Microsoft Expands Worldwide Alliance With Academia

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 20, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today increased its commitment to fostering innovation by expanding its global alliance with academia. The company announced the 25 recipients of the 2003 Microsoft® Research (MSR) University Relations Innovation Excellence research grants. Microsoft also announced that the next version of its flagship programming tool for academia, Visual Studio® .NET 2003 Academic Edition, will release to U.S. schools in conjunction with the professional versions of the tool. Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition will be delivered as part of Microsoft’s burgeoning Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN®
) Academic Alliance program, which is now accessible to more than 3 million students and faculty members worldwide.

Microsoft also announced that source code for the Assignment Manager component of Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition will be made available under Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative through an Academic Tools Source License. The announcements point to a significant first step this year in the company’s global efforts to serve education and research.

“Today’s announcements are about working with academia to foster innovation and help students and professors be successful,”
said Eric Rudder, senior vice president for the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at Microsoft.
“Academic developers are defining the future at educational institutions around the world. Our mission is to make our software and programs so easily accessible that students and educators are limited only by their own imaginations.”

Laying the Foundation for Innovation

Universities need a foundation for turning ideas into research and ultimately into reality. To serve that need, Microsoft today announced the 25 recipients of the MSR University Relations Innovation Excellence research grants. Now in its second year, the Innovation Excellence program reflects Microsoft’s commitment to strengthen collaboration between Microsoft and academia in developing new and advanced technologies. This year the program garnered 152 submissions, almost double the amount it received last year, and Microsoft will award $3.5 million (U.S.) to the chosen projects.

Rice University, an Innovation Excellence award recipient, is using its MSR grant to further develop an information gateway called the Learning Science and Technology Repository (LESTER). LESTER is a Web-accessible database built on ASP.NET that inventories leading learning sciences and technology projects, researchers, organizations, and funding agencies worldwide. The short-term goal of the project is to support and disseminate innovative learning technologies, while the long-term goal involves enabling students to learn XML Web services for the seamless exchange of data about learning technologies from multiple sources.

“We’re using MSR funding to enhance LESTER, to make it more interactive, to expand the range of content it offers, and to enable the exchange of information between it and other repositories of information,”
said Lisa Spiro, director of the Educational Technology Research and Assessment Cooperative at Rice.
“The funding we’ve received from MSR has been critical to LESTER’s development.”

More information about Innovation Excellence, including a full list of grant recipients, is located at

Microsoft also provides core technology to support research at academic institutions in its effort to foster innovation. For example, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition and the underlying Microsoft .NET Framework give the academic community increased flexibility in its research endeavors by making it possible to use multiple programming languages, including traditional favorites such as Eiffel and Scheme to C# and Java. Microsoft also offers the Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) implementation, better known as
which provides the core source code of the .NET Framework to academicians so they can teach, research and build their implementations.

“The Shared Source Initiative, and particularly ‘Rotor,’ is vital in helping us achieve the learning objectives of our .NET MSc Distributed Systems Development graduate program,”
said David Grey, professor of computer science at University of Hull in England.
“We strongly believe that providing our students with the inner workings of the .NET Framework and the Shared Source CLI as part of this degree program will give them a significant edge in research and in expertise needed to excel in the areas of Web services and mobile and distributed computing.”

Promoting Achievement During School and After Graduation

Microsoft tools in technology curricula help students succeed in the classroom and provide them with a solid foundation as they enter their professional lives. To this end, Microsoft today announced that Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition will be delivered in conjunction with all professional versions of Visual Studio .NET 2003.

“It is necessary from our view to teach our students to understand and use concepts to solve significant real-world computing problems,”
said Patrick Harrison, professor of computer science at the U.S. Naval Academy.
“We use Visual Studio .NET Academic Edition and many other Microsoft technologies to bring together theory and application in a hands-on approach to learning. Visual Studio .NET provides the ‘cockpit’ from which incredibly interesting problems in high-end and distributed computing can be productively conceptualized, visualized, organized, implemented, executed and evaluated. It opens up the creative potential of a student.”

Microsoft also announced the availability of the Visual Studio .NET Academic Tools Source Licensing Program. Beginning in summer 2003, the program will provide access to source code for Assignment Manager Server, Assignment Manager Faculty Client and Assignment Manager Student Client. As part of the Shared Source Initiative, this program enables professors and students as well as academic researchers and independent developers to use, modify and redistribute the licensed source code of the Assignment Manager for both commercial and noncommercial purposes, including the creation and distribution of derivatives for non-Windows®
-based applications. Licensees also are free to use the source code to develop, debug and support their own software tools for integration with Visual Studio .NET.

Students who use Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition will establish a familiarity with the technology that will last throughout their professional careers. The MSDN Academic Alliance program, which is available to computer science departments by subscription for $799 (U.S.), lays the foundation for students by providing access to virtually all current Microsoft developer tools and enterprise products. MSDN Academic Alliance was introduced just over two years ago and in that time has become available to more than 3 million students and educators worldwide.

Microsoft rounds out its support for academic institutions and student success by offering training and certification programs through the Microsoft IT Academy. Certifications include the MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) and the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) for Microsoft .NET. More information about Microsoft IT Academy can be found at

About the Shared Source Initiative

The Microsoft Shared Source Initiative is a balanced approach that makes source code more broadly available while preserving the intellectual property rights that sustain a strong software business. The Shared Source Initiative framework supports a spectrum of programs and licenses offered by Microsoft to customers, partners, developers, academicians and other interested individuals.

Each source-licensing program under the Shared Source Initiative is tailored to the needs of a particular Microsoft constituent community and can be applied as a model for increasing code transparency throughout commercial software. Shared Source is an evolving framework that will support additional source-code access programs and licenses involving many Microsoft product groups. Currently, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows .NET Server, Windows CE 3.0, Windows CE .NET, Windows .NET technologies and Microsoft Passport have source code available through the Shared Source Initiative.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Visual Studio, MSDN and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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