DSTA was engaged by the National Security Coordinating Secretariat (NSCS) to review and synergise the requirements for a National Cybersecurity R&D roadmap. This is part of Singapore’s five-year plan unveiled in October 2013 to enhance national cybersecurity capabilities. A S$130 million fund was allocated for research efforts to increase the security, reliability and resiliency of computer networks and other IT systems in view of their criticality to Singapore. The research programme is led by NSCS and the National Research Foundation.


While national agencies have traditionally managed their own cybersecurity capability development needs, commonalities in their requirements provided opportunities to aggregate R&D efforts at a national level. Agencies could subsequently adapt developed technologies to meet their requirements.

This approach helps to direct research and industry experts to collaborate and solve national cybersecurity challenges, optimising the R&D resources amid a global shortage of IT security professionals.

DSTA guided and supported a working group involving key agencies to distil their requirements. These requirements were grouped into practical research challenges for which academia and industry can carry out research and develop prototypes.

These challenges were translated into seven themes in the R&D roadmap, of which six focus on technology. They are Scalable Trustworthy Systems; Resilient Systems; Effective Situation Awareness and Attack Attribution; Combating Insider Threats; Threats Detection, Analysis and Defence; Efficient and Effective Digital Forensics. These technology research areas are complemented by the seventh research theme, which is Cyberspace Governance and Policy. This research will lead to the development of programmes to educate business users and consumers on how to better protect their companies and themselves against cyberattacks. These programmes are important as the effectiveness of technological solutions is not only dependent on good governance and policy but also having a critical understanding of the issues.

This is the first time a whole-of-government approach has been taken to coordinate and prioritise R&D efforts in cybersecurity. The effort will nurture cybersecurity expertise to build a strong and credible technology base in Singapore.