26 April 2019 | Opinion | By Dr. Ralph Graichen
Singapore is in an advantageous position due to its biomedical research background and strong scientific knowledge.
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Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) started in Oct 2008 as Singapore’s first and most comprehensive birth cohort study, aimed at improving healthcare and human potential for present and future generations. Key to Singapore’s transformation as a food and nutrition hub has been the launch of the GUSTO Cohort. The study spans the reproductive years, infancy and childhood to uncover insights into multiple aspects governing general health, including nutrition, body composition, metabolic and neurodevelopmental health, with Asian-specific outcomes. GUSTO is managed by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) and A*STAR in partnership with clinical partners such as NUHS and KKH, and has active collaborations with researchers from New Zealand and the UK, among others.
By bringing together industry experts across the world and providing them with a platform for collaboration, multinational firms were encouraged to establish research and innovation bases in Singapore.
Two further developments – the launch of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre to assess Asian nutrition and interventions, and the Biotransformation Innovation Platform to discover novel sustainable biotechnology to produce high value-added ingredients, spurred the world’s leading ingredient companies to increase their presence in Singapore.
All in all, Singapore is in an advantageous position due to its biomedical research background and strong scientific knowledge. This has been leveraged on to build an international reputation, thus positioning it as a leader in the food and nutrition space.
In order to further grow the ecosystem, we need to be ready to embrace disruptive technologies and continue to nurture our local talent as well as bring in new skill sets relevant to the evolving industry.
Dr. Ralph Graichen, Director, Food and Nutrition, Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)