Plenary Session 1: Innovation and Ingenuity - A Partnership for Resilience

Date: 4 October, Wednesday
Time: 10.00am – 10.30am


The last few decades have been dominated by the concept that innovation in technology and processes causes better outcomes to occur for societies and their economies. In earlier times when new technologies were scarcer, the idea that ingenuity was the way to improve matters and achieve progress for society was dominant. We are now entering an era where resilience of our society to a range of stresses such as extreme weather, demographic change, food and energy security, and political unrest are seen as increasingly important.

This change is causing us to reconsider how we use a combination of innovation and ingenuity to achieve more resilient outcomes from a more interdependent set of systems. Emergent properties that result from increased interdependence, such as poor food security due to strain on transport logistics, single source refining of rare metals and electrification of transport and poor data on pathogens that are swiftly distributed by civil aviation, are catching us by surprise. Societies need to be better prepared for the plausible but unexpected situations that we are now finding ourselves in.

Using examples that are applicable to Singapore, this Opening Plenary will address how these interlinked concepts affect education, research and governance of this complex world that we have created and propose steps that could be taken in research and innovation programmes such as Urban Solutions and Sustainability (USS) to improve matters.

About the Speakers


Brian Collins Resized

Prof Brian Collins
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Policy, University College London (UCL)
Vice-Chair, National Preparedness Commission, UK
Member, Urban Solutions and Sustainability International Advisory Panel (USS IAP)

Professor Brian Collins has served as Professor of Engineering Policy at UCL, retiring as Emeritus in 2020. He has been a co-investigator on a £10M research programme investigating liveable cities for the future. He has extensive experience in leading research and innovation projects on infrastructure and liveability. As the Principal Investigator for the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) project, he studied new business models for infrastructure modernisation. He led the creation of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), a £278M capital investment programme involving 14 UK universities, which enables the UK to have a robust and innovative research and analysis base for informing the £400B estimated spend in Infrastructure in the UK in the next few decades. He is currently Vice Chair of the National Preparedness Commission, that seeks to better prepare the UK for an uncertain future.