The University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory has become the only university outside the US to receive a Google-focused research award.
The awards, which total $5.7m, provide grants for two to three years to fund research into machine learning, the use of mobile phones as data collection devices for public health and environment monitoring, energy efficiency in computing, and privacy.
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The grant awarded to Cambridge's Computer Laboratory will support its Computing for the Future of the Planet research initiative led by the lab's boss, Andy Hopper.
The money will fund work on harnessing information from many different sources and sensors to monitor and understand our changing environment and use of resources. This includes the willingness to share personal information on energy use and the potential impact on privacy.
In addition to the cash, the university will have access to Google tools, technologies and expertise.
Hopper said, "The nature of these awards, which place no restrictions or constraints on the funded research, is particularly refreshing, and will help to stimulate true innovation and accelerate the development of new ideas and practical solutions. I am sure that our own work and that of other university recipients will demonstrate the value of this approach and strengthen relationships between industry and academia."