QInF 2015 Cambridge

Check back soon for details about the 2016 program.

2015 Cambridge Program Details

Qualcomm's three European research centers in Cambridge, Germany and Austria ran their own fellowship programs. Each winning student received a fellowship in the amount of £10,000 for Cambridge and €10,000 each for Germany and Austria for the upcoming academic year, plus assignment of a Qualcomm researcher as mentor to facilitate close collaboration and interaction with Qualcomm Corporate Research & Development. We had three winners from each research center location and for the first time we had a European champion winner for the student with the most innovative proposal from the three participating European QInF locations.

Application Process
Participating Departments/Divisions
Areas of Interest

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.

We will be awarding Fellowships to three winning students for the 2015-16 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 2015–16. Total funding for three students x £10,000 each = £30,000.


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 FAQs for more details.


Winners will be selected through a two-phase process:

1. Finalists selection: Applications must be submitted online by the deadline noted in the Timeline tab. 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: innovation.fellowship.cambridge@qti.qualcomm.com
    The zip file should be named: QINF2015_.zip

2. Winners selection: Finalist must prepare a 15-minute presentations 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@qti.qualcomm.com

Qualcomm is inviting applications for the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship 2015 from outstanding PhD students in the following departments/divisions at Cambridge University and Imperial College, London:

  • Cambridge University Computer Lab
  • Cambridge University Department of Engineering
  • Computer Science Department at Imperial College, London
  • Computer Science Department at University College, London

The following shows a set of focus areas for this year, but outstanding proposals in other areas will be considered as well:

The Quantified Self, or Life-logging

  • Extending the senses through wearable computing
  • Solutions for collecting, interpreting, and feeding back data from body-worn sensors
  • Using data representations to alter user behaviour

Natural User Interfaces

  • Gesture detection and control, including gesture control in the home
  • Combined Voice and Gesture interactions
  • Context Awareness for better interpretation of human-machine interactions

Internet of Things

  • Connected Home and Connected Car
  • Security and Privacy, particularly in a mobile and proximate device context
  • Context Awareness for better interpretation of human-machine interactions
  • Applying machine learning techniques to human interactions with devices
  • Home Health monitoring

Applied Machine Learning

  • Applying machine learning techniques, particularly in the mobile context
  • Always-on context aware information

Assistive Technology/Inclusive Design

  • Human interactions for normal users or with specific impairments affecting sensory perception (e.g. reduced sight, dyslexia, hearing loss)

Computer Vision

  • 3D environmental mapping
  • Augmented Reality, including always on AR


  • Extending the senses through wearable computing
  • Solutions for collecting, interpreting, and feeding back data from body-worn sensors
  • Health/activity monitoring

Digital Eyeware

  • Computer Vision
  • 3D environmental mapping
  • Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, including always on AR
  • New methods of user interaction

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

  • Info sessions at faculties will be done by the 23rd Jan.
  • Paper submissions must be received by Qualcomm by end-of-day Fri 27th Feb.
  • Finalists will be announcement by Qualcomm on the 27th March.
  • Slides for the Finalists’ presentations must be submitted to Qualcomm by Thur 23rd April.
  • Finalist presentation: Thur 30th April.

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 the Autumn of 2015 are also eligible to apply for the 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 at 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 2015–16 to win the Fellowship (i.e., enrolled into a PhD program starting Autumn 2015 AND continuing in the PhD program until Spring 2016).

Are there any enrollment requirements?

Students need to be enrolled in a full-time PhD program for the entire academic year 2015-16.


What does "innovation proposal" mean?

  • Introduction, which describes the problem and current state of the art (i.e. limitations or lack of current solutions)
  • 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?

Approximately three (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 PhD under your supervisor for the next year?

The proposal can indeed be different from your thesis.

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

There is no strict requirement on how much time you are expected to spend on your project. 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 a 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 commercialiizable?

Not at all. It could be pure research.

Are proposal outside of the listed areas acceptable?

yes. That’s just a list of suggested areas, but proposal should not be limited to that.

Can the recommending faculty be from another university?

We want the first recommender to be from the school. Second recommender may be from another school.

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

  • Why the proposal is innovative.
  • Why the proposal is important.
  • Why the student is likely to succeed in the proposal.

Should recommendation letters be confidential?

An open letter is preferred. But if your advisor wishes to keep it confidential, he/she can send the letter directly to innovation.fellowship.cambridge@qti.qualcomm.com, including the relevant details.

Any requirements on length of recommendation letters?

Not particularly, but 1-2 pages should be enough.

Can Qualcomm release the proposals of the past winners?

Qualcomm does not publish the winning submissions to QInF, but you are welcome to visit the winners’ webpages to learn more about their research.


What is the judging process?

The final winners are selected via a two step process: (i) reviewers from Qualcomm Research selects a list of finalists who should prepare a presentation about their proposal; (ii) after finalists presentation, the judging panel selects the winners.

How many Fellowships will be awarded?

Three winning students are each awarded a Fellowship of £10,000.

What happens if the applicant already has a fellowship?

The winners get the title, and their department will appropriately reward the student and his/her research project via other possible means.

Do funds expire after one year?

No, the department can roll it over to next year. Your department is completely flexible on how to use the money.

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

We are hoping that the fellowship applications will introduce us to new areas of research. As such, we explicitly encourage proposals in new areas that are not yet aligned with Qualcomm’s business interests.


What will Qualcomm provide post-Fellowship?

Other than the Fellowship award, Qualcomm will also provide the following:

  • A mentor for each winning student
  • Opportunities to regularly collaborate with the researchers in the Qualcomm Research Centers and possibly use their labs
  • Guest offices, and reimbursement for travel to Qualcomm facilities
  • Expedited process for internship applications

Special Instructions for Previous QInF Applicants

Can previous QInF applicants apply again?

Of course! In fact, we encourage former applicants to submit new, or update their original proposal and resubmit it again using the provided proposal guidelines.

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

Yes! If you like to get feedback on your original proposal, please contact us (innovation.fellowship.cambridge@qualcomm.com) and we will set up a face-to-face or phone conversation to give you feedback on your proposal and how you can improve it for the current edition of QInF.

School Student(s) Recommender(s) Innovation Title
Computer Science Department at Imperial College, London James Booth Stefanos Zafeiriou Automatic Construction of Massive-scale 3D Morphable Models
Cambridge University Department of Engineering Marina Riabiz Joan Lazenby, Simon Godsill Bayesian Inference for the alpha-Stable Distribution
Cambridge University Computer Lab Mark Florisson Alan Mycroft Interfaces for Communication Protocols
Cambridge University Department of Engineering Mark van der Wilk Prof. Carl Edward Rasmussen Variational Inference and Kernel Bayes Rule
Cambridge University Department of Engineering Yarin Gal Prof. Zoubin Ghahramani Scalable Probabilistic Representation Learning
Computer Science Department at Imperial College, London Jeremy Riviere Dr. Abhijeet Ghosh On-site Acquisition of Surface Reflectance

Fellowship Winners and Finalists

The Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship began in 2009, and has continued to grow with the addition of more universities, more candidates, and expansion to our research centers internationally. Take a look at a list of all our fellowship winners and finalists from years past:

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