Microsoft Cloud AI Research Challenge 2018 ($25,000 grand prize)

Microsoft Cloud AI Research Challenge 2018 ($25,000 grand prize)

Deadline: April 15, 2018

The Microsoft Cloud AI Research Challenge 2018 is open. How could you use Microsoft AI to advance your research? Show them your breakthrough application of Microsoft AI services, and become eligible for up to a USD25,000 grand prize.

The Cloud AI Research Challenge invites any researcher—from students to academics to employees of public and private organizations—to build AI applications on Microsoft AI services, and the two best will be awarded USD25,000. This challenge asks you to use at least one of their AI-supporting services, including Azure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services, Data Science VM, Batch AI, Bot Framework, and others. These services feature the latest advancements in developing for AI on Azure. In addition to two grand prizes, runner-up prizes of USD10,000 and USD15,000 will be awarded, so get developing!

They invite teams of university researchers, students, and employees of public and private organizations to participate. Your team will create a working, interactive software application, in any domain, as long as it’s an intelligent system using data and the Microsoft AI platform.


  1. Microsoft will select four (4) winning applications.
  2. The awards will consist of two (2) USD25,000 grand prize awardees, one (1) USD15,000 second place, and one (1) USD10,000 third place.


  • The challenge is open to all disciplines and methodologies.
  • They encourage the submission of applications from across disciplines.

If you are not affiliated with an academic institution, your submission must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Individuals who are at least 18 years of age at the time of entry.
  • Teams of eligible individuals.
  • Teams entering on behalf of organizations (including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities) that exist and have been organized or incorporated at the time of entry and employ no more than 50 people (“Organizations”).
  • Teams entering on behalf of organizations that employ more than 50 people (“Large Organizations”), though such Large Organizations are only eligible for the Large Organization Recognition Award.


Show us what you can do with Microsoft AI services like Azure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services, Data Science VM, Batch AI, and Bot Framework. They’re looking for demonstrable applications that use the newly released set of powerful services that promote AI development through open source services on Microsoft Azure.

Applications are invited for, but not limited to, the following areas of interest:

  • Azure Machine Learning
    • Example:  Build models with labeled data to train and intelligently sense, process, and act on information to create applications that augment human capabilities.
  • Cognitive Services
    • Example:  Infuse your apps, websites, and bots with intelligent algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret your user needs through natural methods of communication.
  • Data Science
    • Example:  Create a friction-free end-to-end data science workflow using pre-installed Data Science Virtual Machines to build applications that rely on data analytics, machine learning, and AI training.
  • Container Service
    • Example:  Quickly provision and efficiently scale clusters to maximize resource utilization without container orchestration expertise.
  • Batch AI
    • Example:  Deploy virtual machines, containers, and connect your shared storage to train against any AI framework/deep learning library.
  • Bot Framework
    • Example:  Build dialog systems with open source Bot Builder SDKs.


Advance your research and you could win a USD25,000 grand prize!

Your submission will include a working, interactive software application that uses Microsoft AI services along with a video that comprehensively explains and demonstrates your application’s features and functionality and a document in the template provided.

Submit your working software application and your video to the Cloud AI Research Challenge by 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on April 15, 2018, to be considered for the prizes.

Winners will be announced in May 2018. Submitters must be 18 or older.

For more information, visit Microsoft Cloud AI Research Challenge.