Work will begin early this year on a 12 month benchmarking study, with SGD$529,000 awarded to Murdoch by the Singapore Government through the Singapore Innovation and Productivity Institute.
“Singapore is currently in a period of low productivity growth, compared to other developed nations,” said Murdoch University’s Singapore Dean Associate Professor Peter Waring.
“The Singapore Government has identified this as its most important economic priority as it wishes to remain competitive internationally.”
Associate Professor Waring said manufacturing was a significant industry in Singapore, employing more than 400,000 people.
“Identifying the key productivity drivers for this industry is crucial for its continued growth and future success,” he said.
“Manufacturing firms need to be encouraged to look at new ideas and think about how they can do things better.”
Interviews and surveys will be conducted with managers and ‘key informants’ from 200 small to medium enterprises in Singapore. The data will be uploaded to an online portal to inform the final report, with capacity building sessions planned upon the project’s completion.
Chief investigators include Associate Professor Waring, Murdoch University Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor David Morrison and Professor Peter McKiernan, Dean of the School of Management and Governance. Dr Christopher Vas from Murdoch’s Executive Education Centre is a partner investigator, along with two academics from the University of Newcastle.
There are plans to recruit local final-year students as field researchers, developing their skills and positioning them as program champions with an understanding of innovation-driven productivity.
The project will also strengthen Australia’s economic and academic ties with Singapore.
“Singaporeans are already looking to Australia for its innovative practices, notably in the construction industry,” said Associate Professor Waring.
“The results of this study may benefit our manufacturing sector too, or pave the way for further studies in other countries.”
Murdoch University has established transnational partnerships with two leading educational providers in Singapore. Courses have been offered through the SMF Institute of Higher Learning since 2005, and through Kaplan Higher Education since 2006.