Cambridge receives six-figure Google research grant

The search giant today announced funding of $5.7 million for a variety of research projects, with Cambridge the only non-US university to benefit.

Research

Google has awarded $5.7 million worth of grants to 12 university research projects, including a six-figure package for Cambridge University's green technology initiative.

The Google Focused Research Awards are divided into four categories: machine learning; the use of mobile phones as data collection devices for public health and environment monitoring; energy efficiency in computing; and privacy.

Cambridge University Computer Lab's Computing for the Future of the Planet' project falls in the privacy category, with Google's funding being spread over three years.

Professor Andy Hopper who heads up the Computer Lab, was full of praise for the unrestricted nature of Google's support: "The nature of these awards, which place no restrictions or constraints on the funded research, is particularly refreshing and will help to stimulate true innovation and accelerate the development of new ideas and practical solutions.

He added: "I am sure that our own work and that of other University recipients will demonstrate the value of this approach and relationship between industry and academia."

The project has four key goals: an optimal digital infrastructure, sensing and optimising with a global world model, reliably predicting and reacting to our environment, and digital alternatives to physical activities.

Professor Hopper said the the money will go towards setting up infrastructures to harness information from a variety of sources and sensors to monitor and better understand our changing environment and use of resources.

Cambridge is the only university outside of the US to receive a grant in this round of funding, with the rest of the money being spread around 31 professors conducting research at nine US universities.

"These are all areas in which Google is already deeply invested, and yet there is a long way to go. We're excited to see what these projects contribute to the body of research in these important areas," commented Alfred Spector, Google's vice president of research and special initiatives.

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