As part of one of the world's most innovative and recognizable brands, we are committed to support university research and innovation in the U.S., Canada, India, and select European countries, while also fostering partnerships with university faculty and researchers. The Sony Research Award Program provides funding for cutting-edge academic research and helps build a collaborative relationship between faculty and Sony researchers. With awards up to $150,000 USD* per year for each accepted proposal, both the Faculty Innovation Award and Focused Research Award create new opportunities for university faculties and research institutions to engage in pioneering research that could drive new technologies, industries and the future.
Up to $100K USD* in funds to conduct cutting-edge research in Sony's general areas of interest
Up to $150K USD* in funds to conduct research in the areas of Sony's immediate interest
Eligibility, requirements, submission protocol, and terms are explained in these guidelines.
Proposal submission is open from July 15, 2023 to September 15, 2023.
Congratulations to all award recipients in the Sony Research Award Program! We sincerely look forward to working closely with you.
Global research and development at Sony enables us to foster innovative ideas, which could ultimately lead to future technology advancements and company growth. In order to speed up and expand the creation of new ideas, we would like to partner with universities and research institutes. This partnership will help cultivate advanced concepts and fertilize our own research and development. The Sony Faculty Innovation Award provides up to $100K USD* in funds to conduct pioneering research in the areas listed below. Please select the single most relevant keyword to your submission. In an effort to further connect with users and creators alike, for many of the keywords listed below, creator tools or creator technologies are often one of the envisioned use-cases.
Keywords are bulleted under each category title
Keywords are bulleted under each category title
Keywords are bulleted under each category title
Solid research is the underlying driving force to crystallize fearless creativity and innovation. While we are committed to run in-house research and engineering, we are also excited to collaborate with academic partners to facilitate exploration of new and promising research. The Sony Focused Research Award provides an opportunity for university faculty, research institutes, and Sony to conduct this type of collaborative, focused research. The award provides up to $150K USD* in funds, and may be renewed for subsequent year(s). A list of candidate research topics appears below. Please select the Focused Research Theme for which your submission is written.
Well-built models suffer from remarkable performance degradation when applied to new scenes due to domain shift problems. In many practical scenarios, it is not possible to prepare enough large-scale annotated datasets to train DNN models due to constraints such as domain differences, label-set discrepancies between domains, and labor cost to annotate newly collected data. Sony is exploring novel training approaches that overcome domain gaps between multiple domains for further utilizing huge unannotated data in the real-world.
Training methods for overcoming the domain gap in multi-domain datasets for image recognition such as but not limited to:
The demands of spectrum resources are always increasing for wireless communication systems to create new communication experiences. Next generation network systems are always recognized as emerging concepts for satisfying future demands. Current commercially deployed systems can solve only part of the whole problem, but there remain many challenges in future wireless communications. Sony is seeking advanced network communication system designs and their underlying core technologies for utilizing all the underutilized spectrum resources at a given time and place. We will anticipate that additional emerging technologies for next generation networks may include artificial intelligence, quantum computing, digital-twins/metaverse, neuroscience/biology-based technologies, etc.
Innovative technologies for next generation network communication infrastructure may include but are not limited to:
In order to realize robots working in human living environments, robots need to be more efficient/ergonomic, more collaborative, safer, and less costly. The actuator is one of the key components to enable this. The combination of an electro-magnetic motor, reduction gears such as a harmonic drive, an encoder, and force sensor, in some cases, is the most popular way to construct an actuator; but it is too heavy and costly. To make robots ubiquitous, a new actuator and a new mechanism are crucial, in which a next-generation driving principle, configuration, and power transmission are employed. Sony is interested in new actuators and mechanisms that will enable the evolution of robots.
We seek entirely new methods for actuators and mechanisms in robots such as but not limited to;
Sony has realized a high-peak-power chip-scale surface-emitting laser* (WL-DPSSEL: wafer-level diode-pumped solid-state surface-emitting laser) that produces pulses as short as 450 ps, and an estimated peak power of 57 kW with laser chip dimensions of 1 mm³. We further intend to integrate it with cutting-edge technologies and features to enable entirely new capabilities and applications through this program.
