Microsoft Research Lab – India

Microsoft Research Lab – India

“MSR India conducts research across a wide spectrum of topics spanning foundations of computer science, systems, security, machine learning and artificial intelligence, human computer interaction, and the role of technology in solving societal problems. Our researchers are curious and bold, and we have a track record of pushing the frontiers of knowledge in theory as well as real-world systems. We collaborate freely with academia, and play an active role in mentoring and training young researchers.”
— Sriram Rajamani, PhD, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India

Overview

In keeping with the global mission of Microsoft Research, Microsoft Research India is engaged in cutting-edge basic and applied research in multiple fields in computing, information technology, and related areas.  Microsoft Research India also collaborates extensively with the Indian and international scientific community and other Microsoft research labs to help push forward the boundaries of research. Our current areas of work range from theoretical computer science (algorithms, cryptography), systems (distributed systems and networking, programming languages and tools, security and privacy), machine learning, natural language processing, human computer interaction, and applications of technology to solve societal problems (such as education, health, affordable access to technology).  Some examples of our current projects include 99Dots, DataMap, TrustedCloud, Melange and Massively Empowered Classroom. You can see a more comprehensive listing of our work by clicking the “Groups” tab.

India has a population of more than a billion people, more than 20 officially recognized languages, and innumerable dialects and startlingly different terrains and cultures. While 60% of the population derives its income from agriculture and related activities, India also has one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic IT industries. This wide, and sometimes stark, diversity makes it an ideal environment for research in a number of areas.

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Research Fellow Program

The Research Fellows 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 impact.

MSR Research Fellows Alumni

  • Joined top Ph.D. programs, at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, UT Austin, and U. Washington.
  • Started companies such as Everwell, Capillary, and Ola!
  • Taken up development positions in Microsoft (India and US).

Eligibility

Candidates should have completed BS/BE/BTech or MS/ME/MTech in Computer Science or related areas, graduating by summer 2018. We evaluate candidates based on a combination of factors including their 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, 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

Applications for the 2018 cycle of the Research Fellow program are open now! 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. Please submit your application via our careers website, at https://careers.research.microsoft.com/

Important Dates

For 2017-2018, we will review applications in two cycles:

  • September 22, 2017: Deadline for full consideration in first cycle.
  • November – December, 2017: Offers extended to first cycle of applicants.
  • February 2, 2018: Deadline for full consideration in second cycle.
  • April – May, 2018: Offers extended to second cycle of applicants.
  • July, 2018: 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.

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

Ganesh Ananthanarayanan

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

Pavan A

“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.”

Bhavish Aggarwal

“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.”

Raajay Vishwanathan

“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.”

Aditya Vashistha

“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.”

Rahul Kidambi

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.”

Rikin Gandhi

“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.”

Abishek Kumarasubramanian

“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.”

Tathagata Das

“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.”

Prabhanjan Ananth

“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.”

Abhijnan Chakraborty

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.”

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

Pritish Kamath

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.”

Academic Outreach

MSR India is involved in various efforts to make the research ecosystem in computer science in India more vibrant and to inspire our vast technical student population to consider careers in research. We believe that a robust research ecosystem can make significant contributions to the country’s development and also facilitate a healthy talent pipeline.

The following are a couple of our outreach initiatives:

Student Travel Grants

Travel Grant support offered to students from Indian universities to defray costs of travel, fees, accommodation, meals and incidental expenses, when attending top-tier computer science research conferences outside India. We believe that the exposure that the students get by attending and presenting papers at these conferences enhances the quality of their own research effort, facilitates peer review/ feedback and enhances their research careers.

Students can apply for a travel grant via https://msrprograms.cloudapp.net/TravelGrants/. Applications are evaluated on criteria like the quality of the conference, whether it’s a poster or full presentation/talk, collaboration with any MSR researcher, etc. We do get a large number of applications, so we advise students to submit their applications at least 45 days in advance of the conference dates. For more information/ queries, please email travelgrants@microsoft.com.

Conference and Workshop Sponsorships

MSR India offers sponsorships to conferences in the area of computer science. While sponsorship decisions are made on a case-to case basis, we typically consider top level conferences where researchers from MSR India are involved as committee members. For more information, please email Satish Sangameswaran.

Why work at Microsoft Research Lab in India

Microsoft Research aims to become one of the best computing research laboratories in the world, and therefore hires the most talented researches across various disciplines. Our academic research model promotes creativity and independent thinking, while providing a challenging and open work environment. While Microsoft Research India has defined certain research areas, we encourage our researchers to pursue projects of their choice. We work closely with our sister labs across the world to promote engagements amongst researchers, which leads to cooperation on research projects and exposure to the work being done in the other labs. As a result of our focus on hiring the best minds in computing research, Microsoft Research can count some of the best known names in computing research as our employees, including several Turing award winners. Microsoft Research India also works closely with leading universities in India, through research collaborations, PhD Fellowships, travel grants, intern programs, and research funding.