About Microsoft Research

At Microsoft Research, our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery and technology innovation to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We do this by bringing together the best minds across diverse disciplines and backgrounds to take on the most pressing research challenges for Microsoft and for society.

Our work

Science and technology have never been more deeply interconnected. Advancements in computing technologies enable new scientific discoveries which, in turn, fuel progress and catalyze new innovations. We aim to ensure that this cycle of advancement benefits everyone by envisioning and realizing the promise of technology across the breadth and depth of the human experience.  

As a global research community within one of the world’s largest technology companies, we have the opportunity to learn from the experience of billions of users in hundreds of countries across every industry. From this unique perspective, we’re able to view society itself as a customer, positioning our research to unlock new empowered experiences and advance digital transformation at planetary scale.

Our research embodies Microsoft’s commitment to long-term thinking, intellectual rigor, and sustained investment in advancing fundamental knowledge. We are empowered to explore and experiment beyond the typical product cycle, or to roll up our sleeves and solve problems on behalf of our customers.

Our award-winning research community is working in labs and locations across the globe, to pursue advances across a wide range of research areas, including:

Achieving Impact 

While science and technology present boundless opportunities for exploration, we aim to achieve breakthroughs that are beneficial to society and aligned with Microsoft’s mission. To do this, we consider current and future research directions in computer science, and across all of the above research areas, through the lens of the positive impact we aspire to create for customers, communities and society at large.

Advancing human knowledge and foundational technologies: Science and technology have never been more deeply interconnected. We aim to accelerate and democratize scientific discovery by empowering the global research community with leading-edge tools enabled by artificial intelligence, hyperscale computing and other advances in computing technology. In turn, we aim to draw upon new fundamental insights to inform and inspire new breakthroughs and computing paradigms.

Amplifying human creativity and achievement: We believe that technology exists to amplify human potential and creativity across the breadth of our abilities and circumstances.  We are focused on empowering people to pursue their goals, to discover meaning in their work and play, and to stay connected to what’s important to them. We aim to create technologies that can understand our intent and context and smoothly adapt, thereby transforming the way individuals engage with machines, data, and each other.

Fostering a resilient and sustainable society: The need to address global challenges such as sustainability and pandemic response has never been more pressing. We aim to create more robust interconnected systems of people and technology capable of identifying societal and ecological patterns and enabling coordinated action. Effective new approaches in these areas will not only help us respond to and recover from systemic disruptions but could ultimately help us anticipate and prevent them.

Supporting a healthy global society: We have witnessed incredible progress in advancing science and technology for improving human health, but the benefits of these advancements are unevenly distributed throughout society. We aim to help ensure that every person on the planet can live to their physical and mental potential by advancing inclusive and equitable technologies supporting the health of individuals and populations. In pursuit of this aim, we collaborate across disciplines and institutions at the intersection of computing technology, health, and life sciences.

Ensuring that technology is trustworthy and beneficial to everyone: Advances in technology can present tremendous opportunities along with equally significant risks. We aim to enable individuals and organizations to understand and govern their data and technology in alignment with human intent and in adherence with applicable regulations. We create leading-edge tools for realizing technology ethics from principle to practice, engage at the intersection of technology and policy, and ultimately aim to ensure that the continued advancement of technology is safe, secure, and beneficial to society.

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Our culture

Since our foundation in 1991 by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold and Rick Rashid, Microsoft Research has blended academic and commercial culture to enable some of the best minds on the planet to take on bold challenges at planetary scale.

We are rigorous and objective: since its founding in 1991, Microsoft Research has been committed to an academic research approach that advances our understanding of the world and how we use technology to interact with it, and with each other. 

We take calculated risks: as an industrial research lab, we contribute ideas that help improve Microsoft’s existing products and services and clear paths to new businesses – but we start from a place of curiosity and exploration. This leads us to take on challenges with an eye towards longer-term benefit and a willingness to learn from failure as we explore new frontiers.  

We show and share our work: over the past thirty years, our research community and collaborators have published tens of thousands of papers and released hundreds of open-source projects and datasets. Nearly all of the research we produce is shared with the research community. 

We move the conversation forward: Alongside new papers and new inventions, conversations and constructive debate are key to advancing the state of the art across all the sciences, and to aligning the research community with the people its research aims to serve. That’s why we share much of our research through conferences, events and other forums where these important dialogues take place.  

We engage with the entire research ecosystem: we work across disciplines – from social sciences, to economics, to mathematics and physics and collaborate across the boundaries between research and engineering and with our peers in academia, industry and government. We learn, build, and amplify research as we convene within the research ecosystem and co-create research that impacts society and the world.

Growing and achieving together

We believe that the best solutions emerge from a mix of ideas and perspectives across different disciplines, cultures, background and lived experiences. The challenges we face as a society demand bright and motivated people from every walk of life. That’s why we invest in the next generation of talent through our internships, awards and grants. Over the years, we’ve helped launch and advance the careers of thousands of researchers – offering early opportunities to work towards addressing challenges, side by side with the best minds in their field.  

By creating an environment where diverse minds can come as they are and do what they love, we aim to foster a research community that reflects the world it is meant to serve.