Microsoft —
PhD Research Fellowship

Note to PIs: The following program summary is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It does not replace the sponsor’s actual funding opportunity announcement. Always review the most recent version of the sponsor’s full announcement to verify that the deadline has not changed and to identify the most current program requirements.

About the fellowship

The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship is a global program that identifies and empowers the next generation of exceptional computing research talent. Microsoft recognizes the value of diversity in computing and aims to increase the pipeline of talent receiving advanced degrees in computing-related fields to build a stronger and inclusive computing-related research community. We currently offer PhD fellowships in Asia-Pacific, Canada and the United States, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), and Latin America.


  • Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Fellows should support this mission and embrace opportunities to foster diverse and inclusive cultures within their communities.

  • PhD students must be nominated by their university. Their nomination must be submitted by someone designated by the department chair’s office in order to ensure the number of nominations per department is not exceeded.

  • Students must be enrolled at a university in Canada or the United States.

  • Proposed research must be closely related to the general areas of research carried out by Microsoft Research lab members or those within an applied research group in other parts of Microsoft as noted in the Our research menu in the top navigation of this site and listed below. Explore our website to learn more about these areas of research.

    Artificial intelligence
    Audio & acoustics
    Computer vision
    Data platforms and analytics
    Ecology & environment
    Graphics & multimedia
    Hardware & devices
    Human-computer interaction
    Human language technologies
    Medical, health & genomics
    Programming languages & software engineering
    Quantum computing
    Search & information retrieval
    Security, privacy & cryptography
    Social sciences
    Systems & networking
    Technology for emerging markets
  • Students must be in their third year of their PhD program in the fall semester or quarter of 2021. The department chair’s office at the nominating university will need to attest that the student will be considered a third year PhD student at that time having taken into account transfers, approved leaves of absence, etc.

  • A maximum of four nominations per department will be accepted; if two or three students are nominated, then at least one nominee should help us increase the opportunities for students who identify as part of a community that is underrepresented in the field of computing, and if four are nominated, then at least two nominees should help us increase the opportunities for students who identify as part of a community that is underrepresented in the field of computing. This includes those who self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI+, active or veteran service member, and/or person with a disability.

  • The recipient must remain an active, full-time student in a PhD program during the two consecutive academic years of the award or forfeit the award. Fellowships are not available for extension. If you require time away for family or medical leave, this will be accommodated. If you are unsure if a particular need for time away will affect the award, you can contact Microsoft Research Fellowships at

  • Payment of the award, as described above, will be made directly to the university and dispersed according to the university’s policies. Microsoft will have discretion as to how any remaining funds will be used if the student is no longer qualified to receive funding (e.g. if the student unenrolls from the program, graduates, or transfers to a different university).

  • Funding is for use only during the recipient’s time in the PhD program; it cannot be used for support in a role past graduation, such as a postdoc or faculty position. Those interested in receiving this fellowship will need to confirm their PhD program starting month and year, as well as their expected graduation month and year.

  • A recipient of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship subject to disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism will forfeit their funding.

  • A recipient of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship may not receive another fellowship from another technology company during the same academic period. Fellows accepting multiple fellowships may become ineligible to receive continued funding from Microsoft. Microsoft will at its sole discretion consider a joint fellowship with a government or non-profit organization.

Award amount

  • Tuition and fees are covered for two academic years (2020–21 and 2021–22).
  • A $42,000 USD stipend is provided to help with living expenses while in school for two academic years (2020-21 and 2021-22). The stipend is not expected to cover all living expenses; it can be used for expenses including, but not limited to, childcare, conference fees and travel, research equipment, meals, rent, etc.
  • Opportunities will be provided to build relationships with research teams at Microsoft and receive mentorship.

Award period

Two (2) years. Fellowships are not available for extension. In addition, as part of your award, you will be invited to complete one 12-week internship within the year directly following your award. Internships are encouraged, but not required, as part of the award.

Application deadline

June 30, 2021.

Learn more


Last updated: July 2021.