Cities of Tomorrow (CoT) R&D Programme

The Cities of Tomorrow R&D Programme (CoT) is a multi-agency effort led by Ministry of National Development (MND) to identify challenges that cities face and develop R&D solutions to address the challenges.

A total of $150 million in funding has been set aside for CoT from the $900 million allocated to the Urban Solutions and Sustainability (USS) domain under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020).


CoT’s vision is to establish Singapore as a highly liveable, sustainable and resilient city of the future, as well as a vibrant urban solutions hub that features cutting-edge urban solutions. This programme aims to achieve the vision through the integrated development of R&D in 4 key verticals and 2 enabling horizontals: 


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 basic research, applied research, and small-scale demonstration projects, with an emphasis on projects that have high potential for practical implementation and commercialisation.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be co-leading the research verticals of Advanced Construction, Resilient Infrastructure and Greater Sustainability. 



Research themes

Vertical 1: Advanced Construction

To build a highly productive, integrated and technologically advanced construction sector

  • Productive construction: Develop an integrated, intelligent, digitally-enabled construction environment that is highly productive and cost effective

  • Resource and land optimisation
    • Reduce and reuse construction resources 
    • Intensify land use for off-site production
  • Nuisance mitigation
    Reduce environmental impact of construction activities 

Vertical 2: Resilient Infrastructure

A robust, flexible and well-maintained city that has reliable and cost-efficient infrastructure

  • Building structure and facade fixture
    • Minimise building defects
    • Enhance building inspection processes
    • Reduce the cost and manpower needs for maintenance
  • Building Systems
    Enhance the performance and reliability of key Mechanical and Electrical services

Vertical 4: Greater Sustainability

A high quality living environment that is inclusive, resource efficient and adaptive to climate change

  • Urban ecosystems
    Create sustainable, resilient and green cities by taking an ecosystem approach to urban planning, development and management

  • Quality living
    Create a comfortable and pleasant living environment for residents

  • Energy and resource-efficiency
    • Enhance the energy and resource efficiency of towns, estates and buildings
    • Reduce the environmental impact of operations
  • Coastal protection: Future-ready for rising sea level


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

  • Singapore-based Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs)
  • Public sector agencies 
  • Not-for-profit research laboratories 
  • 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 per cent of the approved qualifying direct costs of a project for Singapore-based IHLs, public sector agencies and not-for-profit hospitals and research laboratories. Companies and company-affiliated research laboratories or institutions will qualify for up to 70 percent of the approved qualifying direct costs of a project.

Support for indirect costs, in the form of overheads, will only be provided to Singapore-based IHLs, and not-for-profit entities. Funding support of 20 percent of the total qualifying approved direct costs will be allowed.

The direct costs supported are classified into the following cost categories:

  • Expenditure On Manpower (EOM)
  • Equipment
  • Other Operating Expenses (OOE)
  • Overseas Travel

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

The 1st and 2nd open grant calls under the Cities of Tomorrow R&D programme are closed.

3rd Grant Call (Batch 1)
The 3rd grant call (Batch 1) is open for submission of proposals. The full details and all related documents can be downloaded from the Integrated Grant Management System (IGMS). All proposals must also be submitted through the IGMS.

Research Thrust Project Topic 

Vertical 1:
Advanced Construction

Development of Non-Intrusive Geophysical Survey Technologies for Bored Tunneling Works
Fit-For-Purpose Engineered Soft Clay for Building and Construction

Vertical 2:
Resilient Infrastructure

Climate Change Impacts on Service Life of Building Facade Materials

Call Opens: 27 May 2020
Submission Deadline: 9 July 2020

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

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