Call for Research Proposals FAPESP – Microsoft Research 2014

Virtual Research Institute FAPESP–Microsoft Research

June 2014

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and Microsoft Research (MSR) make public this Call for Research Proposals and invite researchers associated to Higher Education or Research Institutions, public or private, in the State of São Paulo, to present research proposals within the scope of the Agreement between FAPESP and Microsoft Corporation, according to the specifications described below.

1 - Background

There are multiple scientific and technological challenges respect to advancing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research in the State of São Paulo, for application to big data challenges in the understanding of Global Climate Change, Environmental Sciences, as well as Urban Computing that can leverage the power of the cloud. With this Call for Research Proposals, Microsoft Research and FAPESP will support academic research and have a keen interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the research issues previously mentioned. The academic research proposals must aim to advance the knowledge of technologies related to ICT challenges and its application to promote solutions to the research areas here contemplated, and not to develop routine applications using well-known technologies.

Expected outcomes of research projects would include, but not be limited to, academic peer-reviewed publications, web sites with resources for the academic community, proof-of-concept projects that utilize advances in ICT, tools and services for researchers and scientists, cloud based solutions and presentation of findings at academic conferences.

Projects will be reviewed specifically for the merit of the following items:

1) Bold scientific objectives, sound methodology and goals.

2) Focus on relevant knowledge and technology advancements, taking into account the technology issues described in the points below, which will address significant challenges in Global Climate Change, Environmental Sciences as well as Urban Computing involving large datasets.

It must be emphasized that creativity and novel approaches are strongly encouraged.

2 - Objectives

The objective of this Call for Research Proposals is to explore the application of Computing Science to the challenges of basic research in areas related to big data challenges in the context of Global Climate Change, Environmental Sciences, as well as Urban Computing that leverage the power of the cloud. It is universally acknowledged by the research community that ICT tools and instruments can be applied beyond their traditional platform, so researchers can investigate fundamental research issues that have the power to benefit the society and the planet’s sustainability.

As part of this process, this Call for Research Proposals is mainly interested in solutions that focus on:

a) Big data. Big data usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, organize, manage, and process the data within a tolerable timeframe. We are particularly interested in problems in Global Climate Change as well as Environmental Sciences that deal with large datasets.

1. Technology and approaches for scientific data capture, organization, sharing and processing.

2. Advancing and applying machine learning for scientific discovery.

3. Increasing understanding by visualization.

b) Cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to different types of computing concepts that involve a large computing infrastructure connected through a communication network such as the Internet. In science, cloud computing usually means a distributed computing platform that runs over a computer network. Cloud computing depends on sharing of resources and are usually not only shared by multiple users, but are dynamically re-allocated per demand. The cloud is key to unlocking the impact big data can have on society at large.

c) Interaction between big data and cloud computing. Global Climate Change as well as Environmental Sciences deal with a growing volume of data that represent an increasing complexity to problems faced today. On the other hand, powerful computing technologies can now take massive amounts of data, combine them using cloud computing and use advanced machine-learning, data analytics to gain new insights and knowledge. The possibility of using cloud computing to process large datasets in Environmental Sciences will lead to important scientific advancements in these areas.

For this, submissions may consider the use of technologies from Microsoft Research that are already available for helping to accelerate scientific discovery. For example:

d) Urban Computing. Urban computing is a process of acquisition, integration, and analysis of big and heterogeneous data generated by a diversity of sources in urban spaces, such as sensors, devices, vehicles, buildings, and human, to tackle the major issues that cities face. Urban computing is a process of acquisition, integration, and analysis of big and heterogeneous data generated by a diversity of sources in urban spaces, such as sensors, devices, vehicles, buildings, and human, to tackle the major issues that cities face, e.g. air pollution, increased energy consumption and traffic congestion. Urban computing connects unobtrusive and ubiquitous sensing technologies, advanced data management and analytics models, and novel visualization methods, to create win-win solutions that improve urban environment, human life quality, and city operation systems.

