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Alibaba launches talent programme in Singapore


Alibaba Group has launched the Alibaba Talent Programme in Singapore with support from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) under the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP).

Part of Alibaba’s ongoing mission to nurture future research and development (R&D) talent from Singapore particularly in the field of computer science, the talent programme aims to equip postgraduate students with critical R&D skill-sets through gaining practical work experience on projects with Alibaba.

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. The first intake will start in January 2019.

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.

Xiangwen Liu, Senior Director of Alibaba Technology Strategy Department, said that Alibaba is thrilled with the enthusiastic support by both EDB and NTU Singapore, and is excited to launch its first-ever talent programme in Singapore.

“Singapore prides itself on world-leading educational and research institutions as well as its strong pool of talent. 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,” said Liu. “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 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 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studies in one of the following areas: Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Cryptography and Security, among others.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, Co-Chair of Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute and NTU’s Vice President (Research), said NTU is committed to training AI and data science talent to support Singapore’s Smart Nation vision and the transformation to Industry 4.0.

“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.” Prof Lam said.

“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 Alibaba Talent Programme is under the auspices of EDB’s Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP), which seeks to equip postgraduate students with critical R&D skill-sets through practical work experience on projects with a local or multinational company in Singapore.

Ang Chin Tah, Director of Infocomms and Media at EDB, said, “We are delighted that Alibaba has chosen to partner Singapore in training a future generation of AI experts. This will help us deepen our bench of AI experts to create new cutting-edge technologies from Singapore.”

Apart from the financing of their PhD studies, the programme participants will each receive a monthly stipend of S$5,000, with 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.