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On November 2, 2013, the spotlight shone brightly on 10 PhD candidates from nine top Asian universities as they were introduced to an appreciative crowd of 1,500 in the Grand Theatre in Hefei, China. On stage, these scholars received medals that signified their selection as the 2013 Microsoft Research Asia Fellows. Each of the new fellows beamed while shaking hands with presenters Peter Lee, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Research, and Hsiao-Wuen Hon, a Microsoft distinguished scientist and managing director of Microsoft Research Asia.
Microsoft Research Asia 2013 fellows and advisors with Peter Lee, corporate vice president, head of Microsoft Research (back row, forth from the right); Hsiao-Wuen Hon, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia (back row, third from the right); and Feng Zhao, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, chairman of the fellowship program (back row, far left)
The award ceremony was part of the Computing in the 21st Century Conference, co-hosted by Microsoft Research Asia and the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). The fellowship program recognizes outstanding doctoral students who are studying computer science, electrical engineering, information science, or applied mathematics at Asia universities. Each winner has the opportunity to complete an internship, during which they participate in hands-on, advanced research at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing.
Since its inception in 1999, the program has awarded 351 fellowships to applicants who have demonstrated their strong research potential through concrete achievements at an early stage of their career. In so doing, it has successfully fostered advances and collaboration in computer science research. More than 80 of the past recipients continue to perform research, including 40 who have joined Microsoft Research Asia or other groups within Microsoft. Many have become rising stars in their investigative areas.
This year’s fellowship candidates—90 in all—were recommended by department heads at 45 leading research universities and institutions in Asia. Each candidate’s credentials were thoroughly evaluated by a review committee of researchers. Then, 27 finalists visited Microsoft Research Asia, where they presented their work to a committee of senior researchers. The students gained valuable feedback from leading researchers during these onsite interviews.
The 10 winners, each of whom successfully completed three rounds of intensive reviews, are:
After their warm reception in the conference hall, the fellowship winners were treated to lunch with Joseph Sifakis, director of the Rigorous System Design Laboratory at EPFL and recipient of the A.M. Turing Award in 2007. Then, they shared research experiences with more than 80 USTC graduate students, inspiring them to be creative and focused during research.
—Lily Sun, University Relations Manager, and Xin Ma, Senior Research Program Manager, both of Microsoft Research Connections Asia