By 15 July 2019 | Categories: news


There is up to $100 000 (approx. R1.4 million) support being offered to those working on an artificial intelligence solution that is aimed to facilitating a sustainable future this month.

Microsoft, via its AI for Earth programme, in conjunction with The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and National Geographic Society, are offering three grants to this end, up until the end of July.

The scope of the projects that developers could apply for are vast, from developing solutions that address climate change, a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, and sustainably feeding a growing population to protecting water supplies.

More particularly, applications are open to non-profit organisations and academic institutions that focus on the Climate change, Biodiversity, Agriculture and Water. Whichever of those areas the application fits into, there is one caveat - all models supported through the grant have to be open source and grant recipients must be willing to share their models for use by other environmental researchers and innovators.

In exchange, successful applicants are not just given funding up to $100 000, they are also granted Free access to AI for Earth APIs, applications, tools and tutorials to enable them to build their solution. Furthermore, they are also given access to Microsoft Azure to  support the computational processing required.   

One example of an existing AI fueled solution funded by the AI for Earth is one developed by Torsten Bondo and Radoslaw Guzinski, both from the DHI Group. The duo set their sights on leveraging AI to help farmers yield more crops with less water, for which precision is essential.

One way to know how much water crops really need is by measuring the rate at which water evaporates from soil and plant surfaces, and thus Bondo and Guzinski are exploring ways to generate field-level ET measurements using machine learning and satellite imagery. They’re developing an open-source algorithm that can merge data from optical and thermal satellites, as well as meteorological data to determine the right amount of irrigation, thus saving on water usage.

If you are an existing developer or researcher that is part of a non for profit organization, and this sparks your interest, you can head here to learn more and apply.


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