CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Research leaders of tomorrow
The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program supports exceptional early-career researchers with funding, mentorship, a global network, and professional skills development.

Applications due February 5, 2020 - 11:59 PM Pacific Time Zone (UTC -8)

Submit application

See the detailed Program Overview for full eligibility requirements.

The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program provides:

Interdisciplinary interactions

Pursuing the most exciting and important research questions requires scholars who can move beyond their own research areas to take a fresh look at a problem. CIFAR helps early-career researchers think and work outside their silos by facilitating dialogue between diverse disciplines and immersing them in our research programs for a truly enriching experience.


"The connections I have forged within my CIFAR program and across programs have expanded my interests, directed me towards exciting new questions and have fundamentally reshaped my research goals.”

Katherine McAuliffe, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019, Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness (Boston College)

Leadership development

Excellent management and communication skills will be key to success in the demanding and competitive world of research. Through annual meetings of CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars from across CIFAR’s research programs, and additional learning experiences supported by the Love Family Leadership Development Fund, CIFAR designs one-on-one and peer-group training opportunities on themes related to the leadership development needs of Global Scholars.


“This [annual] meeting... was very exciting, memorable, and interesting. The advice and ideas I took away from this came at a perfect time in my career.”

Kate Ross, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018, Quantum Materials (Colorado State University)

Engagement in global communities

Tomorrow’s research leaders must understand how to engage with key stakeholders in their communities around the world, with government, industry, or the general public. CIFAR provides early-career researchers opportunities to refine the skills they develop, interacting with leaders both within and outside of academia.


“It has been a transformational opportunity to be part of the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program. I have met many young researchers and created an amazing network that I can call on for the rest of my career. I have received training and mentorship that would not otherwise have been available to me. I was given the opportunity to speak to hundreds of people about my science, all because of my Global Scholar appointment and CIFAR’s advocacy.”

Alona Fyshe, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018, Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness (University of Alberta)

Each CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar receives:

  • A two-year term in a CIFAR research program, a global, interdisciplinary network of top-tier research leaders.
  • $100,000 CAD in unrestricted research support
  • Mentorship from a senior researcher within a CIFAR research program
  • Opportunities to network, collaborate and form a community with peers from diverse disciplines across CIFAR’s research programs
  • Specialized leadership and communication skills training, and support to put their skills into action, through participation in two cross-cohort annual meetings.


Applicants may be based anywhere in the world, must hold a PhD (or equivalent) and be within the first five years of starting a full-time research position at an institution of higher education or research. Scholars’ research interests must complement or contribute to the themes and goals of an eligible CIFAR research program. In 2020, the CIFAR research programs eligible to accept applications are:

Detailed Program Overview for full eligibility requirements.

NOTE: Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply.

How to apply

Applications are submitted online and must include two to three letters of reference. Detailed Program Overview for more information.

Applications due February 5, 2020 - 11:59 PM Pacific Time Zone (UTC -8)

Sign up here for updates about the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program or contact us with any questions.


<h2><span class="heading-medium">CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars</span></h2>

Kyunghyun Cho



  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019
  • Learning in Machines & Brains


  • New York University
Courant Institute, Computer Science Department and Center for Data Science


  • United States


DSc (Information and Computer Science), Aalto University
MSc (Information and Computer Science), Aalto University
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Montreal


Kyunghyun Cho aims to build an intelligent machine that communicates with humans, actively seeks knowledge and creates new knowledge.

Cho and his collaborators have extensively investigated natural language processing and machine translation. This has resulted in an attention mechanism for artificial neural networks and a new paradigm in machine translation, called ‘neural machine translation.’ It has not only advanced research, but has also been adopted by industry to produce better machine translation systems.

Recently, Cho has started to go beyond human languages to study emergent communication among machines, equipping machines to exchange information as efficiently and effectively as possible to solve challenging problems that require co-ordination among multiple intelligent agents. He believes this communication will not only help machines to solve challenging problems themselves, but will allow them to help humans in expanding our horizon of knowledge.


Google Research Award, 2017 and 2016

Relevant Publications

Cho, K. et al. "Learning Phrase Representations using RNN Encoder-Decoder for Statistical Machine Translation." EMNLP, 2014.

Bahdanau, D., K. Cho, and Y. Bengio. "Neural machine translation by jointly learning to align and translate." ICLR, 2015.

Xu, K. et al. "Show, Attend and Tell: Neural Image Caption Generation with Visual Attention." ICML, 2015.

Firat, O., K. Cho, and Y. Bengio. "Multi-Way, Multilingual Neural Machine Translation with a Shared Attention Mechanism." NAACL, 2016.

Lee, J., K. Cho, and T. Hofmann. "Fully Character-Level Neural Machine Translation without Explicit Segmentation." TACL, 2017.


This program is generously supported by the Azrieli Foundation and the Love Family Leadership Development Fund.