Frequently asked questions about University Relations
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This page is broken into 5 sections: Faculty Research Awards, Focused Research Awards, PhD Programs, Android and In-kind Donations, and General University Relations FAQs.
Faculty Research Awards
- What are the Faculty Research Awards?
- 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.
- What types of proposals are funded through Research Awards?
- Google’s Faculty Research Awards program funds work in computer science, engineering, and related fields. Our awards tend to fund projects that are highly technical in nature. The work funded through Research Awards tends to be of the type and caliber that the results may be published at top conferences and in top publications in computer science.
- For additional guidance on broad areas of interest to Google, please review research.google.com, the Google Research blog, and the list of publications by researchers at Google on this page. While this may give you a sense of what we’re interested in, the list is not exhaustive and we welcome “outside-the-box” ideas in the fields of Computer Science and Engineering.
- 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 that intend 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 PIs to select whether their project is related to accessibility in addition to selecting a primary and secondary topic area. We do not provide preference to accessibility research projects; having this information simply allows us to solicit reviews from relevant people at Google.
- The 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 potential collaboration. The best way to find Google contacts who may be working in relevant research areas is through professional interactions that typically occur in conferences, workshops, paper publications, and personal networking. PIs 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 Research Awards program team will not be able to connect Principal Investigators with contacts or potential collaborators at Google.
- For additional guidance on Research Awards proposals, we strongly encourage all PIs to read this proposal advice written by a group of Googlers who review proposals.
- Who is eligible to apply for a Faculty Research Award?
- We accept applications from permanent professors at universities around the world. Our funding is focused on supporting PhD students, so we do allow applications from professors 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 professors on the faculty of a 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 PI must apply in his or her capacity as a university professor and must be able to accept an award through that university.
- Principal Investigators (PIs)
- Each PI on a proposal must be a permanent professor 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, and the funding requested must go to support students (see below for clarification on eligible expenses). We may, at our discretion, provide funding (in the form of student salary costs) for PIs who advise undergraduate students at colleges that do not award advanced degrees.
- The same eligibility requirements apply to both the primary PI and any co-PIs. We do not allow students, postdocs, or non-professor researchers who do not meet the criteria above to serve as PIs or co-PIs.
- The primary PI 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 PI, who is responsible for notifying any co-PIs and university administrators if needed.
- There are no limits on the number of proposals that can be submitted by different PIs (or co-PIs) from the same university.
- Past Applicants
- An applicant may only serve as PI or co-PI 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 PIs not submit the same proposal to multiple rounds of the Research Awards. If a proposal is not selected for funding and the PI resubmits it the following round without substantive revisions, we will not fund it. If a PI 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.
- What are Google contacts and potential Google sponsors, and what roles do they play?
- Google contacts
- A PI 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 PI and is generally familiar with their work in the topic area of the proposal. A Google contact may not have have advised on the current proposal, but may be able to provide insight into the PI’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 in conferences, workshops, paper publications, and personal networking. The Google Research Awards team is unable to help PIs find contacts at Google who might be interested in their work.
- Potential Google sponsors
- PIs 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 collaborator on the
project being proposed. A Google sponsor is responsible for facilitating the
two-way flow of information between Google and the PI. The Google Research Awards
team is unable to help PIs find potential sponsors for their projects prior to
proposal submission, but all funded projects will be assigned a Google sponsor
during the selection process.
- If the project is selected for funding, a sponsor is expected to do the
- Provide input to Principal Investigator (PI) on proposal (project) content
- Serve as the point person for communication between the PI and Google and participate in any check-ins instigated by the PI and project team
- Act as point of contact for PI for questions related to Google or the project
- Receive and share with Google colleagues copies of papers produced by the research that the PI may choose to share.
- Invite PI and student 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
- If the project is selected for funding, a sponsor is expected to do the following:
- PIs 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 collaborator on the project being proposed. A Google sponsor is responsible for facilitating the two-way flow of information between Google and the PI. The Google Research Awards team is unable to help PIs find potential sponsors for their projects prior to proposal submission, but all funded projects will be assigned a Google sponsor during the selection process.
- If you want to communicate with more than one Google contact or sponsor, please do not send separate messages to each of them; send one message, addressed to the person who you think will be the most interested, and CCed to the others. This will make it much easier for us to give you a coordinated response.
- Google contacts
- What are considered eligible expenses for the Research Awards?
- Standard award amounts
- 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 PI may request is 150,000 USD.
- We trust PIs 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
- We may fund proposals that request an amount roughly equivalent to tuition and salary for 1 PhD student. Examples may include half funding for 2 PhD students (rather than full funding for 1) or funding for research work done by masters or undergraduate students. We may occasionally provide a professor with funding for a postdoc through the 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. PIs 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 Research Awards).
- Costs not supported by Research Awards
- We do not support PI salaries through Research Awards. We do not support salaries for permanent researchers or non-student researchers employed by the university.
- We have a strict policy against supporting overhead or indirect costs through the Research Awards. Since the awards are structured as unrestricted gifts to universities, and Google does not own any IP resulting from awards, we do not allow overhead or other indirect or administrative costs to be charged against Research Awards funds. Please do not include such items in 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.
- Standard award amounts
- Can I apply for hardware that isn't yet available to the public for purchase (e.g.
