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Resources and Research Permits

The National Parks Board recognises the importance of research in increasing the level of knowledge of Singapore’s wildlife. Scientific research provides crucial information needed for strategic planning, management, decision-making, identification of information gaps and basis for establishing programmes for long-term ecological monitoring and sustainability of biological diversity. 

To facilitate research, permits are issued by the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation pursuant to the Parks and Trees Act (Cap. 216) and Regulations (Cap. 216, r1).

You can submit your application via the Research tab in our online system. Please refer to our user guide for more details. The acknowledgement section that needs to be signed by team members can be downloaded here.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pertaining to research permits.

 

Who needs to apply for a research permit?

Anyone who carries out taxonomic or ecological field studies or collect research material, whether for project-based, ad hoc or ‘prospective’ studies, in Singapore (including national park, nature reserve or parkland) must apply for a research permit from NParks. 

The applicant who submits the research permit application should be the principal investigator / group leader. Students and field assistants involved in the research should be listed as well. For research projects which are conducted as part of a degree/course requirement of an educational institution, the supervisor/teacher may submit the application on behalf of the student(s).

Singapore citizens as well as foreigners require a research permit.

What types of activity require a research permit?

All research projects involving taxonomic or ecological field studies or the collection of any material require a research permit. Each individual project requires a separate research permit and separate applications should be submitted for each permit.

Those who are conducting educational activities such as field courses do not need to apply for research permits. 

However, teachers conducting class projects for groups of 10 or more students should inform the Park Manager of the park they intend to visit (in advance) even if no research is to be carried out. 

Do I have to pay a fee for the research permit application?

Research permit applications are free.

What information must I supply?

Please complete all the required fields in the online application so that we can assess and process your research permit application promptly. If additional information or clarification is required, we will contact you through the discussion forum in BIOME Research Permit Application or via the contact details stated in your application form.

How do I submit my research permit application?

You can submit your application via the BIOME Research Permit Application page. Digital photos of all field personnel should be provided. Any additional information can be uploaded along with the application.

Who do I submit my research permit application to?

NParks’ National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) coordinates applications for conducting field research in Singapore (including national park, nature reserve or parkland). Please submit your research permit application together with any supporting documents at the BIOME Research Permit Application page. 

How long will it take to obtain my research permit?

We target to issue permits within 14 working days from the date of receipt of all relevant information. A longer processing period may be needed for:

- applications which require approval from multiple authorities
- applications which involve sensitive or restricted access areas
- complicated or large-scale collection projects

Please submit your application early so that you can commence and finish your project on schedule.

How will I know if my application has been successful?

Once your application has been approved, the applicant will receive an email notification along your research permit and research pass(es) and will be available for download at the Research Permit Application page in BIOME.

Can the research permit be transferred to other people or institutions?

Research permit and pass(es) are not transferable.

Why do I need to contact a NParks officer or report to the respective site managers at the start and end of my visit?

The dates and location of your site visit should be indicated in the ‘Site Visit’ function under your research permit application. Please contact the officer or report at the visitor centre at the appropriate site, if indicated in the permit letter. 

You may be setting up equipment that needs to be left undisturbed after your visit. By informing us, we may be able to help by re-scheduling other maintenance and development work, or public events that would otherwise clash with your research.

At the end of your visit, we could help check the material(s) collected, survey equipment or markings that need to be left intact, and the safety of you and your colleagues.

In addition to having the research permit, why do I need to wear a research pass while out in the field?

The principal researcher (or the primary designated field assistant) must carry a copy of the research permit at all times while out in the field. We seek the cooperation of all field personnel to wear their research pass while conducting their field surveys in the study site.

NParks officers may conduct checks from time to time to ascertain that only authorised research is carried out in the permitted areas. Please note that the research pass is only valid with a valid research permit letter.

Can I collect samples / specimens not specified in my research permit?

No. Collecting samples/specimens that are not approved by the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and specified accordingly in your research permit is an offence under the Parks and Trees Act (Cap. 216) and/or its Regulations (Cap. 216, r1) NParks and that are not specified in your research permit is an offence under the Parks and Trees Act (Act 4 of 2005). NParks’ officers are authorised also have the authority to confiscate any unauthorised samples/specimens collected. NParks’ officers are also authorised have the right to check your field collection(s) anytime at site.

Can I collect samples / specimens in areas that are not specified in my research permit?

