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 July 10th, 2020, GMT +8
  • Acceptance Notification: July 30th, 2020, GMT+8

How to Apply

  • In every June, 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

    Quantum Technology

    Natural Language Processing


      Image and Video

      • Efficient facial and body landmark detection and segmentation with prior co-location knowledge and its application in avatar action generation and augmented reality More Details >
      • A Method of Video Compression Based on Machine Vision More Details >
      • Topology Extraction of Roads and Buildings from Satellite Images More Details >
      • Research on Vehicle Re-Identification Based on Visual Features in Intelligent Express Way System More Details >
      • A New Generation Video and Image Encoder More Details >
      • Lightweight unsupervised learning framework of visual representation for mobile applications More Details >
      • Generative Adversarial Networks for Image-Based UI Code Generation More Details >
      • Intelligent Production of 4K HDR Video More Details >

      Human-Computer Interaction

      • How to Make the User Experience of Enterprise Office Products Measurable, Traceable and Optimizable More Details >
      • 3D Style Transfer More Details >

      Machine Learning (algorithm)

      • Deep Learning-Based High-Precision LiDAR Localization for Autonomous Driving More Details >
      • Few-shot Learning on CTR/CVR Estimation in Online Advertising More Details >
      • User Growth Problem in Taobao Search More Details >
      • Probabilistic Graphic Model and Casual Inference: Research and Applications More Details >

      Machine Learning (computing)

        Future Networks

          Storage Technology

          • Memory-Centric and Heterogeneous Computing Storage Server Architecture in the Big Data Era More Details >

          System Software and Operation

          • Enabling the Use of High-Level Programming Languages in Hardware Enclaves More Details >
          • Improve Static Compilation Technology for Large Scale Java Workloads in Cloud More Details >


          • POLARDB Multiple-Master Writability Technology Base on Distributed Shared Memory More Details >
          • Intelligent Database Plan Management and Tuning More Details >

          Big Data & Data Mining

          • Construction of a Knowledge Graph to Provide Comprehensive Description of Fresh Produce More Details >

          Chip Technology

          • Agile and Cost-Efficient Chip Design with Chiplet Technology More Details >
          • System and Hardware for Hyperscale Graph Neural Network Training More Details >
          • High Performance and Low Power Network-on-Chip Architectures and Design Methodologies More Details >

          Energy & Materials

            Quality Assurance

            • Mobile App Scenario Aggregation and Fault Identification 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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