Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) said it entered into a research agreement with Nestlé to help boost the company's expansion in R&D in the country. Officials say the agreement will “set the stage for cutting-edge research in areas including packaged food and beverages, food ingredients, nutrition, food manufacturing processes, food science and technology, as well as biotransformation.”

Government officials say the framework research agreement will bring together both partners' capabilities in a range of research fields and that the agreement should help Nestlé optimize its production processes and to provide nutritional foods to consumers.

A*STAR officials say they have been developing research capabilities in food and nutrition as one of five strategic research priorities in the biomedical sciences. They add that the Nestlé partnership also will boost A*STAR's capabilities as the “research collaborator of choice” in Asia for the global food and nutrition industry.

“A*STAR is looking forward to this excellent opportunity to broaden and deepen the work that we do with the world's leading food and nutrition company to expand their R&D capabilities in Singapore,” said Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR chairman. “This agreement marks a significant milestone in propelling forward A*STAR's research thrust into food and nutrition."

"We are delighted to sign this research agreement with A*STAR,” added Stefan Catsicas, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer, Head of Innovation, Technology, Research & Development. “It provides the framework for future collaboration that will help to strengthen our food science and technology capabilities in Singapore and beyond."

 Officials say the agreement will involves the participation of as many as 18 A*STAR research entities. It provides opportunities for A*STAR researchers to collaborate with Nestlé's affiliates globally. In related news, A*STAR said it recently launched a joint center with NUS (SiNMeD) to advance research on nutrition, early development and metabolic disease. This agreement will also allow Nestlé access to A*STAR's research facilities and technology.