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ambitious initiative

Lauren Sánchez announces AI climate challenge: A $100 million opportunity to combat environmental crises

Grants will be allocated to innovative projects that apply modern AI technology to address pressing issues

To harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, the Bezos Earth Fund has announced the launch of its AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge. Under this ambitious initiative, grants totaling up to $100 million will be allocated to innovative projects that apply modern AI technology to address pressing environmental issues.

Vice Chair Lauren Sánchez, in a compelling video announcement, emphasized the significance of rallying the world’s brightest minds to confront these monumental challenges. “AI may have the potential to solve some of our biggest problems, and we’re calling on the planet’s brightest problem solvers to bring their visionary ideas to the table,” she stated. The call to action extends to practitioners, researchers, and innovators across academia, NGOs, private companies, and other organizations.

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Jeff Bezos, Executive Chair of the Fund, echoed this sentiment, underscoring the pivotal role of collaboration in driving meaningful progress. “By bringing together brilliant minds across fields, we may be able to invent new ways forward,” Bezos remarked. The initiative seeks to foster partnerships between environmental organizations and AI experts, leveraging interdisciplinary cooperation to unlock innovative solutions.

In its initial phase, the Grand Challenge will focus on three critical areas: sustainable proteins, biodiversity conservation, and power grid optimization. Additionally, a “Wild Card” category will welcome groundbreaking ideas outside these focal points, encouraging unconventional approaches to environmental stewardship. This inclusive approach reflects the Fund’s commitment to exploring diverse avenues for mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity.

The selection process will unfold in two stages

Up to 30 seed grants will be awarded to promising AI proposals addressing the designated focus areas in the first phase. These awardees will be announced at a special Bezos Earth Fund-TED event during Climate Week NYC in late September, marking a significant milestone in the initiative’s journey.

In phase two, successful applicants can apply for grants of up to $2 million to develop their concepts into actionable solutions further. Alongside financial support, participants will receive mentorship, access to cutting-edge technology, and relevant datasets, facilitating the translation of ideas into impactful interventions.

The Bezos Earth Fund’s AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge represents a bold endeavor to harness innovation in the service of environmental conservation. Applications will open in May 2024, setting the stage for a new chapter in the fight to safeguard the planet for future generations.

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