After loads of negative publicity when Research in Motion (RIM) opened a BlackBerry factory in neighboring Malaysia, Canada-based RIM built the BlackBerry Innovation Center as a sort of peace offering in May 2012. Today it’s announced that, in partnership with the Institut Teknologi Bandung (Bandung Technology Institute; or ITB), RIM will give 30 scholarships to mark its commitment to develop the Innovation Center.
This Innovation Center is focusing on developing mobile apps - useful ones, such as for mobile healthcare systems, smart transit/transportation, smart mobile learning, logistics, etc. The 30 high-potential students will receive mobile computing research funding. So far, eight scholarships have been given for master’s and doctoral degrees. RIM will add 10 master’s degree students and 12 final semester undergraduate students to its list.
The scholarship covers tuition at ITB and research incentives during their studies at the BlackBerry Innovation Center ITB. Master’s degree students also receive laptops and BlackBerry smartphones. Grantees will follow the curriculum organized by ITB. While working there, the program will provide training to develop the student’s BlackBerry apps. The students will also be mentored about entrepreneurship. The managing director of RIM South Asia, Hastings Singh, explains:
As corporations become part of the community, RIM has committed to Indonesia and to invest back into the community in the form of long-term initiatives. Our collaboration with ITB, which in turn will help encourage Indonesia to become a leader in the mobile industry, is a good example. The 30 scholarship recipients will be equipped with the latest technology and education that will equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to build his career and start a business in this sector.
Eight scholarship for the master’s program were received by Ardhian Ekawijan, Dicky Arinal, Puspoko Poncho Ratno, and Rizky Ario Nugroho. While the doctoral program awardees are Rahmadian Pamungkas Iqbal, Nurul Oktariani Pratiwi, Susetyo Bagas Bhaskoro and Nur Iksan. An ITB spokesman, Dr. IGB Baskara Nugraha, stated that ITB had chosen them based on its own criteria:
The scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellent performance and personality, impressive academic record, and have motivation in the field of mobile software development and entrepreneurship.
This research program might help repair RIM’s lack of apps compared to iOS and Android. Not only that, the Innovation Center is also a way of winning the hearts of Indonesians so as to secure RIM’s (very uncertain) future. RIM said in January that Indonesia has five million users and predicts that’ll rise to 9.7 million users by 2015. This clearly shows Indonesia holds an important role in BlackBerry sales in the global market.