Franco-Singaporean laboratories and bilateral scientific agreements

For 15 years, Franco-Singaporean relations have been on the rise following the development of scientific research in Singapore. During the last 10 years, Singapore has seen the creation of four UMIs (International Mixed Units) out of the six UMIs and one LIA (International Associated Laboratory) in Southeast Asia. Numerous other projects are ongoing or being created and many internationally well-known French scientists work in Singapore, whether on a long- or short-term basis. It is estimated that more than 100 French researchers are now living in Singapore and this number is increasing every year.

Since 2014, the regional office of the CNRS (the French National Center for the Scientific Research) for ASEAN is based in Singapore, showing the importance of scientific cooperation between France and Singapore.

In 2014, a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the French National Agency for Research (Agence Nationale de la Recherche or ANR) and its Singaporean counterpart, the National Research Foundation (NRF) to fund Franco-Singaporean collaborative research projects. The first call for projects is launched in the second half of this year and will focus on topics such as materials, nanotechnologies and nanosystems. Selected projects will be funded for three years, by the ANR and NRF for up to €250,000 and S$430,000 respectively.

 International Mixed Units (UMI)

UMI IPAL – Image Pervasive Access Lab

IPAL is a Singapore-based Franco-Singaporean joint research laboratory created in 1999, to focus research on the indexing of images by their content and the analysis of signal processing. IPAL became a UMI of the CNRS in 2007 and renewed its status for four more years from February 2011.

IPAL counts six different partners : from Singapore, the NUS (National University of Singapore) and A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research); from France, the CNRS, “Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble)”, “Institut Télécom” and UPMC (Paris). The last two partners came on board in February 2011.

IPAL’s research focuses on :

• BMIU - BioMedical Image Understanding, targeting semantic, cognitive exploration of biomedical images as system biology modeling for prognosis and healthcare,

• PAWM - Pervasive Access and Wellbeing Management, focusing on ambient intelligence dedicated to ageing and dependent people.

For further information :

UMI CINTRA – CNRS International-NTU-Thalès Research Alliance

CINTRA is a Franco-Singaporean international joint laboratory with three major partners, namely the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Institute for Engineering and Systems Science (Nanyang Technological University (NTU)) and Thalès, the French electronics giant and global leader in aerospace, space, defense, security and transportation.

CINTRA’s focus is on nanopackaging, multifunctional materials & devices, and microwave photonics.

CINTRA is developing new technologies to better integrate electronics and photonics to put to greater advantage its combined expertise and to better respond to technological challenges of the future in communications, computer and sensor sciences.

For further information :

UMI BMC² - BioMechanics of Cellular Contacts Lab

This new UMI was created in 2014, having been converted from the former International Associated Laboratory (LIA) CAFS (Cell Adhesion France-Singapore). This UMI was jointly established by the CNRS and the National University of Singapore (NUS)’s Mechanobiology Institute of Singapore, a Centre of Excellence funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Mechanobiology is the study of the mechanics of cell-substrate and cell-cell contact at the molecular, cellular and tissue level. The UMI uses an interdisciplinary and multi-scale approach to understand the coupling between the mechanics, the spatial organisation of proteins and the biological properties of cell contacts.

UMI Merlion MajuLAB

This laboratory was also created as an UMI in 2014, evolving from its former status as the LIA FSQL (France-Singapore Quantum Physics and Information Laboratory). It involves four partners : the CNRS, the university Sophia Antipolis, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

This new UMI will leverage the strengths and capabilities of the laboratory partners and bring together different research groups from NUS and NTU to conduct advanced and interdisciplinary research in a wide range of areas, including quantum physics, quantum information, quantum computing, 2D materials and soft condensed matter, nanoscale physics and laser physics.

 International Associated Laboratory (LIA)

An LIA is a “laboratory without walls” and is not a legal entity. It consists of the association of a CNRS-affiliated laboratory and a laboratory from another country. These laboratories pool together human and material resources towards a common, jointly-defined project designed to add value to their individual pursuits. An LIA agreement is for 4 years and may be renewed once.

The Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) was opened in 2008 with a funding of €80 M for five years. Since then, strong cooperation with France in the area of immunology was built up, thanks in part to Professor Philippe Kourilsky, SIgN’s past Executive Director.

In May 2009, an Associate International Laboratory conducting research work on malaria was set up in collaboration with the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). It involved a French team headed by Dr. Dominique Mazier from France, a Singaporean team led by French scientist, Dr. Laurent Rénia, and another team from the university Pierre et Marie Curie. Dr Laurent Renia was officially named Executive Director of SIgN in 2014, thus further reinforcing ties with France.