3 - Eligibility

Conditions of eligibility, listed below, will be strictly adhered to, so please read them carefully. Proposals not meeting all these criteria will not be considered.

a) Proposals should be submitted by researchers from Higher Education or Research Institutions, public or private, in the State of São Paulo.

b) Proposals that are incomplete, or are otherwise not responsive to the terms and conditions of this Call for Research Proposals will be excluded from consideration, at the sole discretion of the Joint Steering Committee of the FAPESP-Microsoft Agreement.

c) Proposals must clearly demonstrate efforts towards making available the results of selected projects (including intellectual property) : (i) placing the results in public domain; or (ii) making the results accessible by nonrestrictive license that allows modifications and redistribution without significant restrictions or conditions, such as the BSD license available at

4 - Research proposal characteristics

Proposals should target some or all of the following research goals:

a) Novel and Creative Solutions: The intention of the project is not to enable incremental engineering projects with a known outcome, but rather to explore and create new knowledge and technology. FAPESP and Microsoft encourage bold, novel, and unconventional approaches to the core science and technology challenges in the research areas approached in the call for research proposals.

b) Clear Relevance: FAPESP and Microsoft are seeking academic research projects with focus on the application of big data in the context of Global Climate Change, Environmental Sciences, as well as Urban Computing considering the cloud. Goals should be specific, measurable, and results-oriented with tangible metrics.

c) Dissemination and Potential for Academic Publication: Research results should be widely communicated through relevant scientific communities using established academic channels, such as international conferences and refereed journals. All funded projects should result in a detailed Web presence. Other channels include regional workshops, graduate seminars, and curriculum components such as courses or course materials.

e) Pilot Deployment: The goal of this Call for Research Proposals is to advance knowledge and state-of-the-art technologies. The development of pilot projects is highly encouraged but not a strict requirement. This Call for Research Proposals excludes routine application development using well-known technologies.

5 - Funds

The total amount available to support projects within this Call for Proposals (CFP) is US$ 750.000,00 (seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars), equally shared by FAPESP and Microsoft Research. The appropriateness of the requested funding amount in relation to the proposed goals and qualification of the proposing team is a primary review consideration. In addition, FAPESP and Microsoft reserve the right to propose lower funding levels for projects.

6 - Presentation of proposals

Proposals must be presented in paper (one copy only) and accompanied by a CD containing, in one archive in .pdf format, all the material to be submitted. Proposals submitted without the CD, with more than one file or with files in different format will be returned.

Proposals should adhere to the norms of the Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) program, available at, except when explicitly mentioned. In which concerns Technical Reserve, PITE norms are applicable, as available at

Proposals must contain all documents below:

6.1 - Submission Form and Researcher Registration Form (to be filled by the Principal Investigator , co-Principal Investigators and all Associated Researchers involved).

6.2 - CV Summaries for the Principal Investigator, co-Principal Investigator and all other Associated Researchers involved. This document should be submitted in English. 

6.3 - Team Description: all project participants must be listed, indicating names and host institutions. The role of each participant within the project as well as their dedication (hours per week) to it. Each participant listed in the spreadsheet must sign it.

6.4 - Description of the Infrastructure available for project execution, as well as resources from other national and/or international sources that may benefit the project.

6.5 - Description of the Set of Equipment: description of the requested equipment to the development of the project.

6.6 - Research proposal: Proposals should be submitted in English, covering items a. to f., described below, in no more than 20 pages, using font Arial size 10 and double spacing. Please address the sections listed below, from a. to f. under separate numbered headings:

a. Problem statement: What is the problem addressed by the proposal and why is it important? What is the potential research contribution to the field of the project if successful? Cite relevant work in the field as appropriate.

b. Expected outcomes: What new science will be created or produced as a result of the proposed project? How will the results of this project be disseminated to others?

c. Scientific and technical challenges and the ways and means to overcome them: This is a critical part of the proposal. Describe the scientific and technical challenges that the project will overcome to reach the proposed goals. Describe the methods and means that will be used for this. Cite references that can help the reviewers to ascertain that such challenges were not yet overcome (or were not overcome in an adequate way) and that they can be overcome with the methods and means proposed in the project.

