Alibaba launches post-graduate talent programme in Singapore

(From left) Professor Lam Khin Yong, Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) vice-president of research, Mr Ang Chin Tah, the Economic Development Board's director of infocommunications and media, and Ms Liu Xiangwen, senior director of Alibaba Tech
(From left) Professor Lam Khin Yong, Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) vice-president of research, Mr Ang Chin Tah, the Economic Development Board's director of infocommunications and media, and Ms Liu Xiangwen, senior director of Alibaba Technology Strategy Department, launching the Alibaba Talent Programme at NTU.PHOTO: NTU SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Post-graduate students will get the opportunity to spend part of their studies at one of online retail giant Alibaba's research facilities.

On Monday (Sept 3), Alibaba Group launched the Alibaba Talent Programme in Singapore with support from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

The talent programme aims to equip postgraduate students with critical research and development (R&D) skills through practical work experience on projects with Alibaba.

The four-year programme is also part of Alibaba's moves to nurture future R&D talent from Singapore, particularly in the field of computer science.

It is open to Singapore citizens and permanent residents who graduated from any local university or selected top-ranked universities around the world. The first intake will start in January 2019, and is slated to consist of between 20 and 30 students.

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 at NTU, Alibaba's first facility of its kind outside of China. Other such facilities include various Alibaba campuses in Hangzhou and Beijing, China.

Students will benefit from access to large data samples and business scenarios from Alibaba as they participate in research projects led by Alibaba and universities here.

Apart from financing their PhD studies, the programme's participants will each receive a monthly stipend of $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 be hired by Alibaba as permanent employees.

Ms Xiangwen Liu, senior director of Alibaba Technology Strategy Department, said: "Singapore prides itself on world-leading educational and research institutions as well as its strong pool of talent. Through this programme...we want to identify and nurture the next generation of R&D talent from Singapore and further strengthen the research community here."

As part of the scholarship's focus on advancing R&D in computer science areas, candidates must have relevant bachelor's or master's degrees, among other things.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, co-chair of the Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute and NTU's vice-president of research, said NTU is committed to training artificial intelligence (AI) and data science talent to support Singapore's Smart Nation vision.

He added that all students at the Alibaba-NTU Singapore Joint Research Institute would have hands-on experience in developing and deploying systems involving AI, data analytics, blockchain, and cybersecurity among other things.

The programme is accepting applications until Oct 31.