As part of Alibaba Group's ongoing mission to nurture future research and development (R&D) talent in Singapore (particularly in the field of computer science), the e-commerce giant recently launched the Alibaba Talent Programme in Singapore.

Supported by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) under the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP), the programme aims to equip postgraduate students with critical R&D skill-sets through gaining practical work experience on projects with Alibaba.

The programme involves a scholarship which will help participants finance their Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studies. Apart from that, participants will receive a monthly stipend of S$5,000, as well as mentorship by a main supervisor from the enrolled university and a co-supervisor from Alibaba.

Outstanding scholars admitted to the programme will also have the opportunity to continue their journey with Alibaba as a permanent employee, among other compelling benefits.

Xiangwen Liu, senior director of Alibaba Technology Strategy Department, said: "Through this programme, which is supported by NTU Singapore and EDB, we want to identify and nurture the next generation of R&D talent from Singapore and further strengthen the research community here.

"Developing new and disruptive ideas is crucial, and we are committed to nurturing talent who would be the driving force of the next-wave of technology innovation."

As PhD students, the programme participants will spend part of their studies at one or more of Alibaba’s research facilities, including the Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute (JRI) at NTU, Alibaba’s first facility of its kind outside of China, and various Alibaba campuses in Hangzhou and Beijing, China.

This will provide the students with the opportunity to participate in exciting research projects led by Alibaba and universities here, supported with access to large data samples and valuable business scenarios from Alibaba.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, co-chair of Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute and NTU’s vice president (research), said: "As NTU transforms into a Smart Campus, we will develop and testbed many of these digital technologies, to ensure that they are useful, robust and secure, giving our students an opportunity to be involved in projects with industry relevance. Our newly developed humanised AI can allow a more natural interaction interface for people while addressing societal and business needs.

"All our PhD students involved at the Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute will also have hands-on experience in developing and deploying systems involving AI, data analytics, blockchain, internet of things, neural networks, automation and cybersecurity, all of which are critical for the smooth running of a Smart Campus and a Smart Nation."

The programme is open to Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) who graduated from any local university or one of the select top-ranked universities around the world and the first intake will start in January 2019.

As part of the scholarship's focus on advancing R&D in computer science areas, candidates must have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in computer science/engineering, electrical, electronic, mathematics, physics or other related subjects. Prospective scholars should also be pursuing postgraduate PhD studies in one of the following areas: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, internet of things, cloud computing, data analytics, cryptography and security, among others.

Photo / Nanyang Technological University, Singapore