Microsoft Azure for Research
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Microsoft Azure for Research RFP process.
What are the two Microsoft Azure for Research award programs?
- The regular Microsoft Azure for Research award program is interested in any topic that can use the capability of Microsoft Azure for research purposes.
- The special award program is designed to solicit proposals related to specific themes of interest to us.
When are proposals due for each program?
- The regular program has a due date of the fifteenth of the month on even numbered months (such as April 15, June 15, August 15, and so forth).
- Proposal due dates will vary for the special program. We will announce those dates in our blog and on this website. The first will be due on April 15, 2014.
How is the submission process different for the two award programs?
The same submission process is used by each program. The only difference is that the title of your proposal for the special program must begin with a key phrase to help us identify it.
- For the first special program (proposals due April 15, 2014), the phrase is “Science VM”.
- For the Climate Data Initiative (proposals due June 15, 2014), the phrase is “CDI”.
What is a Microsoft account (Windows Live ID)?
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 Microsoft Azure resources.
I am a student. Do I qualify for a Microsoft Azure for Research grant?
The grants 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 Microsoft Azure for class projects. Do I qualify?
Yes, but there is a different program for teachers.
What does a good proposal look like?
- It should be no longer than three pages.
- Your proposal should describe the research problem you are working on and why it is important.
- You should describe how you will use Microsoft 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 TBytes of storage and 200,000 hours of compute time is reasonable.
- A request for 1 GByte 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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?
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.
- See BizSpark.
I work for a non-profit research lab. Do I qualify?
Yes. If you are uncertain about your qualifications, send email to email@example.com.