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Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship

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For the purposes of this fellowship, those students submitting a proposal must attend a university in Africa.

Timeline

    • $15,000 USD is provided to help complete research as part of their doctoral thesis work for academic year 2022–23.
    • Eligible recipients will be offered a 12-week paid internship with the Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI).
    • Opportunities will be provided to build relationships with research teams at Microsoft and receive mentorship.

     

    • Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Students should support this mission and embrace opportunities to foster diverse and inclusive cultures within their communities.
    • PhD students must be enrolled at a university in Africa
    • Proposed research must be closely related to one of the themes at Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI)
      • AI/ML/NLP/data science: In many practically useful applications, data is often scarce and biased. Understanding how we work under these settings and deliver useful results has a great impact for many practical problems and gives us deep insights into what it means to learn with data. From practical application such as NLP, to understanding the fairness and generality of results and deepening our understanding of what is feasible with the available data for a particular problem. We’re interested how we work better with the limitations of data.
      • Health: Advances in machine learning and AI offer us an opportunity to address the disparities in the access to, and delivery of quality healthcare for all people. We’re interested in understanding and exploring spaces where technology can assist to fill the gap, from assisting healthcare practitioners to perform their roles more effectively, to bridging the last mile to patients, through scaling the delivery and reach of quality healthcare using technology.
      • Sustainability: Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability will be achieved by leveraging cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to transform the way we monitor, model and ultimately help in solving environmental challenges facing the globe. Within MARI, we are applying AI and analytics to understand and develop solutions that will address challenges related to sustainability. If you are a student enrolled in an African University undertaking a PhD program in artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics or a related field with a focus on solving problems related to sustainability, we would be delighted to receive your application.​​
      • Human-computer interaction: We seek fellows in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) who will explore Usability and Design questions under the areas of Work, Health and Sustainability & Society. Typically, HCI interns lead and conduct research studies (online or on the ground), usability studies, literature reviews, and design interventions.
    • Students must be entering their second year or beyond of their PhD program sometime between August 2022 – July 2023 having taken into account transfers, approved leaves of absence, etc.
    • PhD students must continue to be enrolled at the university in the beginning of academic year 2023 or forfeit the award. Fellowships are not available for extension. If you require time away for family or medical leave, this will be accommodated. If you are unsure if a particular need for time away will affect the award, you can contact Microsoft Research Fellowships at msfellow@microsoft.com.
    • Payment of the award, as described above, will be made directly to the university and dispersed according to the university’s policies. Microsoft will have discretion as to how any remaining funds will be used if the student is no longer qualified to receive funding (e.g., if the student unenrolls from the program, graduates, or transfers to a different university).
    • Funding is for use only during the recipient’s time in the PhD program; it cannot be used for support in a role past graduation, such as a postdoc or faculty position. Those interested in receiving this fellowship will need to confirm their PhD program starting month and year, as well as their expected graduation month and year.
    • A recipient of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship subject to disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism will forfeit their funding.
    • PhD students submitting a proposal should be able to communicate about their research (both in writing and verbally) in English.

     

  • Proposals and letters of recommendation for the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship were accepted through June 7, 2022 at 7:00 PM UTC. The below outlines the information necessary to submit your proposal in our submission portal.

     

    You will be asked to answer the below questions in a form:

    • Your name, email, country, university, and department
    • Primary area of research (from those listed below)
      • AI/ML/NLP/data science ​​
      • Health  ​​
      • Sustainability ​​
      • Human-computer interaction
    • Thesis proposal or research statement title
    • Month and year entered the PhD program and expected graduation date (you must be entering your third year or beyond sometime between August 2022 – July 2023)
    • URL to your professional website (optional, but strongly recommended; you are encouraged to make certain it is up-to-date)
    • One to three academic conferences you are most likely to attend
    • Self-assessment of the Statement of Good Standing: “I declare I have never been disciplined for inappropriate behavior, including, but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism. If I am selected to receive funding under Microsoft’s Fellowship program, during my funding time period, I agree to inform Microsoft should I be subjected to disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism which would result in forfeiture of funding under Microsoft’s Fellowship program.
    • Your name, email, country, university, and department
    • Primary area of research (from those listed below)
      • AI/ML/NLP/data science ​​
      • Health  ​​
      • Sustainability ​​
      • Human-computer interaction
    • Thesis proposal or research statement title
    • Month and year entered the PhD program and expected graduation date (you must be entering your third year or beyond sometime between August 2022 – July 2023)
    • URL to your professional website (optional, but strongly recommended; you are encouraged to make certain it is up-to-date)
    • One to three academic conferences you are most likely to attend
    • Self-assessment of the Statement of Good Standing: “I declare I have never been disciplined for inappropriate behavior, including, but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism. If I am selected to receive funding under Microsoft’s Fellowship program, during my funding time period, I agree to inform Microsoft should I be subjected to disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism which would result in forfeiture of funding under Microsoft’s Fellowship program.

     

    You will be asked to upload 3 documents:

    Your curriculum vitae, thesis proposal or research statement, and one-page summary will be uploaded separately. Proposals must be submitted in English, and accepted formats are docx, doc, and pdf. Email or hard-copy submissions will not be considered. Name the individual files using the convention indicated below. Include your first name and last name as part of your file name each separated by an underscore (e.g. Jane_Smith_cv.docx).

    • Curriculum vitae – file name: cv
    • Thesis proposal or research statement (short and concise is recommended—no more than two pages including references with font no smaller than 10-point) – file name: thesis
    • Summary of the above thesis proposal or research statement (no more than 150 words; font no smaller than 10-point) – file name: summary

     

    You will be asked to request 2 letters of recommendation (third one being optional) via the submission portal:

    • Add the contact information (name, affiliation, email) and send the email request through the submission portal to your two or three recommenders as soon as possible so they have ample time to provide a letter. Their deadline is the same as your proposal deadline on June 7, 2022 at 7:00 PM UTC. They should be established researchers familiar with your research (at least one of which must be from your primary academic advisor/supervisor and only one letter can be from a current Microsoft employee). Once you send the request through the submission portal, they will receive a private link to upload a letter of recommendation for you. Please note that you and your recommenders may need to check your junk folders in order to find emails from our portal. As reference, here is a list of the various system email addresses you can add to allowed emails.

    Microsoft cannot assume responsibility for the confidentiality of information submitted in the proposals. Therefore, proposals should not contain information that is confidential, restricted, or sensitive. Microsoft reserves the right to make public the information on those proposals that receive awards, except those portions containing budgetary or personally identifiable information.

    Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

    Due to the volume of submissions, Microsoft cannot provide individual feedback on proposals.

    For questions regarding proposals, contact Microsoft Research Fellowships at msfellow@microsoft.com.

     

    See also

    Financial Aid for Undergraduates

    Deloitte Graduate Academy For Nigerian Graduates

    IFCN Education Fellowships

    WRDTP ESRC PhD Studentships 2022-3

    Vice-Chancellor’s Award

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