The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) and Information and Technology Services (ITS) coordinate with Microsoft Azure to offer cloud computing credits to U-M faculty members for both research and teaching projects.  

Research. We seek proposals for research projects in any discipline that fit one of the following categories:

  • The research project is new and can take advantage of the Azure cloud computing resource.  The project needs to have other necessary resources in place so that they can start as soon as the computing credits are awarded. We will not award credits to projects that are still pending for funding. OR,
  • The project is already ongoing, but the research team has not used Azure computing resources in the past. In this case, the team can apply if the original budget for computing can be re-budgeted for other purposes with the permission from the funding source. 

The award decisions (see more details below) will be based on both the scientific merit and suitability for cloud computing. Please note: These credits will not support the use of data that has to be HIPAA-compliant.

Teaching. We also seek proposals for teaching projects in any discipline that can take advantage of the Azure credits. These include computing resources for undergraduate and graduate level for-credit courses, other short courses, and extracurricular research projects carried out by student clubs/teams with faculty mentoring. The lead teaching faculty or faculty mentors of student teams will need to be the Principal Investigators on the applications and provide the oversight for awarded projects.

Award information: This award is for one year. Each research project can request up to $20,000 worth of credits. Each teaching project can request up to $10,000 worth of credits. The credits can be used for any Azure service. We will award up to $300,000 worth of credits in total.

Who may apply: Principal Investigators (PIs) and co-PIs should be faculty members at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campus). An individual may participate as PI/co-PI on only one proposal. Co-investigators, consultants and other personnel are not limited by this restriction. 


*Webinars will cover the same material so please choose one to attend

  • Scheduled office hours with Alex Vasquez (Microsoft University Relations) to discuss proposal support.
    • September 23rd (1:00pm – 3:00pm EST)
    • September 28th (1:00pm – 3:00pm EST)
  • Proposal submission deadline: 11:59 pm, Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Awards announcement: Oct. 16, 2020.
  • Project start date: on or before Nov. 1, 2020.
  • Project duration: 12 months.

How to Apply:

  • Applications should be submitted online.
  • Proposal content:
    • Project description, up to 4 pages, with minimum font size 10.  
      • Research proposals should include specific aims, background, significance and innovation, and methods.
      • Teaching proposals should include the description of the class, the curriculum outline, and the computing projects.
      • Both research and teaching proposals should include a description of how the computing credit will be used, and proof that other resources needed for this project are in place (for example, grant award notification, balance of discretionary account, or course approval documentation). 
    • References (no page limit).
    • Biosketch in NSF or NIH format for PI, co-PI, and senior personnel.

Azure support for proposal preparation: During the proposal preparation stage, Azure experts will be available to provide consultation to help project teams gain a clear understanding of the Azure services and determine the budget request. Detailed information will be shared during the webinars in the week of Sept. 14.

Review criteria

  • Suitability for cloud computing resources.
  • For research projects:
    • The significance and innovation of the proposed research;
    • Likelihood of success;
    • Impact to the research field;
    • Potential for continuation, external funding and/or commercialization.
  • For teaching projects:
    • The need for this resource;
    • The relevance and significance of the projects to the class and the learning outcome;
    • The number of students this will benefit.

Post-award expectations

  • All teams will be expected to submit a brief progress report at the midpoint, and a brief closeout report at the end of the award duration. Unused credits will be reassigned to other projects.

For questions, please contact: