Amazon Research Awards


What types of proposals does ARA fund?

The Amazon Research Awards (ARA) program funds academic research and related contributions to open-source projects by top academic researchers around the world. ARA aims to fund projects leading toward a PhD degree or conducted as a part of post-doctoral work. Check our Call for Proposals page for a list of focus areas supported this year.

Who is eligible to apply?

The lead researcher/s who applies to the ARA Program (the “Principal Investigator/s”) must: (1) be a permanent faculty member at an accredited college(s) or university(ies) (excluding colleges or universities located in any of the restricted jurisdictions outlined below) that grant PhD degrees in fields related to Machine Learning, (2) must not have any full time engagement outside of academia, (3) be at or above the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of application, and (4) not be a person under US export controls or sanctions. Awarded funds will support 1-2 graduate student or post-doc researchers conducting the research under the guidance of this PI. For detailed Rules, please review current Call for Proposal.

What is an Amazon sponsor and is one required to apply?

Amazon sponsor is a colleague who is aware of the proposal, familiar with PI's research and is willing to serve as an Amazon research contact for the proposal. It is not required to have an Amazon sponsor to submit a proposal to ARA. While the ARA team is not able to find an Amazon sponsor for the PI prior to submission, all funded proposals will be assigned an Amazon research contact by the review panel.

What is the structure of an ARA award? Can it be extended?

Awards are structured as one-year unrestricted gifts to academic institutions and can include up to $80,000 in funding and up to $20,000 in AWS Promotional Credits[1]. Though the funding is not extendable, applicants can submit new proposals for subsequent calls.

Is it possible to have multiple faculty members on a single proposal?

We prefer that proposals be submitted by a single faculty member, who will also supervise the student or post-doc who is to be funded by the award. Other members of the research team can and should be mentioned in the proposal.

Is it possible for one faculty member to be on multiple grants?

We ask that any individual faculty member submit only one proposal.

Do recipients have access to Amazon data?

Recipients will have access to Amazon datasets that are already public, such as the Amazon Bin Image Dataset, but not to non-public data.

Does Amazon retain any intellectual property and licensing on the material developed during the time period that a student is funded?

ARA funding is distributed as unrestricted gifts to universities. As such, the funding does not result in any transfer or license of any intellectual property rights.

Does Amazon accept any legal obligation with respect to submitted proposals?

We are happy to review non-confidential project proposals. As such, project proposals shall not contain any confidential information (please do not include any information in your proposal that you or others consider confidential). Amazon does not accept any legal obligation (whether of confidentiality, compensation, return or otherwise) with respect to any proposals. Amazon reserves the right to implement similar ideas in the future without restriction or obligation.

What budget expenses will Amazon consider for the award?

A proposed cash budget not exceeding $80,000 is generally expected to support one PhD student (or a post-doctoral researcher) for one year, plus some conference travel and equipment. The budget should include a list of expected costs specified in USD, and should not include administrative overhead costs. We ask not to include PI salary into the proposal budget. The final award amount will be determined by the awards panel.

Additionally, proposals may include a request for up to $20,000 of AWS Promotional Credits[2].

Proposals should include the requested amount, a short justification, and a list of AWS Public Datasets (if any) to be used in the proposed research. The final amount of free AWS Promotional Credits will be determined by the awards panel.

Who will evaluate the proposals and when will I know the outcome of the review?

Project proposals are reviewed by an internal awards panel and the results are communicated approximately four months after the submission deadline. We will communicate the decision to the primary Principal Investigator listed on each proposal, and will make an announcement on the ARA website. We expect the primary Principle Investigator to notify the rest of their team about funding decisions.

What happens after the ARA recipients are announced?

Each project will be assigned an Amazon research contact. The university researchers are encouraged to maintain regular communication with their Amazon contact to discuss ongoing research and project progress. We also encourage publishing the outcome of the project and committing any related code to open-source code repositories.

Can I speak to someone from the Amazon Research Awards team to find out more?

We provide limited email support via Due to the volume of emails we receive, we may not be able to respond to questions where the answer is available on the website.