Novel technologies to enable Sony's high-peak-power solid-state surface-emitting lasers to further evolve in various areas such as, but not limited to:
Sony is conducting research on AR/VR/MR displays which provide high fidelity and comfortable viewing experiences. Wide field of view (FOV), high resolution, high dynamic range, high color gamut of the image, and compactness of the display are the keys to realizing the targeted fidelity and comfort. A compact and low-power consumption eye-sensing device also plays an important role in improving the quality and efficiency of image projection. Some technologies have been proposed to improve key factors, such as a catadioptric pancake lens system to achieve compactness and high resolution. However, they suffer from drawbacks with regard to other metrics such as poor optical throughput. We are looking for novel technologies which will enhance the fidelity and comfort of the AR/VR/MR viewing experience.
Novel technologies that contribute to the development of AR/VR/MR displays that may include, but are not limited to the following areas:
Microfluidics has played an important role in biology recently. Examples include immunotherapeutic cell manufacturing and single-cell multi-omics analysis; this list goes on and on. Sony has various types of microfluidics technologies which are used in Sony's flow cytometers. The technology can also be applied to highly accurate and inexpensive micro-reaction chambers or creating massive water-in-oil droplets with a single cell. Sony seeks novel biological applications using this kind of microfluidics technology.
Novel biological applications using microfluidics technology, especially micro reaction chamber or massive water-in-oil droplets with a single cell, such as but not limited to:
Recent advances in machine learning have created a paradigm shift for many applications. For instance, deep learning based approaches have achieved a big leap forward over the previous state-of-the-art in classification, segmentation, and recognition. Sony is looking for innovative research in image/video processing based on machine learning to significantly improve existing image/video processing techniques and applications in 3D as well as 2D. Sony is also interested in research in this area to create entirely new products or services.
Topics of interest include:
Topics of interest include:
Blockchain is a key technology for emerging Web3 services but privacy of the data recorded on blockchains is a critical issue for real-world business applications. Zero-Knowledge Proof is acknowledged as an essential technology to solve the privacy issue whereas the drawback is the performance deterioration and cost increase which can become a barrier to commercialization. Sony has a variety of blockchain use-cases and is seeking proposals to optimize ZKP performance and gas fees in a way specific to Sony use-cases.
Novel technologies to optimize specific ZKP statements and applications in terms of computation complexity for ZKP proof generation and ZKP proof verification. Targeted research areas include but are not limited to the following:
Novel view synthesis and frame extrapolation technologies for future cloud streaming such as, but not limited to:
Some of the questions that a proposal should seek to answer or topics to be covered include:
We accept applications from Principal Investigators (PIs) who meet the eligibility criteria below.
We accept applications that have a PI and one or more co-PIs for the same proposal as long as all co-PIs are from the same institution as the PI. However, only one award is made to the PI and the PI's university/institution if the proposal is selected. All co-PIs must meet the same eligibility criteria as that for a PI, and co-PIs will be required to sign program documents.
A PI or different PIs from the same university/institution may submit more than one proposal for different research topics. However, we ask each PI to please not submit identical proposals, and for each PI to not submit more than one proposal for each research topic. Sony will gladly accept an unlimited number of proposals from the same university for the same research topic as long as they each have different PIs. Note that at the bottom of your submission confirmation email, there is a link to resubmit your proposal in the event that you discover that your original had an error or an omission. Please use this link for resubmissions and do not resubmit identical proposals. Also, please do not submit "test" submissions. In the rare event that you do not receive a confirmation email for your submission, please complete the Inquiry Form available here informing us of your issue.
Please select one target award between the Focused Research Award and the Faculty Innovation Award when you submit a proposal. Refer to the following comparison chart:
|Focused Research Award
|up to $150K USD*
|Choose from the Focused Research Theme List
|One (1) year, with a possible extension
|Faculty Innovation Award
|up to $100K USD*
|Choose from the list of Keywords
|One (1) year, with a possible extension
Please select one Focused Research Theme for your proposal if you choose the Focused Research Award. Please select one keyword (the single most relevant keyword for your proposal) if you choose the Faculty Innovation Award.
