The Faculty Research Awards Program, sometimes referred to as the Research Awards Program, supports academic research in computer science, engineering, and related fields. Through the program, we fund world-class research at top universities, facilitate interaction between Google and academia, and support projects whose output will be made openly available to the research community. Awards are structured as unrestricted gifts to universities and are designed to support roughly the cost of one graduate student for one year of work.
- Google’s Faculty Research Awards program funds work in Computer Science, Engineering, and related fields. Our awards tend to go to projects that are highly technical. The work funded through Faculty Research Awards is very high caliber, and research results are often published at top conferences and in top publications in Computer Science.
- For additional guidance on Research Awards proposals, we strongly encourage all Principal Investigators to read the proposal advice written by a group of Googlers who review proposals at the end of these FAQs.
- We believe strongly in open access and in supporting projects whose output will be made available to the public and to other researchers. For this reason, we ask Principal Investigators (professors submitting proposals) to include a brief statement about what they intend to do with the output of their work, and we strongly prefer projects where the Principal Investigator intends to publish data sets, publish code via open source licenses, or otherwise contribute to the academic community.
- Google is committed to making accessibility a reality for everyone, including people with disabilities. We realize that projects in a number of different research areas can have an impact on users with disabilities, so our application form includes a checkbox that allows Principal Investigators to select whether their project is related to assistive technology in addition to selecting a primary and secondary topic area. We do not provide preference to these research projects, but having this information allows us to solicit reviews from relevant people at Google.
- The Faculty Research Awards team will not be able to respond to questions pre-submission asking if a specific topic is of interest to Google. Principal Investigators who have contacts at Google are welcome to ask them about Google’s interest in certain topics and to discuss relevance to Google. The best way to find Google contacts who may be working in relevant research areas is through professional interactions that typically occur at conferences, workshops, paper publications, and personal networking. Principal Investigators who do not have professional contacts at Google should focus on reviewing the resources listed above. Due to the high volume of requests we receive, the Faculty Research Awards program team will not be able to connect Principal Investigators with contacts or others at Google who might be interested in the research.
- We accept applications from permanent faculty at universities around the world. Our funding is focused on supporting PhD students, so we do allow applications from faculty at research institutions that award research degrees to PhD students. We do not allow applications from professors, researchers, or faculty members at non-degree-granting research institutes. Researchers at such institutes who are also faculty at a degree-granting university may apply through that university.
- Our funding is structured as unrestricted gifts to universities. We cannot process awards to other institutions (e.g. not-for-profits institutions, hospitals, non-degree-granting research institutes, etc) even if they are affiliated with a university. A Principal Investigator must apply in his or her capacity as a university professor and must be able to accept an award through that university.
- Principal Investigators
- Each Principal Investigator on a proposal must be a permanent faculty at a university or a degree-granting research institution.
- We allow assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors to apply. We do not allow applications from professors on behalf of students, postdocs, or others who are not eligible to apply themselves--the research must be directed primarily by a permanent faculty member.
- We understand that titles may differ globally. In order for someone without the title of professor to apply, he or she must be a permanent faculty member at an eligible institution and serve as a formal advisor to masters or PhD students. We may, at our discretion, provide funding for Principal Investigators who advise undergraduate students at colleges that do not award advanced degrees.
- The same eligibility requirements apply to both the primary Principal Investigator and any co-Principal Investigators. We do not allow students, postdocs, or non-professor researchers who do not meet the criteria above to serve as Principal Investigators or co-Principal Investigators.
- The primary Principal Investigator on a proposal is the point person for all communications regarding the proposal, including funding decisions. All emails regarding the application will go to the primary Principal Investigator, who is responsible for notifying any co-Principal Investigators and university administrators if needed.
- There are no limits on the number of proposals that can be submitted by different Principal Investigators (or co-Principal Investigators) from the same university.
- Past Applicants
- An applicant may only serve as Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on one proposal per round.
