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MPLS DPhil candidates Liliane Momeni and Sheheryar Zaidi have taken up prestigious Google PhD Fellowships, each worth $60,000, after been selected from a highly competitive field of applicants last year.

Composite image: portrait photos of Liliane Momeni (left) and Sheheryar Zaidi (right)

Google PhD Fellowships are presented each year to exemplary doctoral students who are undertaking innovative research in computer science and related fields and seek to influence the future of technology. Each student receives full fees and living expenses to support them during their PhD, and access to a Google Research Mentor.

Sheheryar Zaidi (department of Statistics)

Sheh Zaidi was awarded his 2022 Fellowship under the Machine Learning category. He completed his undergraduate studies in Mathematics at Oxford before moving to the University of Cambridge for his Master’s.

Having returned to Oxford for his DPhil in the Department of Statistics, Sheh is now exploring deep learning models and their wider application. His research focuses on ways of improving the generalisation (making correct predictions for unseen data) and efficiency (learning with less computation and fewer data) of neural networks and applying these techniques to scientific problems such as the modelling of physical systems or molecular property prediction.

On taking up his Google PhD Fellowship, Sheh said: “I’m very delighted and grateful to have received the Google PhD Fellowship. It is a wonderful opportunity to be mentored by Google’s researchers and connect with other fellows, along with the generous funding. I am also very thankful to my supervisor, Professor Yee Whye Teh, for his continued support during my PhD.”

Liliane Momeni (department of Engineering Science)

Liliane Momeni is a fourth-year DPhil student in the Visual Geometry Group (VGG), supervised by Professor Andrew Zisserman. She has an MEng in Engineering Science from the Department of Engineering at Oxford, and was awarded her Fellowship in the Machine Perception, Speech Technology and Computer Vision category.

Liliane is particularly interested in vision and language in the context of sign language. Her research focuses on ‘sign spotting’, which is used to identify where particular signs are performed in sign language videos. She hopes that her work will help to support the deaf community.

She said: “I’m very honoured to have been awarded a Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Perception. I’m thankful for the support of my advisor and collaborators. I am excited to meet other recipients and use the award to further research in vision and language, in particular in the context of sign language.”

Google announcement

Since its establishment in 2009, Google PhD Fellowships have helped to support 654 graduate students from across Europe, Africa, Australasia, East Asia, South-East Asia, India, and North America.

Google announced this year’s Fellowships with the following statement: "Google is pleased to confirm the recipients of the North American and European Google PhD Fellowships for 2022. These awards have been presented to exemplary PhD students in computer science and related fields.

“We have given these students unique fellowships to acknowledge their contributions to their areas of specialty and provide funding for their education and research. We look forward to working closely with them as they continue to become leaders in their respective fields."