Google gives millions of dollars in research awards

Search giant launches first Google Focused Research Awards, giving out $5.7 million in grants to university professors engaged in research that could help the company.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Research a better mousetrap for Google, and you could find yourself the recipient of a healthy grant.

The search giant debuted its first Google Focused Research Awards on Monday, announcing grants of $5.7 million to several fortunate college professors tackling projects that could benefit the company and hopefully benefit research efforts in general.

The grants cover four specific areas of interest to Google--machine learning, using mobile phones to collect information on health and the environment, energy-efficient computing, and privacy. The company said it has already invested in these fields but that there is much more to do, so it's striving to encourage further research.

For its first round of awards, Google is giving grant money to fund 12 projects respectively headed by 31 professors at 10 universities. The grants cover research for two to three years, and also give the professors access to key Google tools and technical knowledge.

Among the four different topics, the following professors were named this year's winners:

Machine learning:

  • William Cohen, Christos Faloutsos, Garth Gibson, and Tom Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon University

Use of mobile phones as data collection devices for public health and environment monitoring:

  • Gaetano Borriello of University of Washington, and Deborah Estrin of University of California at Los Angeles

Energy efficiency in computing:

  • Ricardo Bianchini of Rutgers University, Fred Chong of University of California at Santa Barbara, Thomas F. Wenisch of University of Michigan, and Sudhanva Gurumurthi of University of Virginia
  • Christos Kozyrakis, Mark Horowitz, Benjamin Lee, Nick McKeown, and Mendel Rosenblum of Stanford University
  • David G. Andersen and Mor. Harchol-Balter of Carnegie Mellon University
  • Tajana Simunic Rosing, Steven Swanson, and Amin Vahdat of University of California at San Diego
  • Thomas F. Wenisch, Trevor Mudge, David Blaauw, and Dennis Sylvester of University of Michigan
  • Margaret Martonosi, Jennifer Rexford, Michael Freedman, and Mung Chiang of Princeton University


  • Ed Felten of Princeton University
  • Lorrie Cranor of Carnegie Mellon University
  • Ryan Calo of Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society
  • Andy Hopper of Cambridge University Computing Laboratory

The Google Focused Research Awards are the company's latest effort to encourage research in the land of academia. Launched last year, Google's Fellowship Program pays for the tuition and college expenses for promising graduate students working with computer technology. The Google Visiting Faculty Program hosts educators who explore the company's campus and work with key Google technology teams.