At its annual research faculty summit on Monday, Microsoft announced plans to issue nearly $6 million in grants for external advanced research in computer science and related disciplines. More than half of the money ($3.7 million) will go for the following topics:
- Cell phones as a platform for health care, to develop prototypes and tools that use cell phones to access better health care services in rural and urban communities
- Biomedical computing, to encourage better data usage and analysis in genome-wide association studies to provide a stronger framework for eventual personalized treatment methods
- Intelligent Web 3.0, to help find, discover, extract, publish, and share information, at a desk or on the go, safely, to make the Web more meaningful and develop a more human-centric, context-aware model of information access
- Mechanisms for safe and scalable multi-core computing, for research into how operating systems and run times can evolve to enable safe and scalable concurrent programs
- Sustainable computing, to devise innovative approaches to system architectures that optimize power use, as well as research in power management for improving the energy efficiency of computing infrastructure
- Human-robot interaction, to improve human-robot interactions by developing tools and methods that lead to practical applications with realistic commercial potential within 5 to 10 years
Microsoft plans to spend $500,000 to $1,000,000 on each of these topics.
The company announced one new award: the A. Richard Newton Breakthrough Research Award, which will provide $1 million across several projects for what it calls "breakthrough academic research" in computational and multidisciplinary areas. The award honors the late A. Richard Newton, former dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of Microsoft Research’s Technical Advisory Board. Newton died in January.
Microsoft will also continue its New Faculty Fellowship program, where it will award $1 million to 5 early-career researchers on college and university faculties. This is the fourth year of the program, which, the announcement says, funds "creative research by promising researchers who have the potential to make a profound impact on the state of the art in their respective research disciplines."
RFPs for these programs have not yet been released, but we're keeping an eye on the Microsoft Research site, and will let you know when they appear.