The Centre for Applied Research (CFAR) at SIM University provides high-quality research, policy evaluation, statistical analysis, and technical assistance to academic, government and commercial organisations. Research at CFAR is focused primarily on applied work with industry relevance. Projects leverage CFAR's extensive expertise in survey analysis and address a variety of social and economic policy issues. This is in line with CFAR's mission to contribute to society in a tangible way. Clients include the People's Association, the Land Transport Authority, Business Times, and the Central Singapore Community Development Council. CFAR's work is published and quoted by national newspapers, Mediacorp outlets, and other publications island-wide. A capsule summary of CFAR's current and ongoing research initiatives is given below.
In addition to undertaking collaborative research with industry partners and public organisations on issues of direct relevance to the business community and to the society at large, CFAR serves as a research hub for all research initiatives and projects at SIM University. In this capacity, CFAR works closely with the academic schools to foster research at SIM University. CFAR also actively promotes and undertakes case writing for the purpose of deployment in graduate and undergraduate programmes to ensure that the University continues to offer well-rounded academic courses that strike a sensible balance between theory and practice. Research at SIM University in the form of research publications and projects, case studies, seminars and conference presentations, and other research-related documents are available in the University's e-repository system.
BT-UniSIM Business Climate Survey
The Business Times of Singapore launched a quarterly business activity survey in January 1996 to track turning points in Singapore business cycles and to capture the performance of Singapore firms in terms of sales, profits and orders in the past quarter and the firms' perceptions on business prospects for the next six months. Firms included in this survey are drawn from a wide spectrum of business activities. Since the third quarter of 2006, it has been jointly conducted with SIM University and thereafter known as the BT-UniSIM Business Climate Survey.
People's Association Social Capital Survey
In November 2010, the People's Association (PA) commissioned a large-scale Social Capital Survey to gauge the community's perceptions of its programs, initiatives and grassroots organizations. More than 32,000 randomly-selected households from every constituency across the island were interviewed. Target respondents were either Singapore citizens or permanent residents 15 years of age or above. The completion of the PA survey in late 2011 marked a crucial milestone in CFAR's ability to organise, manage and implement large-scale research projects.
LTA Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey
Each year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) commissions a survey with a view to monitoring commuter satisfaction with the mass public transport system in Singapore. Since 2009, the LTA has commissioned UniSIM's Centre for Applied Research to conduct the survey. The survey, which covers more than 1500 bus and 1500 MRT commuters, is intended to gather information to better understand passenger expectation and satisfaction with the current public transport services and identify areas for improvement in service standards.
LTA Taxi Customer Satisfaction Survey
In 2011, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced its intention to carry out a survey of commuter satisfaction with taxi services and facilities in Singapore. The survey, which targeted 1200 taxi commuters, collects information on a range of attributes like timeliness, accessibility, cleanliness and comfort in order to better understand where improvements in the standard and quality of taxi services can be made.
Central Singapore Community Development Council
In early 2011, the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CSCDC) in conjunction with Maybank introduced a nine-month accelerated matched savings program, the Cash-Up program, for low income families. In January 2012, the CSCDC commissioned the Centre for Applied Research to carry out a longitudinal study to assess the effectiveness of the program in encouraging long term savings behaviour among 350 low-income families over a 12 month period.
World Values Survey
Conducted in almost 100 countries, the World Values Survey (WVS) is a worldwide research project that monitors and investigates people's values and beliefs, how they change over time and what social and political impact they have. In 2011-2012, the World Values Survey Association will be carrying out a new wave of surveys covering at least 50 countries, including Singapore. For this round, the Singapore component of the survey will be carried out under the auspices of CFAR in conjunction with social researchers from the National University of Singapore with expertise in this area.
The Centre for Applied Research has been conducting high quality research into Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that will be of value to those who want to better understand their distinctive and important contribution to the Singaporean economy. Based on a series of interviews with the CEOs/CFOs of SMEs, this research will provide valuable insights into the success factors for SMEs in Singapore. The materials will also be utilised in the writing of case studies for UniSIM programmes. CFAR will continue exploring new directions for research on SMEs.