Cities of Tomorrow (CoT) R&D Programme

Launched in 2017, the Cities of Tomorrow R&D Programme (CoT) is a multi-agency effort led by Ministry of National Development (MND) that seeks to sustain Singapore's success in the decades ahead by leveraging on Research and Innovation (R&I). It is supported under the National Research Foundation (NRF)'s Research, Innovation & Enterprise (RIE) efforts which are organised along 4 domains, with MND and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) co-leading the Urban Solutions and Sustainability (USS) domain. 


The CoT aims to establish Singapore as a highly liveable, sustainable and resilient city of the future, and as a vibrant urban solutions hub, through a suite of carefully curated research to develop urban solutions that address our national needs.

Building on earlier R&D efforts on space creation and optimisation, the CoT has expanded its research focus in RIE2020 to support Built Environment (BE) industry transformation efforts. In 2022, the CoT R&I Framework was refreshed to guide research priorities to support other national goals such as the Singapore Green Plan 2030, in view of emerging challenges such as climate change and ageing infrastructure.

There are 6 strategic thrusts under the CoT R&I Framework:

CoT R&I Framework

Research focus

The CoT programme was developed by the MND Family in conjunction with partner agencies, with the aim of delivering outcomes in collaboration with the research community and industry partners. CoT will support R&D across the project value chain from upstream research to downstream technology deployment, with an emphasis on projects that have high potential for practical implementation and commercialisation.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be the implementing agency for $46 million of the research funds allocated to the research thrusts of Advanced Construction and Smart & Advanced Facilities Management (FM). The vision and key research focus areas under Advanced Construction and Smart & Advanced FM are as follows:

Research Thrust


Research themes

Advanced Construction

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

  • 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 optimise resource utilisation by leveraging on smart/digital technologies.             

Smart & Advanced FM

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

  • 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.            


Principal Investigators (PIs) from the following are eligible to apply for CoT:

  • Singapore-based Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs)
  • Not-for-profit entities 
  • Companies and company-affiliated research laboratories/institutions 

Collaboration with foreign organisations and experts in the capacity of Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI), or as Collaborator is allowed. 

The lead PI who leads the research must be based in Singapore and the research work should be done in Singapore, unless expressly approved in writing.


The CoT will support 100% of the approved qualifying direct costs of a project for Singapore-based IHLs. Companies, company-affiliated research laboratories or institutions and not-for-profit entities will qualify for up to 70% of the approved qualifying direct costs of a project depending on the type of firms as listed in the following table. Support for indirect costs, in the form of overheads, will only be provided for Singapore-based IHLs.

S/N Type Max Direct Cost support  
 1  All non-SG private sector entities (including not-for-profits)  30%
 2  LLEs  50%
 3  SG SMEs  70%
 4  SG Start-ups
 5  SG Not-for-profits

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:



Potential contribution to the objectives of CoT

  • Relevance of proposed research in contributing to objectives of the call topic

Potential for breakthrough and innovation

  • Quality and significance of proposed research, including value for money, and the potential for breakthrough/ innovation to advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields

Potential for application and deployment in Singapore and commercialisation/export

  • Potential for application of research outcomes in Singapore by a public agency and potential for solutions to be replicated in Singapore beyond a single site/project

  • Feasibility for commercialisation/ export in areas where Singapore has a competitive advantage

Execution strength and competency of research team

  • Quality of plans for execution and delivery of the research programme and goals

  • Quality, significance, and relevance of the recent research record of the PI and Co-PIs and the strength of the applicant group 

Grant calls

Grant calls will be launched via NRF's Integrated Grant Management System (IGMS). Please visit the IGMS website here to view ongoing grant calls.


For further enquiries, please contact BCA_COT@bca.gov.sg.

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