Supporting research and innovation in Europe’s universities

Thursday, December 16, 2010 | 4:28 PM

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As a company that started out in academia, we’ve always known that a lot of the world’s best computer scientists don’t work in the private sector (or in Silicon Valley, for that matter!) but in universities and research centres around the world.

Over the years, Google has invested in a large network of research and development centres around the globe, including 11 centres across Europe, Russia and Israel - and our newly announced centre in Paris. This diversity of engineering locations means that we’re able to create culturally diverse teams - and fun working environments. But they also enable us to stay closely in touch - and collaborate - with academics undertaking cutting-edge research at universities across Europe.

This week - building on an initiative we blogged about earlier this year - we announced nearly €3.7 million in research funding via our Focused Research Awards scheme. The grants are going to 14 universities and research centres in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The Focused Research Awards are unrestricted gifts that provide support for one to three years, and have been awarded to researchers in disciplines including software engineering, mathematical optimisation, information extraction and integration - and policy areas such as privacy. Recipients also get access to Google tools, technologies and expertise.

The list of research projects that have received focused research awards in Europe includes:

  • German Academy of Science and Technology (Acatech): User-centred Online Privacy, Henning Kagermann
  • Max Planck Institut Informatik, Germany: Robust and Scalable Fact Discovery from Web Sources, Gerhard Weikum, Martin Theobald, Rainer Gemulla
  • Saarland University, Germany: Test Amplification, Andreas Zeller, Gordon Fraser
  • EPFL, Switzerland: Automated Software Reliability Services, George Candea
  • CNRS, France and nine universities in France, Germany and Italy: Mathematical Optimization: Thorsten Koch (Zuse Institute of Berlin), Stefan Nickel (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Leena Suhl (University of Paderborn), Narendra Jussien (Ecole des Mines de Nantes), Pierre Bonami (CNRS/Universit√© d’Aix/Marseille), Pierre Lopez (CNRS/LAAS in Toulouse), Denis Trystram (INP Grenoble), Safia Kedad-Sidhoum (LIP6 in Paris), Andrea Lodi (University of Bologna).
  • University of Cambridge, UK: Security-Oriented Analysis of Application Programs, Steven Hand, Robert Watson
Alongside our Focused Research Awards programme, we provide grants for more than 200 smaller research projects every year, with recent awards highlighted in our research blog. These awards typically provide partial funding for PhD students. Google also supports 40 computer science PhDs worldwide through our PhD Fellowship Programmes, and currently supports 14 students in Europe. We also host over 20 faculty members on sabbatical each year world-wide, enabling them to work with Google engineering and policy teams on special projects.

Our hope is that building close connections with universities and researchers will support innovation in Europe - and extend the research capabilities of both Google’s engineers and our colleagues in academia. You can find more information about all of our research programs on our University Relations site.