Singapore establishes national consortium for clinical research, innovation

Amanda Gerla

Singapore has brought together five Ministry of Health-led research and development, clinical translation, and service initiatives under one umbrella group called the Consortium for Clinical Research and Innovation.

This comprises the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI), the National Health Innovation Centre Singapore (NHIC), Advanced Cell Therapy and Research Institute Singapore (ACTRIS), Precision Health Research Singapore (PRECISE), and Singapore Translational Cancer Consortium (STCC).

Based on a press statement, CRIS aims to “build networks and collaborations for regional clinical trials, perform cost-effectiveness assessments for healthcare interventions, and foster industry engagement” to fulfil its vision of nurturing and building capabilities and innovation in clinical research and translation for Singapore.


Dr Danny Soon, the consortium’s CEO, said it was just about time to bring together the said government initiatives under one roof as Singapore’s basic science capabilities and talent base have begun to mature with research initiatives gaining ground.

CRIS, he said, seeks to ensure a “unity of mission” across their respective programmes and synergise their capabilities, scientific resources, and industry engagement.

“This way, we stay relevant and aligned to the needs of Singapore patients, healthcare system, and researchers, and build long-term sustainability for these efforts,” he added.


Lately, there have been industry partnerships formed which intend to advance healthcare research and expand the use of advanced health technologies.

In November last year, SingHealth and Singapore Innovate signed a three-year partnership to advance the development and adoption of AI and other emerging tech for enhancing diagnostics, treatment, healthcare delivery and clinical outcomes across Singapore. They will focus on advancing AI thought leadership; supporting the growth and innovation of health and biomedical startups; and building a health innovation talent pool.

Last month, SingHealth signed another partnership with National Supercomputing Centre Singapore and NVIDIA. Their collaboration will facilitate high-value medical research using supercomputers, advanced software, and AI tool for enhancing clinical outcomes and patient care.

Alongside the recent CRIS launch, SCRI, a part of the consortium, disclosed that it will be collaborating with local health tech firm Oncoshot for Project EISE (Enhanced Clinical Trial Initiation, Screening and Enrolment), which seeks to address key challenges in clinical trial screening and enrolment for public healthcare institutions.

SCRI will be delivering access to information regarding oncology patient populations, as well as aggregated insights based on the latest and anonymised patient data from Oncoshot’s network of public and private health facilities.

Moreover, ACTRIS, another member of the consortium, is launching a professional certificate course on the principles and practice of cell therapy in tandem with the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. 


Commenting on the CRIS launch, Chairman John Lim said: “With Singapore pivoting to a ‘Healthier SG’ strategy, focusing on community and preventive care, CRIS will support MOH’s national priorities by identifying impactful health-tech innovation through NHIC, supporting preventive health through [the] appropriate implementation of precision medicine at PRECISE, gleaning a good understanding of cost-effectiveness in cancer and cell therapies at STCC and ACTRIS, and promoting an efficient environment for relevant clinical trials through SCRI. In this way, CRIS aims to keep Singapore at the forefront of clinical and translational research innovation while actively advancing the sustainability, affordability and quality of Singapore’s healthcare system”.

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