Data Science for Research

Data Science for Research


Microsoft Research provides a continuously refreshed collection of free datasets, tools, and resources designed to advance academic research in many areas of computer science, such as natural language processing and computer vision. Access these datasets at

Our programs over the years have supported academics to push the state-of-the-art with data science and cloud:

  • NSF Big Data Hubs Innovation collaboration that brought together top academic data scientists from universities around the U.S.
  • Azure for Research programs that trained thousands of researchers using training labs on how to use Azure for Data Science.
  • Cloud AI Research Challenge that highlighted projects that best show how Microsoft AI services can be used. View the winners here.

Check the News and Blog to learn more about these and other initiatives.

Dataset Directory

The collection of free Microsoft Research datasets can be accessed from the Microsoft Open Data Repository.

Download or copy directly to a cloud-based Data Science Virtual Machine for a seamless development experience.



Learning resources:

Get started with Azure

Hands-on labs based on research datasets:

Microsoft Azure for Research Online


News and Blog

Calling all aspiring women in Data Science

March 12, 2019 | What started as a one-day conference organized by Stanford University in 2015, Women in Data Science (WiDS) has blossomed into a movement bringing together women data scientists and aspiring data scientists via a series of over 150 virtual and in-person events worldwide, ultimately culminating in the March 4, 2019 main event at Stanford…

Helping proteomics scientists share peptide data: Azure does the heavy lifting

July 11, 2018 | Scientific research breakthroughs are often achieved when many different scientists, in different labs and organizations, work together on a single task. That happened at the turn of the 21st century with the Human Genome Project, where human DNA was mapped for future reference and is now key to many breakthroughs in medicine…

Creating intelligent water systems to unlock the potential of Smart Cities

July 31, 2017 | The newspaper headlines about “Bangalore’s looming water crisis” have been ominous, with one urban planning expert proclaiming that Bangalore will become “unlivable” in a few years because of water scarcity. This is a critical issue that threatens the future of one of India’s fastest-growing cities. In fact, water availability is a cause for worry in the entire country. According to an estimate by The Asian Development…

Democratizing AI to improve citizen health

March 13, 2017 | Doctors make life-saving — and life-changing — decisions every day. But how do they know that they are making the best decisions? Can artificial intelligence (AI) help? “Before evidence-based medicine, decision-making in health care was heavily reliant on the expertise and knowledge of the health professional, usually a doctor. What has happened in the last 20, 30 years is that the health…

Cloud computing changes the way we practice public speaking

June 16, 2016 | People often rank public speaking as the number one fear that they face. New cloud-based technology from researchers at the University of Rochester lets speakers polish and practice at home in front of their computer camera, while the analysis provides instant feedback about improvement. Leading this effort known as ROC Speak is M. Ehsan Hoque, an assistant professor of…

Preventing flood disasters with Cortana Intelligence Suite

May 5, 2016 | On October 31, 2013, the city of Austin, Texas, faced a destructive flood. At the time, I was visiting David Maidment, Chaired Professor of the Civil Engineering Center for Research in Water Resources on site at the University of Texas at Austin. The day before the flood, we had been discussing research and analytics around the long-standing drought conditions across western Texas. Overnight…

Securing safe water through Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud

April 14, 2016 | Jacob Katuva used to get up at dawn to cycle 12 miles from his village to collect water with his uncles and cousins when he was growing up in Kenya. Now he is part of a research team at the University of Oxford using cloud computing and mobile sensors to monitor water wells and help ensure that thousands of villages in rural Africa and Asia have a safe, secure supply of water. Millions of people across the world fear not having…

Predicting ocean chemistry using Microsoft Azure

February 2, 2016 | Shellfish farmer Bill Dewey remembers the first year he heard of ocean acidification, a phrase that means a change in chemistry for ocean water. It was around 2008, and Dewey worked for Taylor Shellfish, a company that farms oysters in ocean waters off the coast of Washington. That year, thousands of tiny “seed” oysters died off suddenly. Today, a cloud-based predictive system from the University of Washington…

All that RaaS: saving lives and transforming healthcare economics

August 28, 2015 | Stuart, a 66-year-old man with diabetes, felt lousy—constantly fatigued, nauseated, and short of breath after just the slightest exertion. His daughter, worried by his increasing frailty, took him to the emergency room at the local hospital. Her concern was amply justified: Stuart was suffering from heart failure. Like 5.1 million other…

Microsoft Azure helps researchers predict traffic jams

April 2, 2015 | More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and suburbs, and as just about any of these billions of people can tell you, urban traffic can be a nightmare. Cars stack up bumper-to-bumper, clogging our highways, jangling our nerves, taxing our patience, polluting our air, and taking a toll on our productivity. In short, traffic jams impair on our emotional, physical, and economic…

Cloud computing helps make sense of cloud forests

December 16, 2014 | The forests that surround Campos do Jordao are among the foggiest places on Earth. With a canopy shrouded in mist much of time, these are the renowned cloud forests of the Brazilian state of São Paulo. It is here that researchers from the São Paulo Research Foundation—better known by its Portuguese acronym, FAPESP—have partnered with Rafael Olivier, professor of ecology…