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Award Program: Microsoft Azure for Research

Bi-monthly RFPs

Microsoft Research is soliciting proposals for projects that use Microsoft Azure in research. We welcome research proposals from any branch of scholarly activity. We review these proposals on the fifteenth of even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December). The response so far has been outstanding. Selected proposals will be awarded large allocations of Microsoft Azure storage and compute resources for a period of one year.

Special-opportunity RFPs

In addition to these standing, bi-monthly requests for proposals, we will periodically announce additional special-opportunity requests for proposals (RFPs) on specific cloud-based research topics. These topics will include community research data services, streaming instrument data to the cloud, machine learning in the cloud, large-scale image analysis, environmental science, astronomy, genomics, and urban science. These calls will be announced in our blog postings and described here.

Microsoft Azure Award for Ebola Research

According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2014 Ebola epidemic is now affecting multiple countries in West Africa. One imported case from Liberia and associated locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States (see Ebola Crisis). The President of the United States has stated that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the humanitarian crisis there is a top national security priority for the United States (see Fact Sheet: U.S. Response to Ebola).

Microsoft Research is soliciting cloud computing proposals for projects that are working towards developing a better understanding of the spread and cure of the Ebola virus and its associated factors. Qualifying proposals will be awarded allocations of Microsoft Azure compute and storage resources.

Azure Machine Learning
We’re offering a limited number of awards to enable both seasoned researchers and students to try this unique offering.

  • Data science instructional awards:
    These awards will provide an individual account for each student in an intermediate or advanced data science class. Each awardee will receive 500 GB of cloud data storage.
  • Shared workspaces for research collaboration:
    These awards will provide a workspace for a group of researchers interested in hosting a data collection in Microsoft Azure to discover and share predictive models. Each group will receive 10 TB of cloud data storage for this collection.

The deadline for the second round of proposals for this program will be January 15, 2014.

Celebration of Women in Computing
We are offering a special request for proposals to attendees of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Computing 2014. This RFP is open to academic researchers, PhD students, postdocs, and undergraduates. We are interested in research project proposals that would benefit from cloud resources and relate to topics that we will discuss at this year’s Grace Hopper event, including computing and data science technologies, machine learning, software engineering, mobile experiences, and education technology. Award recipients will receive 12 months of free Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources with up to 280,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage to be used for the selected projects.

The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2014.

Climate Data Initiative

  • Climate Data Award
    The special Climate Data Award program provides scientists and decision-makers with access to Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources to support the White House Climate Data Initiative’s goals of preparedness for resilience to climate change impacts.

    This project is in response to the White House Climate Action Plan. This plan is an outcome of the June 25, 2013, announcement by President Obama of his comprehensive plans to reduce carbon pollution and move our economy toward American-made clean energy and slowing the effects of climate change

    We had an excellent response to the first round of this RFP. To accommodate additional opportunities, we are introducing a third round of the CDI request for proposals with a new due date of January 15, 2014.
  • Food Resilience Climate Data Award
    This special Food Resilience Climate Data Award calls for proposals from scientists and decision-makers for solutions that will support the White House Climate Data Initiative’s goals focused on the challenge resilience of food sources to climate change. This effort will provide access to essential datasets, tools, and services to help identify key vulnerabilities of our food supply to climate change, and create solutions to address these vulnerabilities.

    The deadline for the second round of proposals for this program will be January 15, 2014.

Program eligibility

To qualify for our awards program, applicants must be affiliated with an academic institution or non-profit research laboratory. In addition to individual investigator projects, we are interested in projects that will support access to services and data of value to a collaboration or community.

Proposal submission

Submit your proposal via the online submission site. Your proposal should meet the following requirements.

  • Proposal should not exceed three pages in length
  • Proposal should include resource requirement estimates (number of core, storage requirements, and so forth) for your project.
  • Proposal titles for the special award program must begin with a key phrase for identification purposes.
    • For the Azure Award for Ebola Research: "Ebola"
    • For the Celebration of Women in Computing award: “Grace Hopper”
    • For the Food Resilience Climate Data Initiative: “Agriculture”
    • For the Climate Data Initiative: “CDI"
    • For the Machine Learning data science instructional awards, use “Azure Machine Learning Instruction
    • For the Machine Learning shared workspace and research collaboration awards: “Azure Machine Learning Research

Proposal submission deadlines

  • Bi-monthly request for proposals: December 15, 2014
  • Microsoft Azure Award for Ebola Research: open call
  • Celebration of Women in Computing: December 15, 2014
  • Azure Machine Learning: January 15, 2014
  • Climate Data Initiative: January 15, 2014
  • Food Resilience Climate Data Initiative: January 15, 2014

Get help with your proposal

  • For additional information about the program or proposal submission process, consult our FAQ about awards.
  • If you have questions that are not addressed in our FAQ, send email to azurerfp@microsoft.com.

Access Microsoft Azure resources

In addition to the research awards, there are several other ways to access free Microsoft Azure resources. These include the 90-day free trial that is available on the Microsoft Azure Portal and the MSDN subscription. You may also be interested in using Microsoft Azure in your classes.