d. Schedule: When is the project to be completed? What milestones will be used to measure progress and when will they be completed? If the project described is part of a larger ongoing research program, estimate the time for completion of this project only.

e. Dissemination and Evaluation: How will the results of this project be evaluated (if appropriate), and how will they be disseminated to others? Under what general license terms will be the results made available?

f. Other Support: List other contributions by the Institution to this project (funds, goods, or services), if any, but not including such things as use of Institution facilities otherwise provided on an ongoing basis. Note that proponents of selected proposals will be required to present an original letter on Institution letterhead signed by the director certifying the commitment of any additional support.

In addition, each proposal must add as an annex the item below; if applicable (this item is not included in the 20 pages limit mentioned above):

6.7 - Work plan for the requested fellowships: The proposed budget may include costs for Scientific Initiation, Masters, Doctoral or Post-Doctoral fellowships, which must have a duration equal or less than the duration of the proposed project. For each requested fellowship a work plan with less than two pages (12 point font size, double spacing) must be submitted together with the research proposal. This work plan must include: Title for the Fellowship Project, Summary, and Description of the plan. If the proposal is approved the Principal Investigator must organize a public selection process to select the appointees for the fellowships through an internal merit review process.

6.8 - Budget Spreadsheets

The budget items that may be requested are those traditionally supported by the Foundation and described at

a. Consolidated Budget Request, classified by types of expenses (FAPESP-Microsoft, and other sources such as institutions, research institutes, other agencies).

b. Detailed Budget Request (FAPESP-Microsoft).

c. Physical and financial schedule (FAPESP – Microsoft Research).

IMPORTANT: all appropriate forms to the submission of the proposal can be found at link to be created.

Proposals must be addressed directly to FAPESP, by post:

Chamada de Propostas de Pesquisa FAPESP- Microsoft Research
Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa
05468-901, SP, São Paulo

No proposals will be accepted by any other means.

The submitted proposals will not be returned to the proponent as FAPESP files the proposals for administrative purposes.

To see a full check-list of documents to be presented, please access page 4 of the Submission Form, item 6.1 of this Call for Research Proposals.

7 - Analysis and selection of the submitted proposals

All submissions must adhere to the terms stated in this Call for Research for Proposals.

An international and multidisciplinary team of scientists will review the proposals; therefore, it is very important to write the proposals in clear and well-structured English. Proposals that are difficult to understand might receive poor ratings.

The selection process will use merit review and comparative analysis. The process will use peer reviews and recommendations by FAPESP’s Area and Supervising Panels, following the criteria used for the selection of proposals within the Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) program. , Only proposals recommended by the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP – Microsoft Research Agreement will be subject to approval.

Researchers participating in any proposal will not take part in the analysis and selection process.

All proposals will be analyzed and selected using the following criteria:

a) Adherence to the terms of this CFP.

b) Novelty and ambition of the proposed academic research project, as it relates to the goals of this CFP.

c) Quality of the research project, in the specification of clear goals, of the challenges to be overcome and the scientific, technical, and material means and ways for this, in relation to the state-of-the-art in the field.

d) Engineering diligence, including interface definitions, testing methodology, and plans for experimental deployment.

e) Adequacy of the infrastructure of the institution.

f) Qualifications of the Principal Investigator and his/her team, including previous history in areas relevant to this CFP, successful completion of previously funded projects, teaching awards, and publications, all of those items being demonstrated in the CV Summary of the Principal Investigators.

g) Ability to complete the project, including the adequacy of available resources, institutional support, reasonableness of timelines, and number and qualifications of identified contributors; value, which encompasses the efficient use of requested resources and funding.

h) Potential for wide dissemination and use of intellectual property created, including specific plans for publications, conference presentations, web sites, as well as plans to distribute content in multiple formats or languages.

i) Formation of new researchers and professionals, as a result of the execution of the project.

