Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Research Blog

The Microsoft Research blog provides in-depth views and perspectives from our researchers, scientists and engineers, plus information about noteworthy events and conferences, scholarships, and fellowships designed for academic and scientific communities.

2018 EMEA Scholarships to Advance Compelling Research in Healthcare, AI, Future of Work

March 26, 2018 | By Microsoft blog editor

Imagine a DNA-based computer that can see multiple biomarkers in complex diseases such as cancer. Or code that supports machine learning applications updating and fine-tuning itself depending on new hardware accelerators it detects in a system, without any intervention from the user. Such advances represent only two of the transformative visions being advanced this coming year via research supported by Microsoft Research.

Every year since 2004, the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme in EMEA awards scholarships to fund the most promising and groundbreaking computer science research by PhD students across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We are extremely proud today to highlight some of the selected projects for 2018.

The selected projects cover a wide range of compelling research areas, including artificial intelligence, optics in the cloud, computational biology, and the future of work. This year Microsoft particularly encouraged submissions in the areas of advancing machine learning for healthcare, designing AI for human partnership and confidential computation.

The chosen applicants, PhD supervisors at universities, will collaborate with Microsoft researchers to co-supervise a PhD student for up to three years as they conduct the research. Supervisors are now actively recruiting top graduate students for these projects and candidate selection will be complete by March 2019.

The program is an integral part of Microsoft Research’s ongoing commitment to advance the most diverse and robust community of next-generation researchers worldwide. These efforts to date have sponsored more than 200 PhD students from more than 18 countries and over 50 institutions of higher learning across the region.

Among the selected projects is AI for Teams: The Future of Assisted Collaborative Work, studying the uptake of AI in team-working tools, with a particular emphasis on shaping the future design of this new genre of collaborative work. The research will examine how AI-based tools and services are being incorporated into work practices and knowledge-based activities with the aim of applying knowledge to develop design thinking in this domain. The research will intersect with concurrent work at Microsoft Research in the Human Experience and Design group focused on teams and the integration of AI.

Another project, Optics for the Cloud: Cost-Effective Assembly for Hybrid Integrated Photonic Switches will look at optical switching using photonic integrated circuits which hold the promise of low-latency, data transparent routing at the packet time scale. The assembly of integrated photonic switches involves the attachment of tens of optical fibers with deep-sub-micron-precision; this represents one of the greatest barriers to deploying switch technology and this project will devote itself to breakthroughs in the area of assembly methods that relax these precision requirements.

Statistical Learning and Adaptive Observation in Clinical Prediction: Methodology and Applications will examine how resource scarcity in in-patient healthcare facilities limits how frequently healthcare professionals can observe patients and/or monitor information collated in information systems. This project aims to integrate clinical prediction models with adaptive observation by developing methodology, motivated by two real-world exemplars – acute hospital care and cancer early detection. Key objectives include adapting and developing probabilistic modelling and machine learning frameworks, maintaining predictive accuracy and examining the utility of incorporating adaptive observation within prediction models.

Microsoft Research looks forward to the proposals for next year’s PhD Scholarship Programme in EMEA. Researchers should mark their calendars for September 1, 2018, when the submission tool for the 2019-2020 academic year applications goes live.

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