Call for Proposals to support the exploration of how AI can help us understand, engage, and protect the planet
The National Geographic Society (NGS) and Microsoft’s AI for Earth program are seeking proposals to support the exploration of how AI can help us understand, engage, and protect the planet.
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 planet’s last wild places need protection. AI can help in areas like:
- Protected area management and restoration
- Sustainable trade
- Invasive species and disease control
- Pollution 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 they rely on for life itself. AI can help in areas like:
- Climate resilience
- 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
- Climate-resilient agriculture
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
- Water efficiency
- Extreme-event (droughts, floods, disasters, etc.) management
- Healthy oceans
Typical proposal requests should be less than $100,000; however, applicants may request up to $200,000.
- The National Geographic Society recommend that the main applicant has a demonstrated background in environmental science and/or technology, and they 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.
- The National Geographic Society believe great ideas spring from a diversity of experiences, and thus encourage applications from all over the world.
- Project Requirements: 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.
Illustration Photo: The Integrated Land, Water Resources and Clean Energy Management for Poverty Reduction Project is supporting the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources, more productive agriculture, reducing human pressure on Volcanoes National Park and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by protecting 1,400 hectares of watersheds, 50km of ravines and rivers, creating a 1,000 hectare buffer zone of Volcanoes National Park, supporting two green model villages, distributing 1,000 improved stoves and 50 biogas digesters, controlling water hyacinth on 60 hectares and creating 1,680 green jobs. (credits: Rwanda Green Fund / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0))