8 - Schedule



Launching of the CFP on FAPESP website


Last date for receiving proposals


Publication of results

From 17/12/2014

9 - Project

The selected projects may last up to 48 months.

10 - Announcement of results

The results of the selection process will be announced in FAPESP’s website at and by communication to the proponents.

11 - Cancellation of the award

The award might be canceled by FAPESP, in the event of justifiable cause, on the basis of evaluation by the Scientific Director of FAPESP and Microsoft Research. Cancellation does not preclude other measures that might be deemed necessary.

12 - Awarding, Follow-up and Evaluation

For the selected proposals there will be a FAPESP Award Grant, which will be signed by the Principal Investigator, Microsoft Research and by the authority in charge of the host Institution

Results must be demonstrated in Scientific Reports, as well as Expense Demonstration, according to the specified in the FAPESP Award Grant.

13 - Operational Matters

If the submitted proposal is selected, there will be a Grant Award Agreement to be signed by the PI, by Microsoft Research, by FAPESP and by your Institution, regarding the rights and obligations of each part. This is similar to the standard FAPESP Grant Award Agreement, with some modifications to allow for the compromises of the FAPESP – Microsoft Research agreement. The full Term of Agreement can be found at to be specified. The main points of the Term are:

a) The concession of support for a project by FAPESP does not create any type of labor relationship between the researchers involved in the project and FAPESP.

b) The timing and amounts of funds disbursement will be mutually agreed upon between the PI and FAPESP.

c) Funds will be held in a joint account and may only be used for the research project.

d) Any equipment or materials to be acquired to assist the PI in the research will be subject to standard Brazilian laws and concession of use requirements.

e) The PI will be required to provide FAPESP with yearly progress reports. These reports will be shared with the joint FAPESP - Microsoft Research Steering Committee.

f) The PI for each selected proposal and his/her team of researchers and students are required to participate in a yearly scientific workshop with the colleagues from all other selected projects.

g) The PI will notify and obtain approval from FAPESP prior to publication of any details about the research project, in the cases for which the publication might jeopardize the protection of the intellectual property.

g.1) In these cases, FAPESP and your institution will work together to obtain timely protection for any Intellectual Property generated by the project and to allow for the publication of scientific results.

h) The PI will acknowledge FAPESP and Microsoft Research’s support in any approved publication or press release regarding your research project.

i) The Term will have to be signed by the PI and by a legal representative from your institution.

13.1 - Intellectual Property Rights

a) According to the Brazilian law the Host Institution is the owner of any intellectual property created as a result of the research project.

b) The PI and his institution are responsible for safeguarding that intellectual property.

c) If the PI and Microsoft Research engage in any joint research activities, both will jointly own any inventions. Terms of that Joint Intellectual Property will be mutually agreed upon between the Host Institution and Microsoft Research through a separate agreement.

d) In consideration of the funding being provided, the institution that employs the PI will grant to both FAPESP and Microsoft Research a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to any intellectual property arising from the funded research project.

e) If the research project results in patentable inventions, the PI must notify FAPESP so that Microsoft Research can decide if it wants to engage with the PI for an exclusive license. Terms of that exclusive license (fees, etc.) will be mutually agreed upon. The PI and his institution will retain the right to use the technology for research and teaching purposes.

f) If the Host Institution receives royalties for technology created as a result of the research project, FAPESP will receive a percentage of those royalties. This will be documented by a separate agreement.

13.2 - Intellectual Property Limitations

a) If the PI wishes to use any pre-existing intellectual property in the research project, you must obtain adequate rights from the owner so that you can grant the licenses to FAPESP and Microsoft Research as stated above.

b) The project must not be submitted to the terms of an Excluded License, so that the developed technology must be liable of a patent or an Excluded License. It does not mean an “Open Source” technology can not be used in the project, once it does not infringe the previous case.

14 - Information and clarification

Please send any questions to Please use “CFP FAPESP-Microsoft” in the subject line of your e-mail message to ensure a prompt and proper response.


Page updated on 06/06/2014 - Published on 06/05/2014