Research Fellows Program at Microsoft Research India

Research Fellows Program at Microsoft Research India


Research Fellows Program

The Research Fellows (RF) Program at Microsoft Research India (MSR India) exposes bright, young minds in India to world-class research and the state-of-the-art in technology. The program prepares students for careers in research, engineering, as well as entrepreneurship. MSR India has some of the best researchers pushing the frontiers of computer science and technology. Research Fellows have contributed to all aspects of the research lifecycle, spanning ideation, implementation, evaluation, and deployment.

MSR Research Fellows Alumni:

  • Joined top PhD programs at universities such as MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, etc.
  • Started companies such as Everwell, Capillary, and Ola!
  • Are working at Microsoft (India and US) in development positions.


Candidates should have completed BS/BE/BTech or MS/ME/MTech in Computer Science or related areas, graduating by summer 2020. We evaluate candidates based on a combination of factors including academic performance, raw smarts, development skills, and proven ability or aptitude for research and software development. Microsoft offers an inclusive work environment, and we value diversity in our workforce.

Research Fellows Roles

Selected candidates spend 1 to 2 years at MSR India. Different roles require a different combination of skills. Current and past RFs have worked on: solving deep theoretical problems, pushing the boundaries of AI, designing new programming languages, field work in rural India, prototyping communication and sensing hardware, optimizing database queries, and building software systems. Regardless, they all consistently aim to create academic, industry and societal impact. Be sure to tell us what excites you most!

Application procedure

Apply with your CV, a statement of purpose (detailing your interests and your contributions to one important project), and at least one letter of recommendation. Submit via the Microsoft careers website:

Important dates

For 2019-2020, we will review applications in two cycles:

  • October 11, 2019: Deadline for full consideration in first cycle
  • November – December 2019: Offers extended to first cycle of applicants
  • February 21, 2020: Deadline for full consideration in second cycle
  • April – May 2020: Offers extended to second cycle of applicants
  • July 2020: Research Fellows start (from both first and second application cycles)

For candidates who have completed a PhD, we have a different program called Post-Doctoral Research Fellow program.


The fellowship experience: in their own words

See what some of our alumni have to say about their experience at MSR India

Great launch pad

“Awesome ‘pre-doc’ program that convinced me about a research career. Great launch pad after undergrad to hit the ground running during my PhD!” — Ganesh Ananthanarayanan, Research Fellow

Freedom to think for myself

“I really loved meeting a lot of people from different backgrounds in computer science, be it researchers or the diverse interns. It gave me a broad idea about research in CS. I liked the fact that I was always working on new code, and not having to maintain old code (as in traditional software companies). The best part about my work was the freedom to think for myself, the independence and ownership of my project.” — Pavan A, Research Fellow

Helped in my future as an entrepreneur

“Great program. Helped me build an analytical rigour beyond college and a curiosity for all things tech that helped in my future as an entrepreneur.” — Bhavish Aggarwal, Research Fellow

Gave me a 2-year head start

“For me personally, the RAship @ MSRI, cleared any hesitations about wanting to pursue a career in research. Being able to work with really smart people, familiarizing with hottest problems across different CS fields and learning/adopting the rigorous approach to tackle them, gave me a 2-year head start at grad school. An awesome bunch of people to hang out with, if one is interested in CS research.” — Raajay Vishwanathan, Research Fellow

A remarkable two year journey

“The MSR RA program was a remarkable two year journey that gave me tremendous opportunities to find technological solutions for the world’s biggest problems in the domain of healthcare, information access and civic engagement.” — Aditya Vashistha, Research Fellow

Amazing mentors

“Three attributes come to my mind while describing my time at MSR India as an RA: Amazing mentors, a very open atmosphere to brainstorm and work on exciting problems that you feel most passionate about, and really smart and friendly people around you to hang out with.” — Rahul Kidambi, Research Fellow

Research how technology could help me be the change

“I got to research how technology could help me be the change in rural India and launch Microsoft’s first nonprofit spin-off, Digital Green.” — Rikin Gandhi, Research Fellow


“I absolutely loved it. I cannot think any other option that would be more fun and more useful for a research career. Phenomenal! And Fantastic is what I always feel when I think about my AR times.” — Abishek Kumarasubramanian, Research Fellow

Helped me unlock my research potential

“The AR program gave me the chance to work with the brightest minds. It helped me to unlock my research potential and eventually achieve my dream career path.” — Tathagata Das, Research Fellow

Independent thinking was encouraged

“I liked the fact that independent thinking was encouraged which has helped me in developing my research abilities. Another plus point is being surrounded by researchers and other RAs who have greatly inspired me.” — Prabhanjan Ananth, Research Fellow

Design solutions for real-world problems

“The time I spent as RA at MSR India was very memorable and enriching experience for me. It exposed a young graduate like me, who was fresh out of college, to the world of research. I worked under close mentorship of world class researchers for two years, where I learned how to design solutions for real-world problems, which have the potential to impact millions of people. I was encouraged to publish papers and attend top tier conferences, which helped me to choose research as the long-term career option.” — Abhijnan Chakraborty, Research Fellow

Work with world class researchers

“MSR gave me opportunity to work with world class researchers and convert my ideas into working product used by millions of peoples worldwide.” — Suraj Jain, Research Fellow

Exposed to the frontiers of research

“At MSR, I was exposed to the frontiers of research. Working with an exceptional mentor and colleagues helped me towards gaining the much-needed maturity before starting grad school.” — Pritish Kamath, Research Fellow