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New Singapore Digital Scholarship offers global exposure and more

last updated 13 November 2018

The new Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship offered by IMDA will prepare aspiring talent for an exciting future in the dynamic infocomm media industry.

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Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran, in a celebratory shot with one group of scholarship recipients..

By Billy Teo

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Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, said that the infocomm media sector was undergoing a tremendous evolution.


Good news for talent with a  passion in infocomm media: There will be more opportunities to pursue your dream academic courses with support from IMDA.

Starting in 2019, the number of scholarships offered by IMDA will be doubled to 100. Also, the various scholarships offered by IMDA – In other words, what used to be the National Infocomm Scholarship (NIS), Media Education Scholarship (MES) and Infocomm Polytechnic Scholarship (iPoly) – will also now come under the SG:D Scholarship brand, with the aim of grooming the next generation of infocomm media leaders.

This new development was announced by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information at IMDA’s National Infocomm Media Award Ceremony on 25 September 2018.

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An exhibit on immersive media, demonstrated by some of the scholarship recipients.

Mr Iswaran noted that this move “will ensure alignment in our efforts to nurture a pipeline of future infocomm media leaders, and build a strong foundation for our digital economy.”

He also shared that about 200,000 infocomm and media professionals were employed here in 2016, and the demand for these professionals is expected to continue to grow as the global economy becomes increasingly digitalised.

Mr Iswaran added: “We need a focused effort to develop a deep pool of infocomm media talent to lead the change in the digital future and seize new business opportunities.”

A total of 54 scholarship awards – across polytechnic, university undergraduate and postgraduate levels – were given out at the National Infocomm Media Award Ceremony. They include 21 awards for the National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship, jointly awarded by IMDA and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

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A group wefie taken by IMDA Chief Executive Tan Kiat How.

More opportunities, greater global exposure

The SG:D Scholarship will also enable scholars to develop a greater appreciation of global developments in the ICM domain, as well as fund scholars’ professional development beyond their studies and actively support networking opportunities with industry professionals across SMEs, start-ups and MNCs.

Scholars will get the opportunity to participate in curated immersion programmes and overseas internships. Students under IMDA’s Industry Preparation for Pre-graduates (iPREP) programme will likewise stand to benefit from more curated global opportunities. Some 2,500 students are targeted to benefit over the next two years.

In addition, the SG:D Scholarship and iPREP programme will be extended to polytechnic students in Arts, Design and Media. The SG:D Scholarship will also support postgraduate studies in specialised infocomm media areas, in response to the need to develop a deep pool of local talent with expertise in deep tech fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Immersive Media and Internet-of-Things (IoT).

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Projects by scholarship recipients were on display at the exhibit area.

In his speech, Mr S Iswaran cited the example of Sean Pea, a postgraduate scholar with a passion for cybersecurity since his teens, who will be pursuing his masters in the critical domain of infocomm security.  

He emphasised the need to “continue building deep capabilities in emerging digital technologies”, as Singapore’s digital transformation takes place at a faster rate than other ASEAN countries. 

Scholarly stories

Scholarship recipient Tan Tian Shou told Impact: “I was elated when I got the Scholarship. I am very grateful to those that helped me along the way. The scholarship has helped to offset a major financial burden, which has been haunting my thoughts for quite some time.”

Currently studying Game Design at the Digipen Institute of Technology, Tian Shou added that the scholarship has also "helped me paved a clear path towards my dreams and career, accelerating me towards my end goal closer and closer."

He and his fellow recipients can follow in the footsteps of former scholar Anthony Chow, who was an undergraduate scholar in 2006 and has become the CEO of his own start-up, Igloohome. The company, which designs smart lock solutions, has secured partnerships with global companies like Airbnb and distributed its products to more than 80 countries.

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Ms Low Ser En, a media scholar who has gone on to win a BAFTA, shared her personal experience during a panel discussion on stage.

Aspiring media talent can look to the example of  Alvin Lee, who studied at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy with the support of the scholarship.  His film “Seed” beat 10,000 entries to win Best New Director at the China Short Film Golden Hummingbird Awards – China’s national-level award for short films – in 2016.

Or they can aspire towards becoming like former media scholar,  Low Ser En, who has gone from strength to strength with her animated film, Poles Apart and secured a coveted British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA) win on the global stage. Ser En shared her personal experience during a panel discussion that was held as part of the Scholarship ceremony.

The success stories of these scholars were mentioned by Mr Iswaran in his speech.

He noted that the infocomm media sector is undergoing a tremendous evolution, but added that “in that evolution we find new opportunities which can sustain Singapore’s competitiveness and exciting career pathways”.

Finally, Mr Iswaran encouraged the scholars to look towards a “very exciting future within the digital economy.”