Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship

This is a joint competition for VU and VUMC investigators. All investigators should follow these instructions.

Applications due Feb. 10

Vanderbilt (VU and VUMC) may submit up to three nominations for the 2021 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship.

The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship recognizes innovative, promising new faculty whose exceptional talent for research and innovation identifies them as emerging leaders in their fields. The fellowship recognizes early-career faculty in the Americas who are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research in computer science or a related field.

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


  • Must be full-time faculty who have received their terminal degree (e.g., Ph.D., D.Sc.) in May 2016 or later.
    • Microsoft will take into account approved delays, like leaves of absences from the workplace and postdocs, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Must be currently conducting research, advising graduate students, and teaching in a classroom.
  • Proposed research must be closely related to the general research areas carried out by researchers at Microsoft Research.
    • Eligible research areas: Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, etc.), Systems (Hardware and Devices, Systems and Networking, etc.), Theory (Algorithms, Mathematics) and other sciences
      • Other sciences include Ecology and Environment, Economics, Medical, Health and Genomics, Social Sciences, and Technology for Emerging Markets

Award information

Provisions of the 2021 award include $100,000 USD awarded annually for two years starting in the fall of 2021. Faculty awarded a fellowship in June will receive their financial awards by September. No overhead or indirect costs are allowed.

Internal submission instructions

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s nominee must submit the following materials to in PDF format by 5 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2021.

  • Statement of research (min. 10 pt. font, 2 pages max., including references) to include:
    • Your major research initiatives, what makes your approaches especially innovative, and how you would use the funding and the impact it would have on your research.
    • A paragraph describing how you support the mission of fostering diversity and inclusive cultures within your student and researcher communities and how you plan to in the future.
  • CV/Biosketch (max. 5 pages)
    • This must indicate the date of terminal degree occurred in May 2016 or after.
  • Indicate that your department chair/center director/etc. approves that this grant does not allow indirect costs.
    • A brief email or statement from chair/director is sufficient. A formal letter of support is not required.
  • If applicable, please include the following statement in your submission email:
    • “I self-identify as a woman, African American, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or person with a disability.”
    • This statement is optional, but allows your application to be considered for nominations reserved by Microsoft for faculty who are underrepresented in the field of computing.

If nominated by Vanderbilt, your name will be submitted to Microsoft by Feb. 22, 2021. Nominated faculty will receive an invitation email from Microsoft in early March 2021 to submit their proposal. For more information, see the program guidelines, proposal details and FAQs.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to