- If an applicant’s proposal was not selected for funding the previous round, they are welcome to apply with a new proposal (or substantively revised proposal) the following round.
- We ask that Principal Investigators not submit the same proposal to multiple rounds of the Research Awards. If a proposal is not selected for funding and the Principal Investigator resubmits it the following round without substantive revisions, we will not fund it. If a Principal Investigator is submitting a revised proposal, he or she should check the appropriate box on the application form to let us know.
- All award payments and recipients will be reviewed for compliance with relevant US and international laws, regulations and policies. Google reserves the right to withhold funding that may violate laws, regulations or our policies.
To apply for a Google research award, faculty members should use the following general guidelines:
- Permanent faculty members from universities worldwide are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) or co-PIs on proposals. Faculty members may submit one proposal per funding cycle as a Principal Investigator or a co-Principal Investigator. More details, including the definition of a Principal Investigator and our eligibility criteria can be found later in the FAQs.
- The advice on crafting a strong proposal at the end of these FAQs was written by a group of Google researchers and engineers involved in the review and selection process and is an excellent place to start as you prepare an application.
- The application process includes filling out an online form requesting basic information and uploading a PDF proposal via the form. As part of the online form, you will be asked to select a topic area from approximately 20 areas. Please select carefully, as this will help us in ensuring your proposal is read by the appropriate reviewers. Do not send any confidential or proprietary information in your proposal. Any information you send us as part of your application will be considered not confidential regardless of any markings or designations on it.
The main proposal section is comprised of 4 parts: An overview, a proposal body, a data policy, and a budget. The maximum length of the entire proposal section, including references, is 3 pages. In addition to the 3-page proposal, we require a CV from the primary Principal Investigator and allow the inclusion of CVs from co-Principal Investigators. The maximum length for each CV is 2 pages. For Principal Investigators (and co-Principal Investigators) who have been funded by Google in the past, in addition to the 4 parts listed above, we also require a brief (1/2 page maximum) summary of the results of past projects funded by Google. This section does not count toward the three-page proposal limit.
- Proposal Title
- Principal Investigator full name, contact information (postal address, email address, phone), affiliation (university, school, college and/or department)
- [Optional] The name(s) of up to two Google contacts. Contacts are defined as people at Google who are familiar with your professional work.
- [Optional] The name(s) of up to two potential Google sponsors. Potential sponsors are defined as people at Google with whom you have already discussed the specific proposal. Providing contacts and potential sponsors as part of the application is optional; Google will assign sponsors to each funded proposal. Please see our FAQs for details on Google contacts and potential sponsors.
- Proposal Body
- Research goals, including a problem statement
- Description of the work you'd like to do, as well as the expected outcomes and results
- How this relates to prior work in the area (including your own, if relevant)
- References, where applicable
- Please carefully review the advice located at the end of these FAQs before crafting your proposal
- Data policy
- Our goal is to support work where the output will be made available to the broader research community. To that end, we ask that you provide us with a few sentences sharing what you intend to do with the output of your project (e.g. open sourcing code, making data sets public, etc). Please note that Faculty Research Awards are structured as unrestricted gifts, so there are no legal requirements once a project is selected for funding. This is simply a statement of your current intentions.
- The budget section should provide a breakdown in US dollars across major line items, such as student salary, student tuition, and necessary travel. We prefer a short bulleted list of overall costs with basic explanations where needed. Please keep in mind that your budget counts towards the 3-page limit.
- Faculty Research Awards generally support basic expenses for one student for one year, so budgets are frequently reduced to this level of support. If two universities are involved, we may support one student at each school. Most awards are in the 40,000-70,000 USD range. The maximum amount a Principal Investigator can request is 150,000 USD. Please see our FAQs for more details on allowable budget items.
- If the your project will require additional funding from another source (e.g. for specialized hardware), it may be helpful to note if you have already secured this funding.
- It is Google’s policy not to pay for overhead on unrestricted gifts.As such, indirect costs, administrative costs, and overhead should not be included in the budget.
