Skip to main content
    Country/region [change]    Terms of use
    Home    Products    Services & solutions    Support & downloads    My account    
IBM Research


Your browser did not accept the automatic redirect.
Please click through to: ../awards/phdfellowship.shtml

    About IBMPrivacyContact
IBM Academic Awards: Ph.D. Fellowship Awards

University Awards

Supporting research, curriculum innovation, and educational assistance

About the program

About the program

The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. These include: computer science and engineering (including cyber security, cloud, and mobile computing), electrical and mechanical engineering, physical sciences (including chemistry, material sciences, and physics), mathematical sciences (including analytics of massive scale data with uncertainty, operations research, and optimization), public sector and business sciences (including urban policy and analytics, social technologies, learning systems and Cognitive Computing), and Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME). Additionally, IBM Research is paying special attention to the following areas of focus for 2015-2016:

  • Technology that creates new business and social value
    Close interaction with clients to develop innovative solutions to solve their toughest technical challenges. Examples include data analytics for drug discovery, social media analytics for new business models in retail, design of enterprise mobile applications, etc. The IBM Customer Experience Lab at the Watson Research Center provides a unique environment for researchers to work hand in hand with clients, using the latest technology platforms to develop and deliver innovative solutions for the most demanding industry needs.
  • Cognitive Computing research
    The availability of large amounts of structured and unstructured data from business and public records, mobile devices, sensors and social media has brought the traditional artificial intelligence discipline to the era of Cognitive Computing. Individuals, professionals and businesses need help from cognitive machines to make sense of the many things that concern them on a near- real time basis. The active areas of research include natural language processing, assisted and automated machine learning, creation of knowledge representations and scalable querying techniques, multimedia analytics, contextual computing, recommendation and reasoning systems, a close collaboration between humans and machines on human terms, a rich platform and tools that support the creation and support of the cognitive applications, etc. IBM Research is closely tied to the IBM Watson Group for taking the research technology to market.
  • Cloud and distributed computing technology and solutions
    Next-generation computer hardware and software architecture:

    The next generation computer hardware architecture will enable the systems and datacenters of the future, providing the foundation for our enterprise cloud computing capabilities. Some specific enablers include: accelerators, components and performance tuning technologies; storage and compute (Power, Mainframe) system technologies, composable (dis-aggregated) systems inclusive of compute migration to memory; storage and throughout the system hierarchy; next-generation networking architecture and switching technology enabling datacenter "flattening" and associated software such as system compilers, operating systems (AIX, Z/OS), general parallel file system and object store.

    The next-generation software architecture will provide (a) contextual and adaptive security and compliance and enable (b) foundations for solutions providers inclusive of a very agile feedback-driven Dev/Ops cycle, business insights through a system of insight cloud platform that marries systems of engagement and systems of record data and the building blocks of the next-generation API economy; (c) hybrid cloud foundations for enterprise client workloads, where data and programs are in many places including public and private machines; and (d) container cloud capabilities. Some specific enablers for all of these include: application integration middleware; programming languages, models, runtimes and tools; software engineering methodology inclusive of experiment execution and app refinement; cloud platform/infrastructure, storage and networking services and enhanced labor centric service delivery through automation, optimization and analytics.

  • Fundamental science and technology
    New materials, devices, and processes to extend core logic and memory technology roadmaps further into the nanotechnology regime, and new computing devices and architectures beyond the conventional von Neumann architecture such as neuromorphic and quantum.

Preference will be given to students who have had an IBM internship or have closely collaborated with technical or services people from IBM.

The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards program also supports our long-standing commitment to workforce diversity. IBM values diversity in the workplace and encourages nominations of women, minorities and all who contribute to that diversity.

Awardees will have an opportunity to be recognized on IBM websites and communications.

Program scope

Program scope

The IBM Ph.D. Fellowships are awarded worldwide. IBM Ph.D. Fellows are awarded a stipend for one academic year. Fellowships vary by country/geographic area, and the students will be informed at the time of the award what the value is for their country/geographic area.

All IBM Ph.D. Fellows are matched with an IBM Mentor according to their technical interests, and they are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one internship at IBM while completing their studies. Interns are paid by their host site and will be subject to the prevailing terms and conditions of the internship program at that site. IBM is an equal opportunity employer.

After receiving an award, an Award Recipient may be renominated the following year for consideration to receive another IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, based on the Award Recipient's continued exceptional academic standing, progress and achievement, and sustained interaction with IBM's technical community. A student may compete annually and be awarded a maximum of three years. IBM requests that a maximum of two nominations per department be submitted, in addition to any renewal nominations.



Students must be nominated by a doctoral faculty member and enrolled full-time in a college or university Ph.D. program. The faculty member is encouraged to contact an IBM colleague prior to submitting the nomination to assure mutual interest. Students from Europe and Russia may be nominated in their first year of study in their doctoral program. Outside of Europe and Russia, students must have completed at least one year of study in their doctoral program at the time of their nomination. Students from U.S. embargoed countries are not eligible for the program. Award Recipients will be selected based on their overall potential for research excellence, the degree to which their technical interests align with those of IBM, and their academic progress to-date, as evidenced by publications and endorsements from their faculty advisor and department head. While students may accept other supplemental fellowships, to be eligible for the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award they may not accept a major award in addition to the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship.

For further information, see frequently asked questions or contact