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Innovation Fellowship 2012

QInF: ETH Zürich

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 at ETH Zürich.

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 of ETHZ. 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
Lorenz Meier Fast and Accurate Markerless Visual Inertial Motion Tracking and Localization
Matthias Dantone Augmented Faces
M. Zia Zeeshan Taking Augmented Reality to the Real World

QInF 2012 ETHZ Finals

Candidate Supervisor Proposal Title
Bernhard Zeisl Marc Pollefeys Mobile Interactive Image-based 3D Modeling of Objects
Christoph Vogel Konrad Schindler Multi Frame 3D Scene Flow
Gábor Sörös Friedemann Mattern Next Generation Barcode Scanning
Lorenz Meier Marc Pollefeys Fast and Accurate Markerless Visual Inertial Motion Tracking and Localization
Matthias Dantone Luc Van Gool Augmented Faces
Zia Zeeshan Konrad Schindler Taking Augmented Reality to the Real World

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 institutes at ETH Zürich:

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

  • Augmented Reality
  • Markerless tracking (e.g. face tracking, SLAM)
  • Use of sensors and hybrid approaches
  • Optimization techniques for mobile devices
  • 3D model acquisition
  • Image/Video based rendering
  • Coherent rendering
  • Object recognition
  • Gesture recognition
  • Interaction techniques
  • Other related areas

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 (tentative, to be confirmed)
  • Final presentations due: April 20, 2012
  • Finalists presentation: May 11, 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.ethz@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 9, 2012
  • Info session at ETHZ: Week of January 23, 2012

Proposal Submission

  • Submissions due: Friday, February 24, 2012

Finalist Announcement

  • Finalist Announcement: March 26, 2012 (tentative, to be confirmed)

Finalist Presentations

  • Deadline for slide submission: Friday, April 20, 2012
  • Finalist presentation at ETHZ: Friday, May 11, 2012

Winner Announcement

  • Public announcement of winners: May 2012