Qatar and Singapore Join Forces in Historic Innovation Challenge at SWITCH 2023

The Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation Council and Enterprise Singapore have launched the Qatar – Singapore Joint Innovation Challenge (QSJIC) during SWITCH 2023, signifying a historic moment in global innovation collaboration. The initiative calls for innovative solutions in areas like energy, sustainability, and insurtech and aims to foster partnerships between Qatar and Singapore.

2 November 2023 – The Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council and Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) have unveiled a groundbreaking collaboration known as the Qatar – Singapore Joint Innovation Challenge (QSJIC). This landmark initiative was launched during the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) held from October 31 to November 2, 2023, signifying a pivotal moment in global innovation and technology advancement. The announcement was graced by the presence of His Excellency Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Singapore, Saoud bin Jassim Al Jufairi.

Three prominent entities – the Qatar Company for Airport Operation and Management (MATAR), Qatar Insurance Co. (QIC) Digital Venture Partners, and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MoECC) – have presented seven distinct problem statements. These statements call for fresh ideas and solutions from Singapore-based companies, focusing on critical areas such as energy, sustainability, and insurtech.

SWITCH, the flagship conference organized by EnterpriseSG, stands as Asia’s foremost startup festival, acting as a pivotal hub for deep tech. It champions the growth of Singapore’s startup and innovation ecosystem, fostering conversations and collaboration among global business and tech leaders.

Established in 2018, the QRDI Council’s mandate is to steer national-level research, development, and innovation (RDI) initiatives in alignment with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022). Under the banner of QRDI 2030, the council aims to cultivate a locally empowered, globally connected RDI ecosystem, uniting government, academia, and industry leadership to shape Qatar’s social and economic future. Its members encompass distinguished figures from government, academia, and industry on both national and international scales.

Ms. Nada Al-Olaqi, RDI Program Director of the QRDI Council, expressed her excitement about the partnership, stating, “Our participation in SWITCH marks a significant milestone in the QRDI Council’s journey. We are thrilled to collaborate with Enterprise Singapore in launching the Qatar-Singapore Joint Innovation Challenge, offering valuable opportunities for Singaporean companies to present their innovations to Qatari entities. This initiative underscores our commitment to fostering innovation and growth in Qatar while reinforcing global partnerships.”

In conjunction with EnterpriseSG and SWITCH, the QRDI Council actively engaged in a market access panel and networking session with businesses, providing a platform for innovative concepts to evolve into actionable solutions. The initiative kicked off with a thought-provoking panel discussion centered around the Qatar-Singapore Joint Innovation Challenge (QSJIC). Dr. Francis Yeoh, Senior Advisor to QRDI Council, skillfully moderated the session, engaging with the challenge owners of QSJIC – MATAR and MoECC.

This insightful discourse set the stage for a subsequent Networking Session aptly named ‘Bridging Innovations: Qatar – Singapore Joint Innovation Challenges.’ Here, Singaporean solution providers had the opportunity to directly interact with Qatari entities, gaining a deep understanding of their innovation requirements. The innovative minds of Singapore’s vibrant startup community were encouraged to propose feasible solutions, nurturing collaboration between Qatar and Singapore while highlighting the limitless potential of open innovation.

Mr. G. Jayakrishnan, Executive Director for South Asia, Middle East & Africa at EnterpriseSG, noted, “The joint innovation call will further deepen innovation collaboration between Qatar and Singapore. Singapore companies possess relevant expertise in energy, environmental sustainability, and insurtech, and we are confident that they can be effective partners in developing solutions and products that contribute to Qatar’s sustainable development goals.”

Winners of the QSJIC will have the opportunity to embark on pilot projects with the three challenge statement owners and will receive solution development support of up to SGD150,000 each.

Author: Terry KS

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