You are not permitted to use your research permit for other area(s), unless prior permission is sought from NParks and written approval is obtained from the respective Park Manager(s). You may request to add study sites using the ‘Amend Permit’ function in the research permit system.



Can I continue to use an expired research permit? What is the validity period of the research permit?

Each research permit has a validity period (usually one year or less), with an expiry date specified. You cannot use a research permit that has already expired.

You may, however, apply to renew the validity period of an expired research permit. Please use the ‘Renew Permit’ function in the Research Permit Application page to apply for renewal. You will be asked to submit any outstanding progress/study reports before we consider your application for renewal. For project studies that extend beyond two years, annual renewal of the research permit is required.

What must I do to bring my specimen collections out of Singapore?

Applicants who wish to bring out any biological specimens for research purposes are to apply for a Letter of Authorisation and /or Export Permits (both valid for one month and for one-time usage only) from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Applications are to be supported with documents stating the nature of the research, and are subjected to approval on a case-to-case basis.

The Letter of Authorisation (LOA) is applicable for export of live/dead/preserved terrestrial reptiles, amphibians, arachnids or other insects; while Export Permits apply to all other live/dead/ preserved fauna specimens, including mammals, birds, fishes, crustaceans, aquatic molluscs, turtles, marine sponges, and their tissue samples. In addition, please check with the importing country on any further requirements needed prior to the import of the specimens. 

Flora specimens (live/ dead / preserved plants including aquatic, ornamentals) can be exported with a phytosanitary certificate, or other pre-shipment treatment or lab certification as required by the importing country, from AVA. The phytosanitary application can be found at the AVA website (under e-Services-Online application for phytosanitary certificate).

Please note for species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the export of CITES specimens (such as some orchids, butterflies or mammalian tissue samples) requires the application of an additional permit (CITES permit) from AVA. The CITES export permit would only be granted for legally acquired or collected specimens. Please visit the CITES website to check if the specimen is of a CITES species, and refer to the AVA website (under e-Services>LicenceOne) for procedures in exporting CITES specimens.

What must I do to bring specimen collections into Singapore?

Applicants who wish to bring in any biological specimens for research purposes are to apply for a Letter of Authorisation (LOA) and /or Import Permits (both valid for one month and for one-time usage only) from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Applications are to be supported with documents stating the nature of the research and are subjected to approval on a case-to-case basis.

The LOA is applicable for import of live/dead/preserved terrestrial reptiles, amphibians, arachnids or other insects; while Import Permits apply to all other live/dead/ preserved biological specimens, including mammals, birds, fishes, crustaceans, aquatic molluscs, turtles, marine sponges, plants and tissue samples. In addition, import of live animals / plants require veterinary / photosanitary certifications to certify the health conditions of the animals / plants. Please refer to the AVA website (under e-Services>LicenseOne) for the details.

Please note that for species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the import of CITES specimens requires the application of an additional permit (CITES import permit) from AVA. The CITES import permit would only be granted for legally acquired or collected specimens, and for which a CITES export permit has been obtained from the CITES authorities of the exporting country. Please visit the CITES website to check if the specimen is of a CITES species, and also refer to the AVA website (under e-Services>LicenseOne) for procedures on importing CITES specimens.

NB: Applications for AVA Permits and Letter of Authorisation can be made in person at 5 AVA (Headquarters), JEM Office Tower, 52 Jurong Gateway Road #14-01, Singapore 608550, or via Fax at 65-63341831 or 65-68052992  (for AVA import / export permit applications,  LOA applications) using the application form found at the AVA website (under e-Services>LicenseOne).

Is the research permit valid for commercial bio-prospecting purposes?

You are required to specify in the research permit application form whether the research is for commercial or non-commercial purpose. If your research is at present non-commercial, but there is a potential for commercial spin-offs later, you will need to engage in a separate negotiation process at that time. A false declaration, or failure to specify commercial intent, may lead to withdrawal of an existing research permit and refusal of future research permits, for the researcher(s) and their institution(s).

Please contact National Biodiversity Centre, National Parks Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569, and email to NParks_Research_Permit@nparks.gov.sg, for the terms relating to access to genetic resources for commercial / bio-prospecting requests in Singapore.

Contact
________________________________________

Email to NParks_Research_Permit@NParks.gov.sg
or via fax/mail to the 
National Biodiversity Centre, 
National Parks Board, 
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 
1 Cluny Rd, 
Singapore 259569

Fax: 6472 3033

Last updated on 10 November 2017

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