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Accelerating opportunities for academic researchers

A researcher wearing lab attire is working in a laboratory packed with glass beakers and a laptop.Over the past eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with higher education institutions across the United States. Seeing their thirst for knowledge across so many fields has deepened my appreciation for how technology can augment their efforts. New innovations allow researchers to focus on their work without being held back by technological challenges. That´s why I´m so excited to share the ways that institutional researchers accelerate and share their work with Microsoft Azure. Its open platform is cloud-based and flexible. It supports multiple programming languages, tools, and frameworks, so researchers can achieve results faster.

In my conversations with leaders at different institutions, I´ve noticed that research teams are often nervous about tackling cloud-based computing and research. The transition might seem daunting, but we´ve prioritized making it as easy as possible. One of the best resources is our free-of-charge Microsoft for Azure Resource Hub, which offers dozens of on-demand training workshops. They cover topics such as PowerBI, migrating SQL to the cloud, creating HPC clusters, and AI.

Another common concern I hear from institutions is that inadequate computing resources limit research findings and publications, as well as their ability to disseminate and manage data. They also report a growing need to collaborate and engage with the extended research community.

We put together an easy-to-use tool to help research teams understand cloud computing. The Azure for Researchers learning path focuses on basic cloud computing concepts, general terminology, and cloud computing services. Researchers can learn how to create and use a virtual machine and how to pick the best storage solution to persist their data.

Converging research for a unified goal

In 2018, researchers collaborated with Microsoft Research to experiment with cloud computing on Microsoft Azure. Not only did those projects transverse areas of study, but they forged a connected pathway between the traditionally siloed studies of ecology, civil engineering, social work, and more. This collaboration was the catalyst to many amazing discoveries.

One of the most interesting and timely examples is Duke University’s work with Microsoft through the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. Two dozen science and tech professionals from the North Carolina university and Microsoft converged and worked at breakneck speed. The result was innovative software for a ventilator splitter resistor system using airflow simulations so it could be customized for patients.

Many other universities and research teams are doing amazing work with Azure. You can read here about how Liberty University, Jacksonville University, Oregon State University, Carnegie Melon, and others are accelerating discoveries and research.

Partnerships accelerating accessible cloud computing

In July of 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Microsoft formed a new partnership to accelerate biomedical research. Through the NIH’s STRIDES Initiative, NIH-funded researchers and institutions speed up processing and analysis of large datasets and complex workloads with a special pricing on advanced cloud technology.

Microsoft is also proud to partner with CloudBank, a cloud access entity that enables computer science research and education communities to fulfill the computational potential of public clouds. Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and Principal Investigators (PIs) can request cloud funds for Azure through CloudBank as part of their proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF). PIs have these options:

  1. Request funds as part of their proposal to NSF (see list of eligible solicitations).

  2. Request funds for exploratory or classroom work (see CloudBank Community & Education page).

We´re so excited to support our partners as they advance life-changing research. To learn more or to connect with one of our Azure experts, please click here. You can find additional information on the following pages: