Bourses d’Etudes – Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship

Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship

How to apply for a Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship

The PhD Scholarship Programme recognises and supports exceptional students who show the potential to make an outstanding contribution to science and computing. This programme supports PhD students in computing and those working at the intersection of computing and the sciences.

Only PhD supervisors should apply. If their project is selected, the supervisor has up to a year to find the best possible student for the project. Joint applications by two supervisors from different disciplines are especially encouraged.

On this page:
Eligibility Criteria
Application Process
Selection Process

Application deadline: Top16 September 2009
Notification of results: December 2009

Eligibility Criteria

We usually consider only one application per university department or per laboratory of a national research institution.

Only applications from countries in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East will be considered. Some additional criteria apply in some of these countries (see Country-Specific Application Guidelines below).

Only applications in research areas relatively close to the ones researchers at Microsoft Research in Cambridge focus on will be considered. These areas are:

Computational Science
Computer-Mediated Living
Constraint Reasoning
Machine Learning and Perception
Online Services and Advertising
Programming, Principles, and Tools
Systems and Networking
Unless otherwise specified, applications may only be submitted through the online application tool.

Application Process

Applications are accepted in English and in electronic form only through the online application tool. After you create an application in the online application system, you can modify it at any time before the application deadline.

Applications are accepted only through a student’s institution, such as from the PhD supervisor or a departmental secretary. We do not accept applications from students directly.

Applications should contain the following:
An online Web form that includes contact details of supervisor(s) and possible reviewers.
Ideally, one of the suggested reviewers should be from Microsoft Research. If no suitable Microsoft researcher can be identified, it may mean that the proposed research project is too far from our areas of interest.
A project proposal of maximum four (4) A4 pages in 10-point font, including references.
Accepted formats: plain text or Microsoft Office Word only.
The research project proposal should address the following points:
Evidence that the research supervisor would be suitable to supervise of a PhD student for the proposed research project.
This may include a short list of recent and relevant publications of the supervisor.
Evidence that the department or laboratory offers a suitable environment for research in the proposed area.
Basis for the research (motivations and brief state-of-the-art, including key references).
Hypothesis under investigation and main aims.
Research strategy with significant milestones if identified.
Methods of research (for example, main techniques, experiments, and trials).
Details of any collaboration with other departments/research bodies.
Expected outcomes (for example, software tools).
Applications must be complete and received by the announced deadline to be considered. Proposals received after this deadline will not be considered.

Country-Specific Application Guidelines

In Germany, some PhD scholarships are offered to some students of the International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. For other institutions, please follow the instructions on this page.

United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, we are able to offer co-funding with the UK Research Councils through the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards (DHPA). Interested applicants simply need to tick the appropriate box on the application form. The DHPA FAQ explains the benefits of this programme.

Selection Process

Applications are on a competitive basis and we anticipate a high level of demand for scholarships (the average selection rate has been around 20 percent over the last 5 years). Following receipt of such applications, each is carefully reviewed by researchers from universities and from Microsoft Research and the best proposals are selected. For reference, you may consult the evaluation form sent to reviewers.

After a ranking based on the ‘marks’ of the reviewers (when the number of reviews permit it), a shortlist of applications is drawn and are then ranked manually per research area by Microsoft Researchers using all the information provided to us by the expert reviewers as well as additional information such as the relevance of the research to our particular interests, the interest of one of our researchers to get involved in the project, and so on. The rankings from each research areas are then combined, trying to keep a good balance between each area.

Decisions are made solely at the discretion of Microsoft Research and all decisions are final.

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