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2014 Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship projects announced

February 28, 2014 | By Microsoft blog editor

Every year since 2004, the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme has awarded scholarships to fund PhD students’ work on selected projects in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. We are pleased to announce the selected PhD projects for 2014.

The selection process was anything but easy. We received 79 eligible project proposals, which we assessed via a two-stage review process. During stage 1, a panel of Microsoft Researchers determined whether the proposed project met the basic selection criteria, including relevance to topics that are being researched at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Those proposals that advanced to stage 2 were then evaluated by internal and external reviewers, who provided detailed feedback.

As a result of this comprehensive evaluation process, we selected 22 projects that will receive funding through Microsoft Research Connections starting in the academic year 2014–2015. These include eight proposals that relate to the new Joint Initiative with University College London and the Joint Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University.
The 22 projects split across seven countries in the EMEA region (Belgium, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) and represent a variety of research areas, including computational biology, machine learning, health science, geo and environmental science, and computer science. Applicants, who are PhD supervisors, will collaborate with an assigned Microsoft Research co-supervisor to support a PhD student for up to three years as he or she carries out the proposed research project. Supervisors are actively recruiting graduate students for these PhD projects; candidate selection should be complete by June 2015.

Below is a list of the selected projects, including the PhD supervisor and the institution:

  • Large-Scale Diverse Learning for Structured Output Prediction
    Pawan Kumar, Ecole Centrale Paris, INRIA Saclay
  • Computational Algorithms as Biological Regulatory Networks
    Attila Csikasz-Nagy, King’s College London
  • Leveraging Data Reuse for Efficient Ranker Evaluation in Information Retrieval
    Maarten De Rijke, University of Amsterdam
  • Sketching Algorithms for Massive Graphs and Matrices
    Graham Cormode, University of Warwick
  • Verifying Concurrent Higher-Order Programs
    Matthew Hague, Royal Holloway University of London
  • GeoGraph: Efficient Geographically Distributed Graph Infrastructure
    Fernando Pedone, University of Lugano
  • Computation During Development: Characterising the Molecular Programs that Underlie Pluripotency and Differentiation in Embryoni
    Brian Hendrich, University of Cambridge
  • The Generality and Mechanism of Bet-Hedging in Bacteria
    James Locke, Sainsbury Laboratory
  • Statistical Models and Methods for Privacy Technologies
    Claudia Diaz, KU Leuven
  • Rethinking Resource Allocation in Data Centres: Optimization, Incentives, and Beyond
    Michael Schapira, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Why Do People Communicate?
    Constantine Sandis, Oxford Brookes University
  • Reasoning about Side Channels in Cryptographic Protocols
    Boris Köpf, IMDEA Software Institute
  • Understanding Flows of Personal Information in a Connected World
    Alastair Beresford, University of Cambridge
  • Advancing Random Forests and Other Ensembles
    Nando De Freitas, University of Oxford

Joint Initiative with University College London:

  • 3D World: Creation, Abstraction, and Application of Massive Crowd-sourced Collections of Heterogeneous 3D Models
    Niloy Mitra
  • Private Computation as a Service
    George Danezis
  • Understanding the Moving Quadruped: Computer Vision to Advance Science, Medicine, and Veterinary Care
    Gabriel Brostow
  • Ad-hoc Cross-Device Interactions Facilitating Small-Group Collaborative Explorations and Curation of Historic Documents
    Nicolai Marquardt

Joint Initiative with Informatics with University of Edinburgh:

  • Vision as Inverse Graphics
    Christopher Williams
  • TypeScript: The Next Generation
    Philip Wadler
  • Formal Language Support for Ecological Modelling
    Jane Hillston
  • SMT for Nonlinear Constraints with Application to Computational Biology
    Paul Jackson

Thank you to all who applied this year.

We look forward to receiving equally stimulating project proposals for next year’s PhD scholarships. Mark your calendar for September 1, 2014, when the submission tool for the 2015 applications will open.
—Daron Green, Director, Microsoft Research

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