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A*STAR provides SMEs in Singapore a Headstart in technology licensing

Nurdianah Md Nur | March 11, 2014
The new programme provides royalty-free and exclusive IP licenses for the first 18 months

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is now offering a programme called Headstart to encourage SMEs to use emerging technologies to gain a competitive market advantage.

Under the programme, SMEs that enter a research collaboration agreement (RCA) with A*STAR will enjoy royalty-free and exclusive intellectual property (IP) licenses for the first 18 months. The exclusive use of IP can be further extended at business-friendly terms through Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), A*STAR's technology transfer arm, said A*STAR in a media statement.

"Research and development (R&D) and innovation are key differentiators for our SMEs," said  Philip Lim, Chief Executive Officer of ETPL. "The terms of the Headstart programme were thus specifically tailored to empower SMEs to launch the development of new products and services."

Keen interest in Headstart
The Headstart programme have received keen interest from local enterprises from the electronics, infocomms and precision engineering sectors since September 2013.

One such company is Psiber Data, which designs and manufactures portable test and measurement devices in the communication infrastructure industry. Under an RCA with the researchers from A*STAR's Data Storage Institute, Psiber Data developed a product that is able to identify the connectivity of optical fibre cables as well as the start and termination of the fibre. The tester is also able to provide value-added features such as optical fibre channel link map characterisations, which are yet to be commercially available. With all these features, the tester enables Psiber Data to perform more comprehensive checks to reduce server downtimes for its customers.

According to Arvind Patel, Director for Engineering of Psiber Data, most SMEs require more time to transform technology from R&D into commercially viable products and services. With Headstart, SMEs can simply focus on developing value added features to market and gain traction to increase their competitive advantage.


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