RCA-UMSAThe Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and France’s Ministry of the Armed Forces (MOAF) signed an agreement on 19 April 2023 to establish a Joint Research & Development Laboratory (Joint Lab). The agreement was signed by Mr Chan Heng Kee, MINDEF’s Permanent Secretary (Defence) and Dr Emmanuel Chiva, Chief Executive of the French Directorate General of Armaments. This is the first Joint Lab in Singapore that MINDEF has established with an overseas country and partner. The Joint Lab is a demonstration of the long-standing and productive defence technology cooperation between both countries, with over two decades of defence Research & Development (R&D) partnerships under the Singapore and France Advanced Research Initiative[1] (SAFARI). Also present at the signing were Her Excellency Minh-di Tang, Ambassador of France to Singapore, Mr Tan Peng Yam, MINDEF’s Chief Defence Scientist, and Major General (Armament) Patrick Aufort, Director of the French Defence Innovation Agency.

defence technology cooperation
The Joint Lab is a demonstration of the long-standing and productive defence technology cooperation between both countries, with over two decades of defence Research & Development (R&D) partnerships under the Singapore and France Advanced Research Initiative (SAFARI).

Steered by MINDEF’s Future Systems and Technology Directorate and the French Defence Innovation Agency, the Joint Lab will take a global and multidisciplinary approach to develop artificial intelligence capabilities for impactful defence applications. The Joint Lab brings together the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Temasek Laboratories @ National University of Singapore (TL@NUS), as the lead agencies who will bring in research expertise from the wider eco-systems of both countries, including institutes of higher learning, research institutes and industry. Examples of potential research include computer vision to monitor image and video feeds for potential threats across varied environmental conditions, AI for geospatial analysis; robust AI for visual recognition to enhance sense-making capabilities, and natural language processing to extract and summarise information for reports and analysis.

Mr Chan Heng Kee, MINDEF’s Permanent Secretary (Defence) said, “Digital and dual-use technologies like AI are rapidly evolving today. MINDEF is expanding our partnerships and networks to utilise these new sources of innovation for defence applications. With the establishment of the Joint Lab, we are deepening our partnership with France. By bringing together leading researchers in Singapore and France, we can accelerate our research to tackle shared security challenges.”

Dr Emmanuel Chiva, Chief Executive of DGA said, “The creation of this joint laboratory marks a milestone in R&D cooperation with the Singapore Ministry of Defence, setting up a major project in the field of Artificial Intelligence. I am pleased to see the realisation of this unprecedented project with Singapore, a long-standing partner.”

Prof Khoo Boo Cheong, Director of TL @ NUS said, “TL @ NUS is honoured to host the first Joint Lab in Singapore that MINDEF has established with an overseas country and partner. We look forward to collaborating with CNRS on the Joint Lab which will combine the rich and extensive AI research expertise from the France and Singapore research eco-systems to develop next-generation defence capabilities.”

Mr Antoine Petit, Chairman and CEO of CNRS, said, “CNRS’ participation in the joint lab builds on its existing strong collaborations in the field of AI, both with academic partners in Singapore, as well as with the Defence Innovation Agency in France. The joint lab will make it possible to explore new research directions, in collaboration with Singaporean partners, focusing on AI topics that have a strong potential for defence applications.”

The establishment of the Joint Lab is part of MINDEF’s continuing efforts to advance our research and technological capabilities through partnerships with like-minded countries.

 

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