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, 2022 to September 15, 2022.
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
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.
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 commercial deployment systems can solve only a part of whole problems, 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 of the underutilized spectrum resources at a given time and space. We 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, more ergonomic, 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 still heavy and costly. To make robots ubiquitous, a new actuator and a new mechanism are crucial, in which the next-generation driving principle, configuration and power transmission are employed. Sony is interested in new actuators and mechanisms which can further evolve robots.
Sony aims for a society that contributes to the improvement of QoL (Quality of Life) by coexisting mobile robots with humans in living and urban spaces. It is important to be able to navigate fully autonomously in a dynamic environment including indoors and outdoors without human support. Navigation technologies such as 3D environment recognition, task planning, motion planning, and localization are indispensable for autonomous mobile robots to become ubiquitous. Sony seeks to develop navigation technologies that will dramatically improve the practicality of robots in this decade.
Recognition of the surrounding dynamic environment has become an important task in autonomous driving. However, it is necessary to combine various recognition and computer vision technologies. Sony is seeking a technology to realize an end-to-end (E2E) dynamic environment representation in a Bird's Eye View (BEV) from multiple sensor inputs. Specifically, we are looking for proposals such as panoptic segmentation, lane recognition, motion segmentation, and trajectory prediction in a BEV. Particular emphasis is placed on high performance with a simple architecture and scalability to various sensors such as Camera, LiDAR, and RADAR.
We use our eyes, sense organs, and brain to recognize the outside world, and vision plays an important role in external recognition. Vision is classified into two fields; central vision and peripheral vision, mainly based on the characteristics of photoreceptors. The central vision has a narrow range but is superior in high resolution and color discrimination. The peripheral vision has a weak resolution but is superior in capturing movement. Humans seem to be better aware of the outside world by skillfully combining these different characteristics.
In the development of XR (VR/AR/MR) technology, Sony is conducting research on displays with a wide field of view in order to realize user experiences and display experiences that differ from conventional ones. In order to cover a wide field of view, it is necessary not only to express specific areas in high definition like conventional display devices, but also to consider how to express information to the peripheral field of view. And we believe that we need to better understand the psychological and neuroscientific properties of peripheral vision, not just central vision.
We look forward to receiving proposals from research institutions that will undertake innovative research that will contribute to the development of new display devices and display methods that we are challenging.
Infrared VCSELs are getting more attention as novel light sources for sensors such as Lidar for automobiles and facial recognition built into smartphones. There is also a strong demand for conventional applications such as optical communications, laser printers, etc. These applications drive Sony innovation to enable higher output power, lower electric power consumption, longer life, narrower or wider divergence angles, higher frequency switching, more robust and cost-efficient production processes, and novel functions such as integration with scanning systems. We seek proposals regarding novel technologies for NIR-VCSELs for further evolution.
Liquid biopsy technologies are going to be used to help find early stage cancers and treatment planning or to optimize treatments by measuring circulating DNA/RNA, extracellular vesicles, cancer cells, or immune cells in blood. Sony seeks proposals for advanced liquid biopsy technologies that can apply microfluidics technology.
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.
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 primary PI and the primary 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, please do not submit identical proposals more than once. 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.
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 requires the right to utilize the results of the research that it sponsors for noncommercial purposes, including potentially patentable subject matter. Sony 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 use rights to Sony.
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 2022 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, 2022 / 8:59 am CEST (Central European Summer Time; UTC+2) September 16, 2022 / 12:29 pm IST (Indian Standard Time; UTC+05:30) September 16, 2022.
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 2023. 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 2022 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 other inquiry or proposal.