Alibaba Innovative Research

Alibaba Innovative Research (AIR) programme and Alibaba Research Fellow (ARF) programme act as a bridge that connects Alibaba Group and the researchers from world-wide top universities and research institutes. Through these programmes, we intend to support the frontier studies in computer science and the related areas that can solve the actual problems in industry scenarios. We will provide research funding, real-life business scenarios, and other necessary supports to the successful applicants. We sincerely invite you to collaborate with Alibaba scientists and to discover, define and solve the valuable research problem in Alibaba.

Application Requirements

Applicant must be a full-time faculty member or research staff at a non-profit academic, university or research institution. We do not accept the case that a qualified researcher helps another non-eligible researcher apply.

Important Dates

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: 23:59 Jan 10th, 2021, GMT +8
  • Acceptance Notification: Jan 20th, 2021, GMT+8

How to Apply

  • In every June and December, we will publish new research topics and call for proposals from world-wide universities and non-profit academic institutions. All the submitted proposals will be reviewed by Alibaba Technical Committee, and the final accepted proposals will be funded for one-year duration.
  • For quantum technologies, there is a different application that will be considered on a rolling basis. The details are on the quantum technologies sponsorship application page.
  • Please kindly select the appropriate topics that are released in the page of "Research Areas" and submit your proposals in Chinese or English. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Please properly cite the references in your application. Plagiarism or other violation of academic integrity will not be tolerated.
  • DO NOT send any confidential or proprietary information in your proposal. Any information you send to us as part of your application will be considered non-confidential regardless of any markings or designations.
  • Applicant(s) should understand and comply with United Nation's and all countries/regions' export control applicable laws, regulations, administrative regulations, administrative orders and related requirements.

Proposal Template

Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact with us at We will reply you as soon as possible.

Research Areas


    Internet of Things

      Natural Language Processing


          Image and Video

            Human-Computer Interaction

              Machine Learning (algorithm)

                Machine Learning (computing)

                • Exploration and Research of Core Technologies for Trillion-Parameters Giant Model Training More Details >

                Future Networks

                  Storage Technology

                    System Software and Operation


                      Big Data & Data Mining

                        Chip Technology

                          Quality Assurance

                          • A in-wheel motor system with one assembly that integrates driving, braking and parking functions More Details >

                          Q: Can I submit the proposal in another format besides MS word?

                          A:Proposals are expected to be in MS Word or PDF format. Besides, we do not have the page limit. Please write either in English or Chinese.

                          Q: Can I apply Alibaba Innovative Research or Alibaba Research Fellowship in other countries?

                          A: The programmes are available in all countries/regions. Researchers who are sponsored by the ARF programme will visit Alibaba's offices in China (Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) to work with front-end engineers on real-life business scenarios.

                          Q: I am an undergraduate/graduate student. Do I qualify to apply this plan?

                          A: No, undergraduate/graduate student is unqualified to submit proposals. The applicant should be a full-time faculty member or a research staff at a non-profit academic, university or research institution.

                          Q: I am working in a start-up company that has the cooperation with a university. Am I qualified?

                          A: No, you are unqualified.

                          Q: I am a professor. Can I submit two or more proposals to apply multiple research topics?

                          A: Yes. The final result will be given by Alibaba Technical committee while the selected proposals will be evaluated with consideration of innovation, feasibility potential value, etc.

                          Q: Can I make changes to my submitted applications?

                          A: Yes. You can revise your proposal till to the deadline.

                          Q: What is the expected funding amount for this one-year project?

                          A: We can support each AIR project up to $70k US dollars. For ARF, we will make service fee payments to the visiting scientist.

                          Q: Can I submit a multi-year proposal?

                          A: We suggest one-year collaboration. However, based on the outcomes of ongoing project, we can negotiate to establish a multi-year collaboration with our collaborated researchers.

                          Q: I am collaborating with a professor in a university. Can we submit a joint proposal?

                          A: Not suggested. The applicant should come from a university or non-profit research institute.

                          Q: What is the intellectual property (IP) policy in AIR project?

                          A: We will friendly negotiate the IP issue with our collaborator according to the IP policy of his/her affiliated university or research institute.


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