Cloud computing lets you spend more time on your research, providing all the computing you need, exactly when you need it
Whether it’s a computer with more memory, a cluster with thousands of cores, a big data platform, an internet of things solution, or open-source machine learning at scale, you can achieve more using the cloud. Microsoft Azure for Research awards offer large allocations of cloud computing for your research project, and already supports hundreds of researchers worldwide across all domains.
Special request for proposals: Internet of Things
The Azure for Research program is offering cloud computing resource grants to researchers and scientists who continue to explore emerging challenges, basic research, and new applications related to the ubiquitous devices and networking that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT). Learn more >
“Azure for me was perfect. I could scale my compute capability with my current computational needs. What is also great is that as we didn’t have to outlay any capital investment in a particular architecture I could also change up the physical makeup of my cluster as required. I can set up a whole new cluster with just a few lines of script code. You are of course also admin on your cluster which gave me ultimate flexibility to instantly install and update whatever tools and software I needed, or just wanted to test out.”
—Simon O’Hanlon, Imperial College London
Azure in action
Researchers around the world are using Microsoft Azure to enable them to accelerate their research. Find out more:
- Democratizing AI to improve citizen health
- A new understanding of the world through grassroots Data Science education at UC Berkeley
- Cloud computing changes the way we practice public speaking
- Preventing flood disasters with Cortana Intelligence Suite
- Intelligent cloud computing lifts villages out of water poverty
- Untangling airports using open source tools on Microsoft Azure
- Saving shellfish by predicting ocean chemistry
- Using RaaS to predict hospital readmission rates
- Cloud computing helps researchers predict traffic jams
- Cloud computing helps make sense of cloud forests
If you are using Microsoft Azure for a cloud-based research project and would like to share your story, please let us know and we will share your great work with the community. Email us at email@example.com.
Microsoft Azure can help you do your research better, bigger, and faster. Our awards program provides access to significant amounts of cloud computing resources for a year, so you can easily experiment and scale up your project quickly to achieve more. Submitting a short proposal is easy, and you will receive a decision within four weeks. This is an ongoing program, with proposals evaluated every two months.
General requests for proposals
We welcome proposals from researchers in any discipline, and are looking for projects that can take advantage of the cloud to help accelerate their work. Microsoft Azure provides an open, flexible, global platform that supports multiple programming languages, tools, and frameworks including: Linux, Python, Java, Hadoop, and the Microsoft .NET Framework. It offers easy-to-use capabilities for using Hadoop and Spark (HDInsight), Azure Machine Learning (supporting your own Python and R code, as well as Jupyter notebooks), IoT Hub, and stream analytics platforms.
We are especially interested in research proposals that utilize multiple Azure services (ie. Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Data Analytics, Cortana Analytics Services, HPC, etc) as part of their investigation or solution.
Special requests for proposals
In addition to our general requests for proposals, we are also interested in proposals with a focus in the following areas:
Submit your proposal
We welcome applications from Faculty, researchers, and graduate students affiliated with an academic institution or non-profit research laboratory.
Step 1: Ensure that your proposal meets the following requirements:
- Length: Does not exceed three pages in length
- Language: Must be written in English
- Include: The research problem you are working on and why it is important.
How you will use Microsoft Azure and resource requirement estimates (e.g., number of core, storage requirements) for your project
- Title: Proposal titles must begin with the corresponding key phrase for identification purposes
- “Internet of Things”
- “Public Health”
- “Data Science”
Step 2: Go to the online submission tool.
Step 3: Submit by the deadline. Proposals are considered in even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December).
For more details about how to produce a good proposal, see our FAQ.
Award program eligibility
To qualify for our awards program, applicants must be affiliated with an academic institution or non-profit research laboratory. In addition to individual investigator projects, we are interested in projects that will support access to services and projects that exemplify valued data to a collaboration or community.
Access Azure resources
In addition to the research awards, there are several other ways to access free Microsoft Azure resources. These include a free 30-day trial available on the Microsoft Azure portal. Students can get free access to Azure through our Dreamspark program.
Azure for Research award program FAQ
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Microsoft Azure for Research award program and the proposal submission process.
When are proposals due for each program?
Proposals are due on the 15th of even-numbered months (February, April, June, August, October, and December).
Why are there different types of Microsoft Azure for Research awards?
Different award types represent unique areas of research such as data science, public health or climate research. The submission process and award grants are currently identical, and just select the appropriate program on the menu when submitting your proposal online.
What is included in an Azure for Research award?
We provide the researcher a specified dollar amount of Azure credits that they can then expend for any of the available Azure services (VMs, Storage, DB, Hadoop, Spark, Containers, etc.). The research grants do not include direct monetary or cash awards.
Are multi-year awards available for researchers’ or institutions’ sustained computing needs?
The Azure for Research awards are intended to allow researchers to learn about, explore, and perform initial viability assessments of the Azure Cloud Services. The awards are not intended to be long-term grants of Azure over multiple years for sustained research computing needs.
Are Azure for Research awards available in all countries?
The awards are available in all countries in which Azure is available. This list is continually growing. View a country list and the full terms and conditions here.
What is a Microsoft account?
Your Microsoft account (previously called Windows Live ID) is the combination of an email address and a password that you use to sign in to services like Outlook.com, Skype, OneDrive, or Xbox LIVE. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, it is easy to create one—and it’s free. You can even create a Microsoft account that can be used by your entire research team to access your Azure resources.
I am a student. Do I qualify for a Azure for Research award?
