THE Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is widening its net to attract the best and brightest to join the infocomm industry.

IDA announced on Tuesday at its annual National Infocomm Competition awards ceremony that its flagship scholarship programme will be expanded to include mid-term undergraduates from next year.

First-, second- and third-year students studying infocomm bachelor's degree courses - such as computer engineering and information systems - at local or overseas universities can now also apply for the National Infocomm Scholarship (NIS).

Previously, IDA offered only full-term and partial bachelor's degree scholarships.

The latter is offered only to students in local universities in the final year of their studies.

Started in 2004, over 250 NIS scholarships have been awarded to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners are also eligible but they must take up permanent residency upon graduation. Scholarship holders are bonded for up to five years to a government agency or sponsor company.

The programme will also be tweaked to let in students pursuing non-computer science degrees, particularly in emerging areas such as business analytics and cloud computing, said the IDA.

"We recognise that IT has become more pervasive across different sectors. So if you're a talent in business or health care, but you want to pursue something to do with IT, we also want to acknowledge you as a talent for the IT industry," said IDA's senior director Andrew Khaw.

Mr Kelvin Ng, deputy director at the School of Information Technology in Republic Polytechnic, said the new offering will help boost the number of bright sparks in the industry. He added: "There are not enough scholarships and there is still a strong demand for scholars in the IT industry."

The IDA will also expand its talent development programme for undergraduates, Enhanced Learning in Infocomm Technology, to polytechnic students this year. Students under this programme will be given opportunities to intern at some 70 companies, including Hewlett-Packard and SAP.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Communications and Information, who was guest of honour at the ceremony, said the Government remains committed to developing infocomm talent in Singapore.