Funding brief: The National Geographic Society (NGS) and Microsoft’s AI for Earth program are partnering to support the exploration of how AI can help us understand, engage, and protect the planet. The $1 million AI for Earth Innovation Grant will provide grants to 5-15 novel projects that improve the way they monitor, model, and ultimately manage Earth’s natural systems for a more sustainable future.
The grants will support the creation and deployment of open source trained models and algorithms that are available to other environmental researchers and innovators and thereby have the potential to provide exponential impact.
To qualify, applications should outline a proposal to use AI for conservation in at least one of the following core areas:
● Biodiversity conservation: Species are going extinct at alarming rates, and our planet’s last wild places need protection. AI can help in areas like:
Protected area management and restoration
Invasive species and disease control
Realizing natural capital (including valuing natural capital, species identification)
● Climate change: Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, higher global temperatures, and increased ocean acidity threaten human health, infrastructure, and the natural systems we rely on for life itself. AI can help in areas like:
Extreme weather and climate modeling
Sustainable land-use change
Ecosystem services (including carbon sequestration and afforestation/reforestation)
● Agriculture: To feed the world’s rapidly growing population, farmers must produce more food on less arable land, and with lower environmental impact. AI can help in areas like:
Land-use planning and management
Natural resource conservation
Sustainable supply chains
● Water: In the next two decades, demand for fresh water—for human consumption, agriculture, and hygiene—is predicted to dramatically outpace supply. AI can help in areas like:
Water supply (including catchment control)
Water quality and sanitation
Extreme-event (droughts, floods, disasters, etc.) management
Below are just a few examples of the types of tools that we are interested in supporting:
● Biodiversity conservation: acoustic and image classification, geotemporal distribution models
● Climate change: temperature and precipitation model downscaling, risk optimization
● Agriculture: health monitoring in crops and livestock, yield modeling
● Water: groundwater modeling, flood prediction
Primary project focus: You will need to indicate a primary project focus—conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology. If your project spans multiple focus areas or you have expertise in an additional focus area, you can indicate a secondary focus area.
Donor Name: The National Geographic Society (NGS), Microsoft
Funding name: No specific fund name
Deadline: The deadline for the ai for earth innovation RFP is October, 8th, 2018 at 11:59 pm est.
Funding details link: Click to view
Funding limit: Typical proposal requests should be less than $100,000; however, applicants may request up to $200,000. Successful applicants may use awarded funds over one year.
In addition to financial support, successful proposals will receive free access to AI for Earth API’s, applications, tools, and tutorials, and support for their computational work on Microsoft Azure.
Special Notes: Please contact with the donor directly for further clarification and understanding.
Project start date: January, 1st, 2019
Project duration: January, 1st, 2019- December, 31st, 2019
Eligible organization: As below
● All models supported through this grant must be open source, and grant recipients must be willing to share their models for use by other environmental researchers and innovators.
● They recommend that the main applicant has a demonstrated background in environmental science and/or technology, and we require that at least one member of the team has strong enough technical skills (such as AI, machine learning, statistical data analysis, scientific modeling, software development, and/or remote sensing) to complete the proposed project successfully.
● They believe great ideas spring from a diversity of experiences, and thus encourage applications from all over the world.
● Project Leadership: You may submit a proposal as the project leader for only one project at a time. However, you may be a project member or co-applicant on multiple grants simultaneously. You must submit a final report and media from any previous grants for which you were the leader before applying to lead a new project.
Organizations can apply for grants, but the person within the organization who will lead the project—not the institution—should be the applicant and will be expected to meet the requirements of the grant.
Students should not submit in their advisor’s name. The individual responsible for carrying out the project should apply and write the application.
● Age Restrictions: All applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time they submit an application. There is no upper age limit for Early Career Grants. However, if you have more than five years of full-time, professional experience in the field of your project focus, you do not qualify for an Early Career Grant. Time in graduate school does not count toward this experience limit. Visit our Grant Opportunities page for more information about grant types.
Eligible Country: No country bar found (Open to all regions)
● They encourage applications from around the world. If you are planning to work outside of your home country, you must include the name and contact information for at least one local collaborator as a project team member in the application. Please note that the National Geographic Society does not assist with visas.
● As a result of changes in Chinese law effective January 1, 2017, the National Geographic Society is unable to support new grantee work in mainland China. This applies to any individual or organization proposing work in mainland China, regardless of citizenship. We will still accept applications from residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau as long as the proposed work is outside of mainland China. The National Geographic Society continues to actively pursue registration with the Chinese government and will restart grant making once the registration process is complete.
● You may be required to obtain an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license through the U.S. Treasury before the National Geographic Society will deliberate on your application if you are a resident/citizen, or are proposing to conduct fieldwork, in an OFAC-sanctioned country or region. See further information about these restrictions on the OFAC website. Please work with your legal counsel to determine what authorizations are required.
● You are prohibited from engaging in any grant-funded work with any individual or organization who is on the Specially Designated National (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Treasury. Again, please work with your legal counsel if you have any questions.
Submission mail: Not found
How to apply: Interested applicant may apply through the website (Click to view).
● They require you to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé, in English, with your application. A CV is an extended resumé that presents biographical data, educational background, employment history, and scientific or media publication history. Do not include social security numbers, bank details, or any other private information in these documents.
● Early Career Grant applicants must also submit a two-minute video that will be used to help evaluate the proposal.
● You will need to list the name, email address, project role, affiliate organization, highest degree earned, and country of primary residence for all members of your project team. If you plan to work outside of your home country, you must include at least one local collaborator on your project team.
● Early Career Grant applicants need to include the name and contact information of one advisor, mentor, or supervisor.
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