Research Focus Areas

The CoT programme was developed by MND Family in conjunction with our partner agencies, with the aim of delivering outcomes in collaboration with the research community and industry partners. CoT’s RIE2025 focus areas will be expanded with new areas of emphasis in light of new drivers and challenges. 5 verticals, and 3 horizontals which represent specialisation in fields that are cross-cutting, have been identified to address key issues of national concerns.

Cities of Tomorrow Programme

The vision and research focus areas for each of the verticals and horizontals are as follows:

(a) Vertical 1 - Advanced Construction

Vision: To achieve a highly productive, integrated and technologically advanced construction sector that can build faster and more sustainably, while optimising limited manpower and resources


Key Research Themes:

  • Additive manufacturing – Advance the use of 3D printing technology for construction in Singapore’s tropical climate and densely populated high-rise environment
  • Robotics and automation – Facilitate robotics deployment and develop technologies to streamline processes such as Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA)
  • Advanced materials for the Built Environment – Develop cost-effective and sustainable construction materials with enhanced materials properties
  • Safe and productive construction – Develop productive innovations to enhance safety and improve construction productivity
  • Advanced project management – Enhance coordination across the construction value chain and optimize resource utilization by leveraging on smart/digital technologies

(b) Vertical 2 - Resilient Infrastructure

Vision: To achieve a robust, flexible and well-maintained city, to ensure our infrastructure remains reliable and cost-effective throughout their lifespan 

Key Research Themes:

  • Building inspection and repair – Enhance traditional inspection and repair methods, to be more productive and cost-effective, such as the use of emerging smart/digital technologies
  • Reliable M&E services – Leverage technology advancement to intelligently and remotely inspect and maintain key M&E services to enhance reliability and durability
  • Advanced building materials to improve maintenance and durability post-occupancy – Develop cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative materials to enhance the durability and performance of building and repair materials

(c) Vertical 3 - New Spaces

Vision: To ensure sufficient space capacity to support Singapore’s continued economic and population growth, yet maintaining a liveable environment through creating and/or maximising underground and sea space

Key Research Themes:

  • Sustainable Land Reclamation Processes – Develop advanced technology through scientific research in reclamation design processes and explore alternative reclamation materials in order to reclaim and maintain reclaimed land more sustainably and productively
  • Innovative Mooring Solutions - Explore feasible designs for innovative solutions and structures to optimise the mooring of bunker barges to reduce the anchorage space used for the mooring of bunker barges and harbour crafts in Singapore’s sea space through pilot trials
  • Cost-effective Underground Construction and Maintenance - Develop more cost-effective and productive construction and maintenance solutions in Singapore’s underground developments
  • Accurate and Detailed Underground Mapping - Develop new mapping methods that can map underground geology and services with higher resolution and depth to guide future underground developments.

(d) Vertical 4 - Greater Sustainability

Vision: To achieve a high quality and sustainable living environment that is inclusive, resource-efficient and adaptive to climate change

Key Research Themes:

  • Built Environment (BE) adaptation to climate change – Adaptation measures to enhance outdoor thermal comfort amidst rising temperatures and protect our coastlines against sea level rise.
  • Enhancing liveability - Develop solutions to mitigate disamenities experienced by residents, improve living environment as well as enhance health and well-being.
  • Support people-centric design and policy making - Develop a social science approach to understand people-to-people as well as people-to-place interactions. This will contribute towards establishing an evidence-based methodology that informs designs and guidelines, enhancing social connectivity and community bonding

(e) Vertical 5 – City in Nature

Vision: To support our national ambition to create a ‘City in Nature’ through enhancing and leveraging natural capital to meet sustainability goals

Key Research Themes:

  • Biodiversity monitoring to improve adaptive management of urban biodiversity – Develop tools and techniques to enhance conservation of native flora, fauna and natural environments, improve biodiversity monitoring and build ecological resilience
  • Safe, productive, and multi-functional greenery – Develop solutions to improve urban greenery operations and management, and its integration with the built infrastructure
  • Managing human-nature relationships – Develop biophilic solutions to improve physical and mental well-being, and enhance monitoring of human-wildlife interactions
  • Nature-based solutions for inland climate change adaptation – Develop nature-based solutions to mitigate, adapt to, and build resilience against climate change

(f) Horizontal 1 - Urban Environment Analytics and Complexity Science

Vision: To deepen capabilities in urban analytics and complexity science, and improve the urban planning process with data-driven tools for evidence based decision making.

Key Research Themes:

  • Evidence-based Urban Planning with Data Analytics, Modelling and Simulation
    • Land Use Activity and Mobility – Enable more integrated and efficient land use-transport modelling to enable continued optimization of land use allocation, travel demand and urban logistics
    • Impact of the Built Environment on Health & Wellbeing – Develop data-driven methodology to quantify relationship between well-being and different aspects of the built environment, and propose urban planning and design solutions to create more liveable neighbourhoods and foster healthy communities
    • Polycentric Development – Simulate impact of future polycentres on existing developments to inform development quantum phasing and related policy and planning decisions
    • Connectivity for People and Ecology – Promote positive user experiences of recreation spaces through data-informed urban planning and design approach, and mitigate negative human-wildlife interactions
  • Complexity Science for Urban Solutions
    • Liveable City: Adaptive and Inclusive Towns for All Ages - Develop planning parameters to strengthen adaptability of the built environment in response to residents’ changing needs and foster more robust community networks
    • Circular Economy for Sustainable Development - Understand the resource flows, networks and interdependency among businesses to augment resource circularity and efficiency
    • Green-Blue Environment and Quality of Life - Identify synergies between components of urban-nature system to enhance urban greenery initiatives for a healthier and more comfortable environment

(g) Horizontal 2 – Smart & Advanced Facilities Management (FM)

Vision: To achieve a high-quality built environment through facilities management which integrates across FM disciplines, aggregates demand, and drives execution in an efficient manner

Key Research Themes:

  • Centralised Network Intelligence and Coordinated Deployment of Robotics for Optimal FM Operation – Develop predictive measures to optimise operations and solutions to better manage FM operations through leveraging on AI technologies and deployment of robots