2016 Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Projects Announced


By Daron Green, Director, Microsoft Research 

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 2016.

This year we received 40 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 a board of 89 researchers from Microsoft Research Laboratories, who provided detailed feedback.

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Ultimately, we selected seventeen projects to receive funding through Microsoft Research starting in the academic year 2016–2017. These include six proposals that relate to the Joint Initiative with University College London and the Joint Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University.

The seventeen projects are located in six countries across Europe (Austria, Germany, Sweden 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, 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 March 2017.

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

  • Bit-level Accurate Reasoning and Interpolation
    Georg Weissenbacher, TU Wien, Austria
  • Continuous Listening Services: Leveraging Sociological Understandings of Talk for Continuous Agent Input
    Barry Brown, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Computational Design of Nonlinear Functions using Nucleic Acids
    Vishwesh Kulkarni, University of Warwick, UK
  • Data-Efficient Reinforcement Learning from Image Pixels
    Marc Deisenroth, Imperial College London, UK
  • Learning to Infer in Graphical Models and Probabilistic Programmes
    Yee Whye The, University of Oxford
  • Lightweight Concurrency Modelling
    Mike Dodds, University of York, UK
  • Meaningful Metadata: The Things I Wish I Knew
    Wendy Moncur, University of Dundee, UK
  • Medical Image Analysis in the Cloud: Application to Early Stage Cancer Detection
    Ben Glocker, Imperial College London, UK
  • Modelling the Survival and Proliferation of Cancer Cells in Metastasis
    Benjamin Hall, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Smart Molecular Biosensors: Design Principles and Foundational Technologies
    James Ajioka, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Towards total Immersion: Accurate Reconstruction of Lights, Materials and 3D Geometry from RGB, Depth and Motion
    Andreas Geiger, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany

Joint Initiative with University College London:

  • Conversational Search: Mathematical modelling and Applications
    Jun Wang
  • Estimating the Credibility of Health Information on the Web
    Ingemar Cox
  • A Highly Scalable Optical Switch Fabric for Data Centre Networks
    Benn Thomsen

Joint Initiative with Informatics with University of Edinburgh:

  • Dense Visual Tracking for Active Manipulation
    Maurice Fallon 
  • Rack-Scale Interconnect Fabrics for Disaggregated Memory
    Boris Grot 
  • Reducing the Annotation Tax of Programming Language Types using Machine Learning and Big Code
    Charles Sutton

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, 2016, when the submission tool for the 2017 applications will open.

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