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2017 Microsoft Research PhD scholarships support break-through projects in six countries

January 31, 2017 | By Microsoft blog editor

By Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft Research

Since 2004, the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) has supported groundbreaking PhD projects. This year we have 17 projects that span six countries, and include research areas such as computational biology, machine learning, and health science.

The winning PhD projects for the 2017-2018 school academic year were selected from 33 PhD supervisor-led proposals. These 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. Supervisors are actively recruiting graduate students for these PhD projects with final candidates identified by March 2018.

PhD scholarship recipients conduct collaborative research with Microsoft researchers, and many receive internships at our labs. Since the program’s founding, the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme has supported 200 students from 51 institutions in 18 countries.

The selected PhD projects and their PhD supervisors for 2017 were:

Decoding the Network Logic Governing Resetting of Pluripotency
Austin Smith, University of Cambridge, UK

Deep Reinforcement Learning for Collaborative Game AI to Enhance Player Experience
Sam Devlin, University of York, UK

Designing Specialised Processors for DB Workloads
Anastasia Ailamaki, EPFL, Switzerland

Efficient DNA Storage Using Composite Letters
Zohar Yakhini, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Human-Centred Machine Learning for Adaptive Agents with Vision
Rebecca Fiebrink, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

Learning Computing with Torino: a Physical Programming Language Inclusive of Children with Visual Disabilities
Sue Sentence, King’s College London, UK

Logical Approach to Code Generation and Optimization
Greta Yorsh, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Modelling Infective Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis
Andres Floto, University of Cambridge, UK

OutSider: Assessing and Mitigating Side-Channel Leaks on Commodity Platforms
Herbert Bos Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Holland

Power Efficient Rack-Scale Fabrics
Noa Zilberman, University of Cambridge, UK

Programmable Single-Cell Biocomputers with Scalable Signal Processing Capacity
Baojun Wang, University of Edinburgh, UK

Providing and Verifying Security on Compromised Platforms
François Dupressoir, University of Surrey, UK

Reinforcement Learning for Adaptive User Interaction
Shimon Whiteson, University of Oxford, UK

Shareable Dynamic Media in Hybrid Meetings
Clemens Klokmose, Aarhus University, Denmark

SMVRF: Secure Messaging Verifiably Realized in F*
Chris Brzuska, Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH), Germany

STARCH: SmarT ARchitectures for Data Center Switching
Wayne Luk, Imperial College London, UK

Towards Ethical Development of Symbiotic Human-Machine Systems; Creating Ethical Frameworks and Solutions
Ewa Luger, University of Edinburgh, UK

Training and Tuning Deep Neural Networks: Faster, Stronger, Better
Volkan Cevher, EPFL, Switzerland

Joint Initiative with Informatics with University of Edinburgh:

Improving the Usability of TLS APIs
Kami Vaniea, University of Edinburgh, UK

Project selection process

These projects were assessed via a two-stage review process. During stage one, 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 two were then evaluated by a board of 80 researchers from Microsoft Research Laboratories.

For those interested in applying for scholarships for next year, online applications open September 1, 2017.