Software and cloud giant Microsoft has given grants worth $160,000 to four academic university projects focusing on making data centres more efficient.

The money comes the Microsoft Research Award for the Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) which traditionally supported academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices and teaching methods. However, this year it expanded the scope to include projects looking at data centre innovation and energy efficiency.

Overall 12 projects were selected – each receiving a $40,000 grant. Four of the projects – are focused on making cloud services and data centre facilities more efficient and environmentally friendly. They are:

  • Carnegie Mellon University – Improving data centre efficiency and total cost of ownership with differentiated software reliability analysis and techniques
  • Rutgers University – CoolProvision: Provisioning of cooling systems for data centres
  • South Dakota State University – Reliable and resilient microgrids for data centres
  • Stanford University – Resource efficient cloud computing

“As Microsoft continues to find ways to transform the energy supply chain towards greater efficiency and reduced environmental impact, we have seen that driving innovation in energy often requires a close partnership between industry and academia,” said Sean James, senior research programme manager, Global Foundation Services, at Microsoft.

“The subject matter builds on our commitment to energy innovation and sustainability and we see the results of this research benefiting not only Microsoft, but the industry as a whole,” he added.