To learn more about it,

SONDRA (Supélec ONERA NUS DSO Research Alliance) is a joint laboratory, established in 2004, involving ONERA, Supélec (Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité - France), National University of Singapore (NUS) and DSO, Singapore’s research agency for defense. This laboratory, based in France, is focused on advanced electromagnetic concepts and radar technologies.

To learn more about it,

 Research agreements


In October 2012, the Energy Research Institute at the Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) and the “Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)” signed a collaboration agreement to share their respective expertise.

To learn more about it, click here.


In December 2012, the Institute of Service Excellence (ISES) at the Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Institute for Strategic Innovation and Services at the ESSEC Business School concluded an agreement to further exchange and cooperation opportunities in teaching and research in areas such as: the development of executive education programmes, the exchange of information for research, and the planning and organisation of international study trips.

To learn more about it, click here.

Rouen University – BTI, A*STAR

In February 2013, the Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) of A*STAR and the “Université de Rouen” signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pave the way for the establishment of an International Associated Laboratory.

To learn more about it, click here.

Sorbonne Paris Cité – NUS

The Université Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Alliance has been designed in 2013 with the objective of fostering new collaborations in higher education and research between Europe and Southeast Asia. Three calls for proposals are being launched in 2014 to fund joint research initiatives, graduate and doctoral student mobility and innovative projects in higher education.

To learn more about it, click here.

Paris Dauphine University - SMU

In April 2014, the “Université Paris-Dauphine” and the Singapore Management University (SMU) signed an agreement to launch an academic international alliance; the first of its kind. This partnership unites two renowned universities who share the same approach in education and research in the Social Sciences and Management fields.

To learn more about it, click here.

Pôle Eau Montpellier – PUB

Singapore’s national water agency (PUB), the Singapore Water Association (SWA), and the Innovation Competitive Cluster (Pôle de Compétitivité EAU à vocation mondiale) and the Association of Water Companies of Languedoc-Roussillon (SWELIA ), both from Montpelier in France, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 23 September 2014. It sets the guidelines to explore the various ways that scientific and technological co-operation can be achieved in research and development, applied research and training, and other projects.

To learn more about it, click here.

There are also many research collaborations involving French companies, such as GDF-Suez, EDF, Veolia, PSA, Total, Alstom, Airbus Group etc. working with local partners to develop the technologies of tomorrow.

 Call for proposals

 Merlion programme

The Merlion Programme is a joint Franco-Singaporean collaboration that encourages new scientific research development and the creation of joint laboratories through the funding of exchanges of scientists.
There are three different funding opportunities :

- Merlion Project

This programme finances (for 2 years) projects that correspond to the Scientific Department’s main research priorities in certain domains. All projects are evaluated independently.

The funds allocated are not meant for the research work itself; rather they are used for logistical purposes e.g. to finance the exchanges of researchers involved in the projects.

- Merlion PhD

A spinoff of the classic Merlion Programme, the Merlion Ph.D finances the stays in France of selected doctoral students who do their thesis while alternating between a Singapore- and France-based institution.

- Merlion Workshop

This programme allows a French and a Singaporean laboratory to co-organise a workshop based on a common theme, either in France or in Singapore.

To learn more about it, click here.

 Call for proposal ANR - NRF

The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the French National Research Agency (ANR) signed an agreement on 30th May 2014 to foster scientific cooperation between France and Singapore.

This agreement established a new joint funding research scheme : teams may apply to a call for proposals in which funding of up to €500,000 based on an equal contribution from each country will be provided to selected basic research projects over 3 years. A strong synergy and true added value of international cooperation will be expected from the projects.

For further information, click here.

 BIO Asia

This program aims to support scientific projects in the biological sciences with a partner from France and at least two other ASEAN countries. The funding goes to finance the scientists’ mobility.

To learn more about it, click here.

[ STIC Asia

This program aims to support scientific projects in the area of information technology and communication, with a partner from France and at least two other ASEAN countries. The funding goes to finance the scientists’ mobility.

To learn more about it, click here.

 Scientific Reporting

A collection of articles and reports in French about science and technological activities in Singapore and Franco-Singaporean cooperation is available online for free.

• Electronic bulletins in French. To subscribe for free :

• Science reports in French. To subscribe for free :

Dernière modification : 13/03/2015

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