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Innovation Fellowship 2012

QInF: Cambridge

2012 brings QInF to Europe’s top schools: Cambridge University, ETH Zürich, and Technical University of Munich. The fellowship program will be run independently in each of these schools and the details on this page relate to QInF in Cambridge.

A large number of Qualcomm CRD engineers participate in carefully reviewing all the proposals and selecting the QInF Finalists, who are then invited to present their proposals to a panel of executive judges. Each winning student receives a £10,000 Fellowship for the upcoming academic year. For 2012, three Fellowships will be awarded at selected departments. Furthermore, we assign a Qualcomm researcher as mentor to each winning student, to facilitate close collaboration and interaction with Qualcomm Corporate Research & Development.

We have immensely enjoyed running QInF, meeting all of the finalists, and collaborating with the winners. We look forward to its continued expansion.

For a list of previous years' winners see here: 2011, 2010, and 2009.


QInF 2012 Winners

Student Innovation Title
Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez Towards opportunistic social computing
Ali Mustafa Zaidi Mitigating the effects of dark silicon
Tadas Baltrušaitis Facial expression and head pose tracker

QInF 2012 Cambridge Finals

Candidate Supervisor Proposal Title
Alex Bradbury Robert Mullins Dynamically exploiting a flexible many-core architecture
Tadas Baltrusaitis Peter Robinson Facial expression and head pose tracker
Malte Schwarzkopf Steven Hand Multi-scale data-flow computing over heterogeneous devices
Stuart Bennett Joan Lasenby Precise 3D surface measurement using commodity mobile hardware
Ali Mustafa Zaidi David Greaves Mitigating the effects of Dark Silicon
Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez Jon Crowcroft Towards opportunistic social computing
Zhen Bai Alan Blackwell Augmenting imagination for children with Autism
Oliver Chick Andrew Rice Formalising best practices for power-efficient programs

We believe that research and development is the key to harnessing the power of imagination and to discovering new possibilities. We are excited to announce a new kind of fellowship that promotes Qualcomm’s core values of innovation, execution and partnership. Our goal is to enable students to pursue their futuristic innovative ideas.

Qualcomm is inviting applications for the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship 2012 from outstanding PhD students in the following departments/divisions at Cambridge University:

We will be awarding fellowships to THREE winning students for the 2012–13 academic year.

Each of the three winning students will be awarded a £10,000 fellowship for submitting the most innovative proposals. The respective academic departments at each university will administer funds to the winning students for their fellowship work and research expenses for the academic year of 2012–13. Total funding for three students x £10,000 each = £30,000.

The focus for the Fellowship program at Cambridge is on Mobile Computing. The following shows a set of focus areas for this year, but outstanding proposals in other areas will be considered as well:

  • Augmented/Mixed Reality
  • 3D model acquisition
  • Object recognition
  • Novel device interaction beyond the screen
  • Interactions for an ageing poulation
  • Gesture recognition
  • Proximal/P2P networking
  • Context-aware computing
  • Mobile sensing
  • Power-saving techniques

Note: We also welcome proposals in other areas since we are very keen to learn about things we do not know!


  • Application deadline is February 24, 2012
  • Finalists will be announced on March 26, 2012
  • Final presentations due: April 30, 2012, 11 pm
  • Finalists presentation: May 9, 2012
  • Winners Announcement: May, 2012 (exact date to be announced)

Application Process

The main judging criterion is an innovation proposal that must include:

  • Introduction and problem definition
  • Innovation proposal and relation to the state of the art
  • The one year horizon of the project (even if the proposal is a multi-year project)
  • The strength of the student for achieving the proposal milestones.

See FAQ for more details.

Winners will be selected through a two phase application process:

  1. Finalists selection: applications must be submitted by the deadline above. Each application must include (in PDF or Word format):
    • Three page proposal summarizing your innovative idea
    • Letter from one or more faculties recommending the innovation
    • Signed copy of the official rules document
    • Student’s CV
    • Above information should be sent in a single zip file to:
  2. Winners selection: finalist must prepare a 15 minute presentation for the judges. Presentation must be in PowerPoint or PDF format. The presentation generally includes:
    • The idea
    • The differentiating factors from state of the art
    • The execution plan / strength of the student

The official rules for the innovation fellowship are available for download.

