Call for Applications: Artificial Intelligence for Earth Innovation Program

Modern technologies, such as satellite and remote imaging, bioacoustic monitoring, and genomics, have led to massive and more complex data sets. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can capitalize on the information potential of such data, leading to faster and more meaningful insights and creating the potential for transformative solutions.
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The National Geographic Society (NGS) and Microsoft’s AI for Earth Innovation program are inviting proposals to support novel projects that create and deploy AI tools to improve the way they monitor, model, and ultimately manage Earth’s natural systems for a more sustainable future.

The grants given by the partnership will support projects that create and deploy open source trained models and algorithms that make key analytical processes more efficient in the environmental field. Microsoft will help the successful proposals make the completed models available for use by other environmental researchers and innovators.

Core Areas

To qualify, applications should outline a proposal to use AI for conservation in at least one of the following core areas:

Climate change

Countries and communities around the world are engaged in climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation efforts. AI can help in areas such as:

  • Extreme weather and climate modeling
  • Sustainable land-use change
  • Ecosystem services (including carbon sequestration and afforestation/reforestation)
  • Resilience to extreme-event impacts (droughts, floods, disasters, etc.)


Agriculture must transition to a more sustainable model with lower environmental impact. AI can help in areas such as:

  • Land-use planning and management
  • Precision agriculture
  • Natural resource conservation
  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Climate-resilient agriculture
  • Water efficiency and management


Species are going extinct at alarming rates, driving the decay of key ecosystem services like pollination on which humans depend. AI can help in areas like:

  • Habitat protection and restoration
  • Sustainable trade
  • Invasive species and disease control
  • Pollution control
  • Realizing natural capital


Management of the world’s freshwater supply needs to anticipate climate change impacts as well as increasing demand. AI can help in areas such as:

  • Extreme-event impacts on water supply (droughts, floods, disasters, etc.)
  • Water supply (including catchment control)
  • Water quality and sanitation


Funding Information

Proposals may request $5,000 to $100,000. The budgets of successful proposals will include reasonable, well-justified costs directly required to complete the project.

Project Requirements

All models supported through this grant must be open source, and grant recipients must be willing to publicly share their models for use by other environmental researchers and their data for use by the National Geographic Society.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The National Geographic Society recommend that the main applicant has a demonstrated background in environmental science and/or technology, and that at least one member of the team has strong enough technical skills to complete the project successfully.
  • Applicants can be affiliated with an academic institution, nonprofit organization, government entity, environmental startup, or an innovative project within a company.
Dateline for submission: 8 July 2019
Source: The National Geographic Society (NGS)

Illustration Photo: Using drone for natural resource conservation (CC0 Creative Commons from

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Adalidda's Team


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