits Times, 2 August 1991, 47. (From NewspaperSG)
18. Wong, “Science Park Enjoys Full Occupancy in First Phase.”
19. “JTC Unit Launches Science Park Facility,” Straits Times, 5 October 1994, 39. (From NewspaperSG)
20. “JTC Takes Over Site of Army Base for Science Park,” Straits Times, 21 January 1985, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
21. “New Joint-Venture Firm to Develop the Science Park,” Straits Times, 11 April 1992, 47. (From NewspaperSG)
22. Linda Chee, “Ascendas ‘Most Definitely a Commercial Entity’,” Business Times, 18 January 2002, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
23. “JTC Unit Launches Science Park Facility”; “Republic Takes Big Step towards Becoming a ‘Technology City’,” Straits Times, 15 October 1993, 44. (From NewspaperSG)
24. “Centre for Firms Starting Up in R&D Opens in Science Park II,” Business Times, 3 December 1996, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
25. Chee, “Ascendas ‘Most Definitely a Commercial Entity’.”
26. Singapore Science Park, “About Us.”
27. Chang Ai-Lien, “Biotech Buzz at the Singapore Science Park,” Straits Times, 19 October 2002, 21. (From NewspaperSG)
28. Tan Sung, “Govt to Embark on Phase Two Development of Singapore Science Park,” Straits Times, 7 April 1993, 40. (From NewspaperSG)
29. “Equity-for-Rent Scheme to Nurture Start-Ups,” Business Times, 28 January 2000, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
30. Nicholas Fang, “Arcasia Puts $600M in Science Park III,” Straits Times, 21 April 2000, 102. (From NewspaperSG)
31. Chee, “Ascendas ‘Most Definitely a Commercial Entity’.”
32. Yasmine Yahya, “Temasek, JTC Seek Mega Merger of Urban Planning Firms,” Straits Times, 4 September 2014, 1; Cai Haoxiang and Teh Shi Ning, “Four Singapore Urban Planning, Development Firms Complete Mergers,” Business Times, 11 June 2015, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
33. “Science Park to Get Makeover,” New Paper, 22 October 2007, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
34. Adrian Lim, “Large-Scale Electric Car Sharing Scheme Licks Off,” Straits Times, 13 December 2017, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
35. Jacquelyn Cheok, “Up to S$150m Boost for Singapore’s Artificial Intelligence Push,” Business Times, 4 May 2017. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)

The information in this article is valid as of December 2018 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.

Biotechnology research organisations
Business parks--Singapore
Research industrial--Singapore
Singapore Science Park
Research parks--Singapore
Information technology parks--Singapore
Trade and industry

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