- [For previously-funded Principal Investigators only] Results from past
- If you have received Google funding in the past (in any form or through any program), we'd like a brief description of the outcomes of the work. We are most interested in concrete output (publications, software artifacts, data sets, awards, press, etc) and interactions with Google (visits, talks, involvement with the Googlers, student interactions, etc). We require this information from all past funding recipients, even if the current application is unrelated to the project we previously funded. If you faced setbacks that prevented you from carrying out the work you initially laid out, please take a moment to explain what happened and how things turned out.
CV of the Principal Investigator(s):
- The maximum length of a Principal Investigator CV is two pages. Any submitted CV that is longer than 2 pages may be cut off at two pages before the proposal review process begins.
- We require a CV for at least the primary Principal Investigator on the proposal. We will accept CVs from each of the Principal Investigators listed on the proposal (up to three are allowed). Each CV must be limited to two pages.
We select Google Faculty Research Award recipients through a thorough internal review process. All proposals go through a process that includes reviews from subject-matter experts across the company and committees led by some of Google’s top researchers. For details on our internal process, please see this post on the Google Research Blog from our Director of Education & University Relations.
Our Research Awards program has become increasingly competitive. We expect our acceptance rate going forward will be roughly 15%. Historically, we have funded a higher percentage of proposals springing from an existing connection between the Principal Investigator(s) and Google or where Googlers have expressed advanced interest in serving as a sponsor if the project is funded. Please see the section above on Google contacts and potential Google sponsors for details on those relationships.
Decisions will be announced approximately 4 months after the submission deadline. Decisions will be communicated to the primary Principal Investigator listed on each proposal as well as announced on the Google Research blog. It is the primary Principal Investigator’s responsibility to notify co-Principal Investigators about funding decisions.
- If a project was selected for funding, the primary Principal Investigator will receive an email notification of the details of the award. A follow-up email a few days later will contain information on how to begin the payment process. All payments will be made in US dollars either electronically or by wire.
- Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we cannot provide individual feedback on proposals not selected for funding.
- Please see the main Research Awards webpage for a breakdown of what elements to include in a proposal. Below is an example of what a proposal may look like (though the relative length of each section may differ by proposal). The diagram below does not include the 2-page CV of the primary Principal Investigator, which is required for all applications (a 2-page CV for each co-Principal Investigator is optional). We additionally request a Google Scholar profile link as part of the online application form. Our reviewers find it helpful to be able to easily reference a Principal Investigator's publication history to see how the current proposal relates to past work the Principal Investigator has done in relevant fields. The Google Scholar profile complements, but does not replace, the Principal Investigator's 2-page CV.
- We do not have strong feelings on formatting (margins, font, etc), so we just ask that you use your best judgment. We would prefer for proposals to respect a minimum 10pt font size and 1-inch (2.5-cm) margins. Our reviewers value readability.
- Do not send any confidential or proprietary information in your proposal. Any information you send us as part of your application will be considered not confidential regardless of any markings or designations on it.
- Google contacts
- A Principal Investigator is allowed to submit one or more Google contacts on the Faculty Research Awards application form. A Google contact is someone at Google who knows the Principal Investigator and is generally familiar with their work in the topic area of the proposal. A Google contact may not have had advised on the current proposal, but may be able to provide insight into the Principal Investigator’s prior work or suggest others at Google who might be able to review the proposal. The best way to find Google contacts who may be working in relevant research areas is through professional interactions that typically occur at conferences, workshops, paper publications, and personal networking. The Google Research Awards team is unable to help Principal Investigators find contacts at Google who might be interested in their work.
- Potential Google sponsors
- Principal Investigators are allowed to suggest one or more potential Google sponsors for the project being proposed in addition to (or instead of) regular Google contacts. A potential Google sponsor is a colleague at Google who knows about the proposal being submitted and has expressed interest in serving as a point of contact for the project being proposed. A Google sponsor is responsible for facilitating the two-way flow of information between Google and the Principal Investigator. The Google Research Awards team is unable to help Principal Investigators find potential sponsors for their projects prior to proposal submission, but all funded projects will be assigned a Google sponsor by the review committee during the selection process.
