Our second round of Google Research Awards for 2011

December 6, 2011

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations

We’ve just finished the review process for the latest round of the Google Research Awards, which provide funding to full-time faculty working on research in areas of mutual interest with Google. We are delighted to be funding 119 awards across 21 different focus areas for a total of $6 million. The subject areas that received the highest level of support this time were systems and infrastructure, human-computer interaction, social and mobile. In addition, 24% of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.

One way in which we measure the impact of the research award program is through surveys of Principal Investigators (PIs) and their Google sponsors (a Googler with whom grantees can discuss research directions, provide progress updates, engage in knowledge transfer, etc.). Here are some highlights from our most recent survey, covering projects funded over the last two years:

  • 433 papers were published as a result of a Google research award
  • 126 projects made data sets or software publicly available
  • 63 research talks were given by sponsored PIs at Google offices

An important aspect of the program is that it often gives early career academics a head start on their research agenda. Many new PIs commented on how a Google research award allowed them to explore their initial ideas and build a foundation for obtaining more significant funding from other sources. This type of seed funding is especially hard to get in the current economic environment.

The goal of the research award program is to initiate and sustain strong collaborations with our academic colleagues. The collaborations take many forms, from working on a project together, to co-writing a paper, to coming to Google to give a research talk. Whatever the form, the most important aspect is building strong relationships that last. Case in point, many of our focused awards (multi-year, unrestricted grants that include access to Google’s tools, technology and expertise) started as Google research awards.

Congratulations to the well-deserving recipients of this round’s awards, and if you are interested in applying for the next round (deadline is April 15), please visit our website for more information.