Even as it cuts back on expenses, Hewlett-Packard continues to partner with universities on basic research. Today, the company said it has decided to offer grants to 60 research projects underway at 46 universities in 12 countries.

The funding from HP’s Innovation Research Program is aimed at jump starting graduate student projects among the most brilliant researchers HP can find, said Rich Friedrich, director of the HP Open Innovation Office with HP Labs. Each grant is about $75,000 to $100,000, enough to fund one or two researchers. The professors who receive the grants are expected to find matching grants from other sources.

Last year, HP gave 45 awards, which provided work for 82 graduate students. The program participants wound up publishing 61 papers and filed for 13 patents. All of the research being funded is consistent with HP’s own eight core research themes.

“We’re very pleased with the return on investment here,” Friedrich said. “We strongly believe that multidisciplinary research will lead to innovation.”

Friedrich said the new research areas focus on topics such as cloud computing, remote collaboration, energy efficiency and new ways for humans to interact with computers.

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