Aug 4, 2020

2021 Twitch Research Fellowship

Now in its second year (learn about last year’s winners here), the Twitch Research Fellowship program is designed to support doctoral students engaged in innovative and impactful research within a variety of fields relevant to Twitch!

If you are an eligible doctoral student during the 2020-2021 academic year (see eligibility criteria below), we invite you to apply for a $10,000 award prize, and a paid visit to present your research at Twitch HQ (or virtually, if conditions don’t permit travel) for our Science Team and CEO, Emmett Shear. We will connect Fellows with a member of the Twitch Science team who can serve as a mentor through the academic year; for Fellows eligible for employment in the US, we are also eager to explore the potential for internship opportunities at Twitch.

Twitch believes in fostering a diverse, global community. We highly encourage students from traditionally under-represented minority groups to apply.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be full-time PhD students currently enrolled in an accredited university.
  • Applicants must be legal residents of the fifty United States, District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding residents of Quebec) who are at least 18 years of age at the time of entry.
  • Students must be enrolled and involved in ongoing research during the academic year in which the Fellowship is awarded.
  • Students’ work should be related to one or more of the research areas listed below.
  • Students should not be current or former employees of Twitch and should disclose if they have a close relative currently employed at Twitch.

Application Materials

Applications will be evaluated based on the strength of the student’s research statement, publication record, and recommendation letters.

Applications must include the following:

  • 250- to 500-word research summary which clearly identifies the area of focus of the research activities to which this award will be applied. This summary should highlight not only the importance and innovative nature of the research within the field, but also the applicability to Twitch.
  • Resume or CV with email, phone and mailing address, and applicable coursework.
  • Two letters of recommendation; please provide reference email addresses. One reference should be from a current academic advisor.

Research Areas

  • Applied Statistics. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, causal inference, anomaly detection, forecasting and time series analysis, optimization, regression, classification, clustering, and experimentation.
  • Computational Social Science. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, information diffusion and influence, social network analysis, large-scale studies of computer-mediated communication, models of political participation and influence.
  • Computer Vision. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, image and video recognition (classification, detection, and segmentation), human understanding (face, gesture, and pose identification), scene analysis and understanding, methods for large-scale streaming video analysis, and ethical considerations for computer vision.
  • Content Moderation and Governance. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to theoretical or empirical studies of moderation policy approaches, assessment of interventions to protect or safeguard communities from harmful content, measurement of community dimensions, including norms and safety, well-being, and social support.
  • Information Retrieval. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, search and ranking, document categorization and clustering, domain-specific applications, conversational search systems, human factors, and evaluation.
  • Machine Learning. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, deep learning, optimization, and fairness in machine learning applications.
  • Natural Language Processing & Speech. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, machine translation, multilingual learning, acoustic event detection, speech recognition and synthesis, methods for analyzing short message text, summarization, and sentiment analysis.
  • Recommender Systems. Areas of research may include, but are not limited to, preference elicitation, algorithmic scalability and implementation, context-aware recommendations, interfaces and evaluation, user modeling, algorithmic bias, and ethics of recommender systems.
  • Additional Research Areas. We encourage applications from students working in areas outside those highlighted above, as long as they are relevant to Twitch.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

Applications will be open starting on September 1, 2020. You can apply by emailing the application materials listed above to Please ensure that your application contains all of the materials listed above, and please include your name and institution in the title of your email. We ask applicants to submit only once, so please ensure that your materials are completed and finalized before submitting. If you prefer to have your recommenders submit letters directly on your behalf, please instruct them to send these to the same email address listed above, with your name and institution clearly stated in the title.

What are the important dates for this program?

  • September 1, 2020: Application submissions are opened
  • October 23, 2020: Applications submissions are closed
  • December 1, 2020: Fellowship awards announced
  • Summer or Fall, 2021: Eligible awardees participate at Twitch as research interns with mentors.

Am I still eligible if I already have research funding?

Yes. However, if you are selected to receive the award, it is your responsibility to check with your existing funding source(s) to ensure that accepting the award will not impact your current support. In addition, it is your responsibility to ensure that accepting this award will not conflict with any of the rules or regulations of your university or local government.

Are there restrictions on how funds can be used?

Funds will be disbursed as an unrestricted gift to the student or the student’s current academic advisor. Applications should provide some explanation of how funds will be used to support the research activities described in the application. While this clearly includes costs associated with hardware, software, and data collection, we encourage applicants to consider other ways in which this funding could support their research, including conference travel, publication expenses, and childcare costs. You are responsible for any and all taxes that may be imposed with respect to the funds.

Will Twitch provide data to awarded students?

Twitch will not provide external access to data. Any data collected by students for external research activities must comply with both Twitch’s terms and policies and the institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). During the period of a Twitch internship, however, interns may be granted access to internal data sources. Researchers can, of course, make use of Twitch’s APIs to collect data as long as data collection complies with Twitch’s terms and policies, including the Developer Agreement.

How many Fellowships will Twitch award?

Twitch does not have a predetermined number of Fellowships that it intends to give out. Each application will be considered based on the novelty of the research, its relevance to Twitch and its business, and confidence that the proposed research can be completed.

Is the internship a required or guaranteed component of the Fellowship?

We would be delighted for Fellows, where possible, to join us for an internship at Twitch, where they will have the opportunity to apply their research to solving large-scale problems in a fast-paced, industry environment. We will endeavor to match Fellows with relevant teams at Twitch to explore areas of research that are relevant to current challenges at Twitch, while still pushing forward the Fellow’s larger research program; if such a mutual project fit can be found, we will move forward with an internship. We recognize that some students may have constraints, such as concerns about work authorization, which may prohibit them from participating in an internship. As such, we do not require students to commit to an internship in order to accept the Fellowship award.

What if I have questions about the Fellowship that aren’t answered here?

For any questions about the Fellowship or other research programs at Twitch, please send us an email at

Rules and Regulations

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C. and Canada (ex. Quebec), 18 years of age or older, enrolled as full-time PhD students at an accredited U.S. or CA university for  ’21-’22 academic year involved in research in an Approved Field.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Submission Period: 9/1/20 at 12:01 am PT – 10/23/20 at 11:59 pm PT.  To enter: submit (i) 200-500 word summary of research project that the entrant will conduct as part of PhD program; (ii) resume or CV with relevant coursework; and (iii) two (2) letters of recommendation (one from current academic advisor) to [] before the end of the Submission Period. See the Official Rules [link] for additional eligibility restrictions, how to enter, prize descriptions/restrictions, entry periods and complete details. Sponsor: Twitch Interactive, Inc., 350 Bush Street, San Francisco, California 94104.

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