Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant 2021 for PhD Students

Filed in Grants, Opportunities by on March 10, 2021 0 Comments

The grant is for PhD students at universities in the United States and Canada, who are underrepresented in the field of computing and pursuing research aligned to the research areas carried out by researchers at Microsoft.

Microsoft recognizes the value of diversity in computing. The Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant aims to increase the pipeline of diverse talent receiving advanced degrees in computing-related fields by providing a research funding opportunity for doctoral students who are underrepresented in the field of computing. This includes those who self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, LGBTQI+, and/or person with a disability.


  • The 2021 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant recipients will receive funding up to $25,000 USD for academic year 2021-22 to help them complete research as part of their doctoral thesis work.
  • An invitation to the PhD Summit: a two-day workshop in the fall hosted by Microsoft Research where grant recipients will meet with Microsoft researchers and other top students to share their research. They hope to offer both a virtual and in-person participation option; they will continue to monitor local and national health and safety guidance and may hold a completely virtual event if advisable.


  • Applicants must be PhD students enrolled at a university in the United States or Canada.
  • Proposed research must be closely related to the general research areas carried out by researchers at Microsoft.
  • Students must be in their fourth year or beyond of a PhD program as of March 22, 2021, the proposal deadline. Students must have started their PhD in September 2017 or earlier to be considered in their fourth year of the program having taken into account transfers, approved leaves of absence, etc.
  • PhD students submitting a proposal for this grant must self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, LGBTQI+, and/or person with a disability.
  • PhD students must continue to be enrolled at the university in the fall of 2021 or forfeit the award. Grants are not available for extension. If you require time away for family or medical leave, this will be accommodated.
  • Payment of the award 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 grant 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 Dissertation Grant subject to disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or plagiarism will forfeit their funding.

How To Apply

Proposals and letters of recommendation accepted through Monday, March 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Noon) Pacific Daylight Time.

You will be asked to upload 3 documents:

Your curriculum vitae, thesis topic description, and one-page description of how the grant would be used will be uploaded separately. Accepted formats are docx, doc, and pdf. Email or hard-copy submissions will not be considered. Name the individual files using the convention indicated below. Include your first name and last name as part of your file name each separated by an underscore (e.g., Jane_Smith_cv.docx).

  • Curriculum vitae – file name: cv
  • Thesis topic description (maximum two pages including references, font no smaller than 10-point) – file name: thesis
  • Description of how the grant would be used, including a budget (maximum one page) – file name: budget

You will be asked to request 3 letters of recommendation via the submission portal:

  • Add the contact information (name, affiliation, email) and send the email request through the submission portal to your three recommenders as soon as possible so they have ample time to provide a letter. Their deadline is the same as your proposal deadline on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Noon) Pacific Daylight Time. They should be established researchers familiar with your research (at least one letter must be from your primary academic advisor/supervisor and only one letter can be from a current Microsoft employee). Once you send the request through the submission portal, they will receive a private link to upload a letter of recommendation for you. Note that you and your recommenders may need to check your junk folders in order to find emails from the portal.

Click Here To Submit Proposals

For more information, visit Microsoft Grant

Application Deadline: March 22, 2021

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