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 develop 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 create 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 through the use of emerging smart/digital technologies
  • Reliable M&E services – Enhance reliability and durability of key M&E services
  • Advanced building materials to improve maintenance and durability – 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 maintain a liveable environment

Key Research Themes:

  • Mitigating environmental impact of land reclamation – Develop methodologies to map the carbon footprint in land reclamation works to mitigate the possible environmental impacts
  • Alternative reclamation materials and methods – Develop alternative materials and monitoring methods for reclamation to reduce reliance on conventional reclamation materials and improve productivity 
  • Innovative mooring solutions – Develop innovative mooring solutions that are scalable and can be applied to optimise sea anchorage space
  • Underground mapping – Develop innovative solutions to map underground geology and services quickly, accurately, and in a cost-effective and non-invasive manner
  • Construction and maintenance of underground developments – Develop cost-effective underground construction and maintenance solutions to address issues such as water seepage

(d) Vertical 4 - Greater Sustainability

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

Key Research Themes:

  • Enhancing liveability – Develop solutions to enhance liveability and create a more pleasant living environment
  • People-centric urban design – Deepen our understanding of the social environment, develop planning and design principles to promote health and well-being, and create more inclusive and resilient communities
  • Sensing of social sentiments and needs – Enhance understanding of sentiments and emerging trends to address people and communities’ needs
  • Mitigating urban heat island (UHI) effect – UHI mitigation and adaptation measures for the Built Environment to enhance thermal comfort
  • Coastal adaptation – Develop alternative coastal protection systems and materials to improve Singapore's readiness toward climate change impacts

(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:

  • Integrating rich and resilient biodiversity in terrestrial and marine ecosystems – Develop tools and techniques to enhance conservation of native flora, fauna and natural environments, improve biodiversity monitoring and build ecological resilience
  • Safe, sustainable and productive methods in enhancing 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 climate change mitigation and adaptation – Develop nature-based solutions to mitigate, adapt to, and build resilience against climate change

(f) Horizontal 1 - Urban Environment Analytics

Vision: To develop capabilities and technologies to enable data-informed planning decisions, more targeted and optimal planning strategies as well as improved productivity and service delivery in the planning process

Key Research Themes:

  • 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 wellbeing 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 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
  • Al Technologies for Urban Planning – Develop AI-enabled decision support systems for planning formulation, implementation and maintenance

(g) Horizontal 2 – Complexity Science for Urban Solutions

Vision: To gain insights into dynamic and complex urban problems through application of complexity science, by understanding the interdependency of urban systems and parameters that affect urban planning

Key Research Themes:

  • 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
  • Healthy Environment: Green and Healthy Places – Identify synergies between components of urban-nature system to enhance urban greenery initiatives for a healthier and more comfortable environment
  • Resilient and Adaptable City; Planning for the Post-COVID City – Develop strategies for urban planning and development using a complexity science approach to build resilience for future disruptions

(h) Horizontal 3 – Smart & Advanced Facilities Management (FM)

Vision: To build 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 for optimal FM operation – Understand behaviour and inter-dependency of FM systems and develop predictive measures to optimise operations
  • Coordinated deployment of FM robotics – Develop solutions to better manage FM operations through leveraging on AI technologies and deployment of robots