Microsoft Azure for Research

Helping researchers use the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform to advance discovery

Microsoft Azure for ResearchThe Microsoft Azure for Research project facilitates and accelerates scholarly and scientific research by enabling researchers to use the power of Microsoft Azure to perform big data computations in the cloud.


Microsoft Azure for Research Award program

Microsoft AzureBi-monthly RFPs

Microsoft Research is soliciting proposals for the use of 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 (April, June, August, and so forth). The response so far has been outstanding.

Special-opportunity RFPs

In addition to these standing, bi-monthly requests for proposals, we will periodically announce additional special-opportunity 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.

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 first round of proposals for this program will be September 15, 2014.

Climate Data Initiative
Our second special call requests proposals from scientists and decision-makers for solutions that support the White House Climate Data Initiative’s goals of preparedness for and resilience to climate change impacts. Twelve months of free Microsoft Azure cloud-computing resources—including up to 180,000 hours of cloud-computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage—will go to 40 awardees selected from proposals submitted by the due date.

We had an excellent response to the first round of this RFP. To accommodate additional opportunities, we are introducing a second round of the CDI request for proposals with a new due date of September 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

Your proposal should not exceed three pages in length. It should include resource requirement estimates (number of core, storage requirements, and so forth) for your project.

  • Learn more and apply for a research award on the proposal submission site.
  • Proposal titles for the special award program must begin with a key phrase for identification purposes.
    • For the Climate Data Initiative (proposals due September 15, 2014), the phrase is “CDI."
  • For additional information, consult our Frequently Asked Questions or send email to

Application deadlines:

  • Bi-monthly request for proposals: August 15, 2014
  • Climate Data Initiative: September 15, 2014

Selected projects

Results have been announced for the first four rounds of proposals ending on October 15, 2013, December 15, 2013, February 15, 2013, and April 15, 2013. Winning proposals will be awarded large allocations of Microsoft Azure storage and compute resources for a period of one year.

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.

Microsoft Azure for Research training

Microsoft Research offers cloud training classes at various times worldwide to inform researchers how Microsoft Azure can accelerate your research.

Microsoft Azure in action

Eco-testing a building before it is even built

Buildings Go the Cloud

New civil engineering tools that take advantage of the power of cloud computing on Microsoft Azure have the potential to reduce the time and cost of energy-efficient building by allowing in-depth simulations of a building’s performance during the design phase. Read more…


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Cloud computing unlocks drug discovery

Helping scientists discover new drugs

Toxicity prediction presents a great challenge to scientists developing new drugs; the massive data analysis requirements require a costly computer infrastructure. But with Microsoft Azure, scientists can analyze big data affordably and quickly—in the cloud. Read more…


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Fighting wildfires with data

Fighting Wildfires with Data  The University of the Aegean in Greece developed a new application—featuring Bing Maps, Microsoft Silverlight, and Microsoft Azure—to determine the daily wildfire risk in Lesvos during its dry season. With the help of a daily visualization of the environmental factors, the island’s fire management team uses the app to determine resource allocation for the day. Read more… 

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A new tool for teaching climate change in the cloud

Using ChronoZoom to build a comprehensive timeline of climate change in the cloud

A professor explores the history of climate change in depth in his graduate-level Earth System Science class. To help students visualize events through the ages, he is using ChronoZoom, an open-source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything. ChronoZoom stores and processes data in the cloud (through Microsoft Azure). Read more...


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Supercomputing on demand with Microsoft Azure 

Searching for genetic causes of disease 

Learn how Microsoft Azure can simplify the management of large-scale computations and how, together with FaST-LMM—an algorithm developed by Microsoft Research—it drastically reduced processing times to find new associations between genomes and diseases. Read more... 

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Upcoming webinar

Using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning to advance scientific discovery
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Time: 8:00 A.M. Pacific Time
Duration: one hour

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