- If the project is selected for funding, a sponsor is expected to do the
- Provide input at the Principal Investigator’s request on research project direction
- Serve as the point person for communication between the Principal Investigator and Google, and participate in any check-ins instigated by the Principal Investigator and project team
- Act as point of contact for Principal Investigator for questions related to Google or the project
- Receive and share with Google colleagues copies of papers produced by the research that the Principal Investigator may choose to share.
- Invite the Principal Investigator and student(s) to visit Google to give a talk on research results
- Answer questions related to faculty referrals for affiliated students interested in internships or permanent positions
- Standard award amounts
- Faculty Research Awards are designed to be in an amount approximately equivalent to the amount necessary to support 1 graduate student for 1 year. While costs differ by university and by region, the median award amount is around 50,000 to 60,000 USD. We expect that most budgets for the Research Awards will be limited to the cost of 1 PhD student for 1 year (defined as salary plus tuition, or research salary in regions where PhD tuition is covered through other means) as well as modest conference travel for the student (1,500 USD for US universities, 3,000 USD for universities outside the US). Budgets with additional items are almost always cut to the level of 1 PhD student for 1 year plus modest travel. The maximum amount a Principal Investigator may request is 150,000 USD.
- We trust Principal Investigators to provide accurate accounting of the costs of PhD students in their departments at their universities, but we do reserve the right to verify those costs during the proposal review process.
- Alternative or additional budget items
- While funds are intended to support one PhD student, PIs may split the award to partially fund multiple students. We will also consider support for masters or undergraduate students when appropriate.. We may occasionally provide a professor with funding for a postdoc through the Faculty Research Awards program, but we have a strong preference for funding proposals that will directly support students.
- We may on rare occasions fund additional small budget items such as specialized equipment (e.g. Android or ChromeOS devices) or participant costs for studies. Principal Investigators requesting a non-standard budget item should include a brief sentence explaining why they need Google to cover this expense. Please note that we are rarely able to accommodate non-student budget items.
- When two universities are collaborating on a project, typically the team will request funding to support a student at one university. However, we understand that some of these collaborative projects may require funding for 1 student at each school. Due to the relative cost, we are very selective about funding proposals that require funding for multiple students (they make up only about 5% of the proposals funded).
- Expenses not considered by the Research Awards
- Principal Investigator salaries are not considered. Salaries for permanent researchers, non-student, or non-postdoc researchers employed by the university are also not considered.
- It is Google’s policy not to pay for overhead on unrestricted gifts. Indirect costs, administrative costs, and overhead will not be considered in Faculty Research Awards budgets.
- If your project will require additional funding from another source (e.g. for specialized hardware), it may be helpful to note in your PDF proposal budget section if you have already secured this funding.
The Faculty Research Awards does not award hardware directly. If you would like to apply for hardware, you should include the funds necessary for hardware purchase in your proposal budget. We evaluate proposals based on whether the work can be done at the time of funding. Principal Investigators can request funds to purchase hardware that is not on the market at the time of submission, but a proposal for a project that cannot be executed without access to hardware that is not currently available to the public for purchase would likely be negatively reviewed.
Research Awards are designed to support one year of work. We may on occasion choose to fund a second year for a project that has seen great success in year one. Recipients who would like to apply for another year of support for a funded project should submit a new application using the regular process. The proposal title should in some way reference that it is an extension (e.g. using the same or a similar title followed by “extension” or “year 2”). When evaluating proposal extension requests, we look at results and outcomes from the initial project as well as the proposed future work. Proposal extension requests are evaluated alongside new proposals and are not given preference in the selection process.
We will be providing limited email support via firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the volume of emails we receive, we may not be able to respond to questions where the answer is available on the website.