A sponsored research agreement is required that is mutually agreed upon by Sony**, the PI, and his/her institution on all program terms including objectives, milestones, publication, use of research, and patent rights before any award is made or funding is available. This sponsored research agreement is negotiable at the award stage and must be between Sony**, the PI, and the PI's university/institution only. The sponsored research agreement will be for the benefit of the Sony legal entity specifically contracting with the PI's university/institution as well as Sony's corporate affiliates.
Please submit proposals for a one-year period only. No multi-year proposals will be accepted. An extension of the research may be possible depending upon the results of the research collaboration in year one, but it will require a separate discussion for another award the following year.
Three (3) quarterly reports and a final research summary report are required at a minimum.
Sony may request the PI to support a Sony visiting researcher(s) at Sony's option and expense.
Proposal authors or universities/institutions must ensure that no confidential or proprietary information is included in submitted proposals. Sony will treat all information submitted in proposals as non-confidential and non-proprietary.
IP rights are negotiable at the award stage and will be specified in the sponsored research agreement. At a minimum, Sony and its corporate affiliates require the right to utilize the results of the research that Sony or its corporate affiliates sponsor for noncommercial purposes, including results that describe potentially patentable subject matter. Sony and its corporate affiliates will also require rights to any background IP that is required to utilize the research results sponsored. No submissions are allowed that use background IP to which the PI and his/her institution do not have the full authority to grant noncommercial use rights to Sony and its corporate affiliates.
Please include the required items listed below in your submission:
All proposal contents must fit within 11 pages (a ten-page maximum proposal with references and a one-page budget summary). The file format must be a PDF or a MS Word file format and must be under 16 MB in size. Out of consideration to reviewers, please limit your minimum font size to a 10-point font.
The CV for the PI must be included when you submit a proposal. The CV file must be a separate file from the proposal file. There is no page limitation for the CV, however the CV file size must be under 16 MB.
The Focused Research Award is limited to a maximum of $150K USD* per proposal. The Faculty Innovation Award is limited to a maximum of $100K USD* per proposal. This funding is a sponsored research grant that is to be used to conduct the research described in the proposal, and includes any overhead related to this research and any and all other fees or charges needed to carry out the research. There is a single payment for the award and it is all-inclusive of all associated expenses and fees. Sony will not specify a maximum amount or percentage of the budget that may be allocated to overhead.
The submitter must agree to the 2023 Sony Research Award Program Submission Terms and Conditions (click here to see) before submitting a proposal. Please obtain a prior review of your submission by your institution's sponsored research office if they require a review of research proposals prior to their submission.
Submissions must be done through the online submission form.
Submissions made by email will not be accepted. Submissions must be in the English language or they will not be accepted. Submitters will automatically receive a confirmation email once they complete the online submission form and process. Please keep the confirmation email as proof of each submission.
Submissions must be completed by 11:59 pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time; UTC-7) on September 15, 2023 / 8:59 am CEST (Central European Summer Time; UTC+2) September 16, 2023 / 12:29 pm IST (Indian Standard Time; UTC+05:30) September 16, 2023.
Duplicate submissions will not be accepted for the same proposal title from the same PI. Please do not make duplicate submissions. Use the resubmission link at the bottom of your confirmation email if you discover that your submission has an error or an omission.
The following information will be required in order to complete the online submission form for each proposal submitted.
Principal Investigators (PIs) will be notified of the submission review results for each proposal submitted around March of 2024. Sony will only be able to provide some limited feedback on the review process results for the highest-ranked proposals due to limited resources.
Program details will be negotiated with a PI and their university/institution if their proposal is selected. Funding will be available only after we have agreed to the terms of and signed a sponsored research agreement.
Please contact us via the Inquiry Form if you have a question regarding the 2023 Sony Research Award Program. The Research Award Program Administration Office is the only resource that can officially answer your question(s).
Please visit www.sony.com and contact the appropriate channel listed at the bottom of the web page if you have questions outside of the Sony Research Award Program (such as business proposals, joint venture proposals, research proposals that are not related to any of Focused Research Themes or keywords for the Faculty Innovation Award), or any other inquiry or proposal.