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FAQ about Azure for Research awards

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Microsoft Azure for Research award program and the proposal submission process.

Why are there different types of Microsoft Azure for Research Awards?

Different awards types represent unique areas of research such as Machine Learning and Data Science. However, the submission process and award grants are currently identical.

When are proposals due for each program?

Proposals are considered every two months in a calendar year, in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December).

What is a Microsoft account?
Your Microsoft account (previously called Windows Live ID) is the combination of an email address and a password that you use to sign in to services like Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, or Outlook.com. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, it is easy to create one—and it's free. You can even create a Microsoft account that can be used by your entire research team to access your Azure resources.

 

I am a student. Do I qualify for a Azure for Research award?
The awards are for research projects. Faculty, research staff members, graduate students, and postdocs are qualified to submit proposals. Undergraduate students require a faculty supervisor.

I am teaching a class that will use Azure for class projects. Do I qualify?
Yes, but there is a different program for teachers.

What does a good proposal look like?

  1. It should be no longer than three pages and written in English.
  2. Your proposal should describe the research problem you are working on and why it is important.
  3. You should describe how you will use Azure. Include resource requirement estimates (number of core, storage requirements, and so forth) for your project.

    For example, how big is the data collection you will use or generate? How many CPU cores will you need to do the computational part?
    • The size of the awards is large. A request for 20 TB of storage and 200,000 hours of compute time is reasonable.
    • A request for 1 GB of storage and 20 hours of compute time is too small for an award.
    • On the other end, a request for 1,000 simultaneous servers may be too hard to satisfy.

You do not need to include a CV, previous results, grants, or bibliographic items in your proposal and no special formatting is required. (If you are completely unfamiliar with cloud computing and Azure, we recommend that you sign up for one of our training courses.)

What sort of projects are you looking for?
We are looking for projects that will advance the state of research by using Azure. These projects may be individual scientific investigations or activities that support a research discipline by hosting data and data access and analysis services. We are excited by original ideas. We are thrilled by projects that make cloud-based open source tools available to the community.

What are things to avoid in my proposal?
We are not interested in benchmarking exercises or porting communication intensive MPI applications from a supercomputer to the cloud.

Will you limit awards to one per university?
Not at all. Some universities may generate many good proposals that will be funded.

I work for a start-up that came from a university project. Do I qualify?
No. But you qualify for the BizSpark program.

I work for a non-profit research lab. Do I qualify?
Yes. If you are uncertain about your qualifications, send email to azurerfp@microsoft.com.