The awards are for research projects. Faculty, research staff members, graduate students, and postdocs are qualified to submit proposals. Undergraduate and Masters students require a faculty supervisor to submit a proposal if it part of an ongoing research program.
I am teaching a class that will use Azure for class projects. Do I qualify?
Unfortunately, this program does not provide Azure for teaching and education.
What does a good proposal look like?
Proposals are short (a couple of pages), so we are looking for concise descriptions that include the following:.
- Project summary. We are particularly interested in projects where researchers are making use of higher-level Azure services such as machine learning, HDInsight, and IoT Hub (i.e. Not just virtual machines and storage). You can see what is available at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/
- Impact. Will this award be of significant benefit to a community of users, either within a discipline or organization. Will it push science forwards? It should be a single project/theme, not a whole group’s activities. List collaborators who you will work with, and/or use your service. Also include how will it be disseminated, beyond academic publications, e.g. open-source solution
- Resources. Do you have resources (people/effort) in place to complete the project successfully? The award is only for Azure resources (compute, storage, bandwidth, etc), not for people. The size of the awards are large. A request for 20 TB of storage and 200,000 hours of compute time is reasonable. A request for 1 GB of storage and 20 hours of compute time is too small for an award.
You do not need to include a CV/resume, previous results, grants, or bibliographic items in your proposal and no special formatting is required. If you are completely unfamiliar with cloud computing and Azure, we recommend that you try our hands-on labs.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure provides an open, flexible, global platform that supports multiple programming languages, tools, and frameworks including: Linux, Python, Java, Hadoop, and the Microsoft .NET Framework. It offers easy-to-use capabilities for using Hadoop and Spark (HDInsight), Azure Machine Learning (supporting your own Python and R code, as well as Jupyter notebooks), IoT Hub, and stream analytics platforms. You can see what is available at Azure Services.
What sort of projects are you looking for?
We are looking for projects that will advance the state of research by using Azure. These projects may be individual scientific investigations or activities that support a research discipline by hosting data and data access and analysis services. We are excited by original ideas. We are thrilled by projects that make cloud-based open source tools available to the community. View examples of successful projects on our about tab under ‘Azure in action’.
What are things to avoid in my proposal?
We are not interested in benchmarking exercises. View examples of successful projects on our about tab under ‘Azure in action’.
Will you limit awards to one per university?
Not at all, quite the opposite. Some universities may generate many good proposals that will be funded, creating a community of Azure users in the university.
I work for a start-up that came from a university project. Do I qualify?
No, but you may qualify for the BizSpark program.
I work for a nonprofit research lab. Do I qualify?
Yes. If you are uncertain about your qualifications, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Azure for Research hands-on labs
The hands-on labs are intended to familiarize researchers and data scientists with the services Azure offers to aid them in their research, especially with regard to high-performance computing, big-data analysis, and analyzing data streaming from Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.
Our hands-on labs are detailed walk-throughs, and you can download the material and work through it yourself. The labs are available under an open license. Feel free to re-use this material for your own courses, and please let us know if you are using it.
Watch our online training videos developed to provide a core curriculum for scientists interested in using Microsoft Azure for research. We recommend watching them in sequence from 1 to 6.
Our one-hour, interactive online sessions on Microsoft Azure have been turned into a great webinar video series. The webinars were designed to help you understand the value and capabilities of cloud computing and how you can use it for your research in practical ways.
Interested in Azure Machine Learning? Access tutorials that’ll help with everything from setting up your first predictive analytics experiment, to publishing results, to creating a complete machine learning solution.
We offer a selection of technical papers to help researchers quickly start working with Azure. The papers cover a range of topics from ‘Getting started with Azure’ to ‘Azure Virtual Machines’ to ‘Azure Cloud Services’. Some prior technical computing skills are assumed. Read our technical papers with instructions on using Azure features.
Getting started with Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft Azure for Research Overview (PDF, 961 KB)
- Microsoft Azure for Linux and Mac Users (PDF, 1.62 MB)
- An Introduction to Using Python with Microsoft Azure (PDF, 1.66 MB)
- Visualization with Excel Tools and Microsoft Azure (PDF, 1.61 MB)
- Creating Microsoft Azure Web Sites (PDF, 1.6 MB)
- Managing Scientific Data with Microsoft Azure Storage (PDF, 1.26 MB)
- Building Scientific Data Solutions in Microsoft Azure (PDF, 1.03 MB) Data (XLXS, 5.04 MB)
Microsoft Azure Cloud Services (Platform as a Service)
- Scaling a Microsoft Azure Cloud Service (PDF, 742 KB)
- Installing the Microsoft Azure BLAST Example (PDF, 991 KB)
- Building Scalable Services in Microsoft Azure with Python (PDF, 859 KB)
- High Performance Computing on Microsoft Azure for Scientific and Technical Applications (PDF, 1.04 MB)
- MATLAB Distributed Computing Server with HPC Cluster in Microsoft Azure (PDF, 2.39 MB)
Virtual machines in Microsoft Azure (Infrastructure as a Service)
- Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (PDF, 977 KB)
- Using and Contributing Virtual Machines to VM Depot (PDF 1.17 MB)
Azure IaaS for IT pros
Learn Microsoft Azure from the experts—and at no financial cost to you. These Microsoft Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) training courses cover key technical topics for IT pros and developers, including Azure Virtual Machines and virtual networks. In addition, IT pros can gain insight into platform-as-a-service (PaaS) implementation, including using PowerShell for automation and management, using Active Directory, migrating from on-premises to cloud infrastructure, and important licensing information. Enroll in our Azure training courses and discover the advantages of cloud computing with Microsoft Azure.