- We evaluate proposals based on whether the work can be done at the time of funding. PIs can request hardware (or funds to purchase hardware) that is not on the market at the time of submission, but we cannot guarantee anyone access to hardware that is not currently for sale to the public. In other words, you are taking a risk if you submit a proposal for a project that cannot be executed without access to hardware that is not currently available to the public for purchase.
- What is the proper format for a Research Awards proposal PDF?
- 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 PI, which is required for all applications (a 2-page CV for each co-PI 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 PI's publication history to see how the current proposal relates to past work the PI has done in relevant fields. The Google Scholar profile complements, but does not replace, the PI'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.
- Please note that we cannot under any circumstances accept proposals that contain confidential or proprietary information. Proposals that leave the box on the application form that asks PIs to confirm that the proposal contains no confidential information will be rejected without any further review.
- How competitive is the Faculty Research Awards program?
- Our Research Awards program has become increasingly competitive. Applications more than doubled in the last 3 years. We expect our acceptance rate going forward will be roughly 15%. Historically, we have funded a higher percentage of proposals springing from an existing collaboration between the PI(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.
- How are Research Awards recipients selected?
- We select Google Research Awards recipients through a thorough and competitive review process. All Research Awards proposals go through a review 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.
- Are Faculty Research Awards eligible for extensions?
- Research Awards are designed to support one year of work. We may on occasion choose to fund a second year for a Research Awards project that has seen great success in year one. Research Awards recipients who would like to apply for another year of support for a funded project should submit a new application to the Research Awards program 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.
- When and how are decisions announced for Faculty Research Awards?
- Decisions for each round of Research Awards will be announced approximately 4 months after the submission deadline. Decisions will be communicated to the primary PI listed on each proposal as well as announced on the Google Research blog. It is the primary PI’s responsibility to notify co-PIs about funding decisions.
- What happens after Faculty Research Awards recipients are announced?
- If a project was selected for funding, the primary PI 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.
- Can I speak to someone from the Research Awards program team to ask additional
- We will be providing limited email support via email@example.com. 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.
Focused Research Awards
- What are Focused Research Awards?
- Google’s Focused Research Awards program supports a small number of high-impact, multi-year research projects in areas of key interest to Google. A full list of our past and current Focused Award recipients is available here.
- Can professors apply for Focused Research Awards?
- Unlike our Faculty Research Awards program, we do not accept unsolicited applications for Focused Research Awards. As we continue to identify key areas of research that are of mutual interest to both university researchers and Google, we will provide awards to support these collaborations.
- What are PhD Fellowships?
- The Google PhD fellowships recognize outstanding graduate students doing exceptional work in computer science, related disciplines, or promising research areas. Fellowship students are given funding to support them in their graduate studies. Google runs PhD Fellowship programs in several regions throughout the globe including U.S./Canada, Europe, and China.
- Is my university eligible for the Fellowship program?
- We do not publish the list of eligible universities, however direct invitations for nominations are sent to the computer science departments and/or Graduate Funding offices of participating schools. Eligibility is on a per university basis, not per department, and departments across a university are expected to coordinate their nominations. We have separate Fellowship programs for U.S./Canada, Europe, and China.
- How do I apply for the Fellowship program?
- Students cannot apply directly to the program; they must be nominated by an eligible university. Nomination instructions are sent to eligible universities and submissions must be provided directly by an official representative of the university. Note that students that are already supported by a comparable award or another Google scholarship are not eligible to receive a Google Fellowship.
- What does the Fellowship include?
- Students receive named fellowships which include a monetary award. The funds are given directly to the university to be distributed to cover the student’s expenses and stipend as appropriate. The funds are given as an unrestricted gift and overhead should not be assessed against them. In addition, the student will be matched with a Google Research Mentor who we hope will become a valuable resource to the student. There is no employee relationship between the student and Google as a result of receiving the fellowship. Fellowship recipients are not subject to intellectual property restrictions unless they complete an internship at Google. Fellowship recipients serving an internship are subject to the same intellectual property and other contractual obligations as any other Google intern. If a fellowship student is interested, an internship at Google is encouraged, but not guaranteed or required.
- Does Google have a program to supply professors with Android phones or Chrome OS
devices for research or teaching purposes?
- If a professor needs phones, tablets, or Chromebooks for research purposes, he or she can submit an application to our Faculty Research Awards program requesting the budget needed to purchase the devices. Google does not currently have a program to provide Android phones or other hardware to be used for teaching or classroom purposes.
General University Relations FAQs
- What opportunities do you have for university students?
- You can find information on our programs for students on the Student page of Google’s job site.
- How can I find more information about recruiting, on-campus events, or other
- You can visit our student site at google.com/students.
- I would like to do research on a data set from Google. Can you provide access for me?
- We do not currently have data to share in this way beyond the resources linked to from our main University Relations webpage. If data is made available for research purposes in the future, it will be listed available on the Google Research website at research.google.com. For additional updates, please see the Google Research Blog at googleresearch.blogspot.com.
- How can I submit an idea to Google.org?
- I have a question I need additional help with. Who can I contact?
- Please read the FAQs above before writing in; we will not be able to respond to questions whose answers are contained in this document. For questions related to university research, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about students, recruiting, on-campus events, or other non-research topics regarding universities in North America, please email email@example.com. If you have questions specific to your region, you may send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for universities in Europe, Africa, or the Middle East, or to email@example.com for universities in China. Please note that due to the high volume of emails we receive, we may not be able to respond to questions or requests that don't fall into one of the categories listed above.