Amazon combines research award programs to provide stronger support to recipients
Newly combined Amazon Research Awards program will continue to offer unrestricted gifts and AWS Promotional Credits to academic research teams.
Amazon has combined two previously separate programs that provided funding and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-computing credits to academic researchers worldwide. The two programs have collectively supported research in areas ranging from machine learning, computer vision, and natural-language processing to operations, search, and robotics.
The Amazon Research Awards (ARA) program has merged with the previously separate AWS Machine Learning Research Awards program to make it easier for academic researchers to apply through a single submission system and a centrally managed website on Amazon Science that provides all the information they need to submit a proposal.
“We believe researchers will benefit from a combined program,” said An Luo, the senior technical program manager responsible for the newly combined ARA program. “By combining these programs, we can provide stronger support to award recipients from various teams across Amazon. For example, an ARA recipient could be assigned an Amazon Alexa AI scientist as their primary contact, and also receive support from an AWS expert in helping them optimize their research solution on AWS. Our goal is to provide improved support to ARA recipients, so that their work will lead to greater, and more rapid contributions to the academic community.”
The new ARA program will continue to offer unrestricted gifts and AWS Promotional Credits to recipient teams. Funded projects are assigned an Amazon research contact, and recipients also receive training resources, including AWS tutorials and hands-on sessions with Amazon scientists and engineers.
Amazon retains no intellectual-property rights to the funded work, and recipients are encouraged to publish the results of their research and commit related code to open-source repositories.
ARA funds proposals up to four times a year. Proposals are reviewed for the quality of their scientific content, their creativity, and their potential to impact both the research community and society more generally.
Earlier this year, Amazon notified 51 2019 ARA recipients of their awards; the recipients represent 39 universities in 10 countries. The 2019 awards averaged $72,000 in gifts and $15,000 in AWS Promotional Credits for each research project. Each grant is intended to support the work of one or two graduate or postdoctoral students for one year, under the supervision of a faculty member.
“We hope the Amazon Research Awards, AWS cloud computing resources, and our close relationship with these researchers will help accelerate their pace of scientific discovery and innovation,” said Bratin Saha, vice president of AWS Machine Learning Services. “We’re excited to see the results of these projects and how they can materially benefit society.”
An initial call for research proposals will be issued later this month. In 2020, research areas are being expanded to include applied machine learning, automated reasoning, and more. Examples of successfully funded previous programs are also available.
The ARA program team encourages researchers to keep apprised of award submission deadlines by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the team’s quarterly call-for-proposals email announcement. Additional information about the program can be found via the frequently asked questions.