Please check back to this page regularly for application and program updates.

Faculty & Mentor

In addition to the faculty advisor(s) to guide the fellowship research, Qualcomm will also provide industry experts to mentor the students, as well as regular collaboration opportunities with Qualcomm Research & Development to further assist with projects. Successful projects will be reevaluated after one year for further research funding from Qualcomm.

More Info?

Do you need further Information? Please direct your questions to innovation.fellowship.cambridge@qualcomm.com

Application Rules

Can students without advisors participate?

Sure, but they are encouraged to find a like-minded faculty to recommend the innovation.

Are newly admitted students eligible to apply for the fellowship?

Yes, students who start PhD in Autumn of 2012 are also eligible to apply for fellowship. The advisor's recommendation can mention that the student is registered for Autumn.

Are there any citizenship or permanent residency requirements?


Can Visiting Scholars or Post Docs be applicants?

Unfortunately, visiting scholars are not eligible to apply for the fellowship this time. You are welcome to discuss your proposal and be guided by your visiting scholar associate or your faculty advisor.

Can the same student submit two applications?

Sure, just go through the application process twice and submit two completely different sets of applications.

Is there a preference/requirement on the seniority of the students?

Since this is a research focus fellowship, we are limiting this to PhD students. This means that each student must be enrolled in the PhD program for the whole academic year of 2012–13 to win the Fellowship (i.e., enrolled into a PhD program starting Autumn 2012 AND continuing in the PhD program until Spring 2013).

Are there any enrollment requirements?

Students need to be enrolled in a full-time PhD program for the entire academic year 2012–13


What does "innovation proposal" mean?

- Introduction, which describes the problem and current state of the art (i.e. limitations or lack of current solutiuons)
- Proposal, which describes the innovation idea, and what you propose to do
- One year horizon, which explains the target goals for one year and preferably also includes the long-term milestones
- Description of the student's strength and proposed contribution to the innovation for achieving the milestones. Also describe why this student is better suited for this proposal than any one else.

What size of proposal do you expect?

approx. 3 pages

Who owns the intellectual property from the applications?

Students / University

Who owns the intellectual property developed during the course of the Fellowship?

Students / University

Does the proposal have to be the same as the research plan for your Ph.D. under your supervisor for the next year? i.e. can the proposal be for a project that is not your main area of research?

The proposal can indeed be different from your thesis

If the winning proposal is for a non-primary research project, how many hours of work per week do you expect the winners to spend on their projects?

There is no strict requirement on how much time you are expected to spend. We expect the winning projects to be interesting and exciting enough that the winners will want to spend time on the project. In addition to the Fellowship, Qualcomm will assist by providing mentor, and the recommending faculty would be another likely resource for help. Internships in the summer are also possible

Is there any preference on incremental vs. long-term ideas?

No, both types of proposals are welcome

Should the proposed ideas be commercializable?

Not at all. It could be pure research

Are proposal outside of the listed areas acceptable?

Can the recommending faculty be from another university?

What should be the scope of the recommendation letter from the faculty?

Should recommendation letters be confidential?

Any requirements on length of recommendation letters?

Can Qualcomm release the proposals of the past winning teams?


What is the judging process?

How many Fellowships will be awarded?

What happens if the applicant already has a fellowship?

Do funds expire after 1 year?

Are proposals for projects aligned with Qualcomm’s business interests favored?


What will Qualcomm provide post-Fellowship?

Special instructions for previous QInF Applicants

Can previous QInF applicants apply again?

Can QInF applicants from previous years get feedback on their application?

Program Launch

  • Launch with e-mail & posters: Week of January 16, 2012
  • Info session at Cambridge University: Week of January 30, 2012

Proposal Submission

  • Submissions due: Friday, February 24, 2012

Finalist Announcement

  • Finalist Announcement: May 9, 2012

Finalist Presentations

  • Deadline for slide submission: Monday, April 30, 2012, 11:00pm GMT
  • Finalist presentation in Cambridge: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Winner Announcement

  • Public announcement of winners: May 2012