3 Kenyan and Ugandan projects receive Microsoft and National Geographic AI for Earth Innovation Grant to support research and scientific discovery with AI technologies.
Microsoft announces new recipients of its AI for Earth Innovation award. A joint $1.2M grant program offered by Microsoft and National Geographic to 11 grantees. AI for Earth is designed to advance the use of Artificial Intelligence in scientific exploration and research to help solve critical environmental challenges.
Out of more than 200 applications received, 3 projects from Africa were included in the 11 chosen projects to recieve funding. These are led by changemakers; Ketty Adoch, Torsten Bondo and Stephanie Dolrenry. They will receive financial support, access to Microsoft cloud and AI tools, inclusion in the National Geographic Explorer community and affiliation with National Geographic Labs.
The Microsoft and National Geographic AI for Earth Innovation Grant winners will use these resources to support their projects and better protect the planet.
Microsoft shares that the new grant offering will support research and scientific discovery with AI technologies to advance agriculture, biodiversity conservation, climate change and water.
Below are profiles of the winning grant projects;
Geographical information systems specialist from Uganda. Her AI for Earth Innovation Grant project will detect, quantify and monitor land cover change in the area surrounding Lake Albert and Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest and oldest national park.
Director of Wildlife Guardians, based in Washington, D.C. Her team will use the AI for Earth Innovation Grant to help support the Lion Identification Network of Collaborators, an AI-assisted collaborative database for lion identification and interorganizational research.
Business development manager and senior remote sensing engineer at DHI GRAS in Denmark. With the AI for Earth Innovation Grant, his team aims to use machine learning and satellites to support irrigation development and improve crop water efficiency in Uganda together with the Ugandan geo-information company Geo Gecko. The goal is to contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and economic growth.
Previous beneficiaries of the Microsoft AI for Earth grant are Peace Parks Foundation, South Africa, International Center for tropical Agriculture, Kenya, I.T.Grapes, Tunisia, Energyrathon Consulting Ltd, Nigeria, etc.
How Microsoft and National Geographic AI for Earth Innovation Grantee is detecting land cover changes in Uganda.
“Ketty Adoch is working to address competition between preserving iconic species and mining natural resources in the same area. A huge advocate for applying technology tools to geographic data, she will use supervised classification and machine learning on satellite images to detect changes in the shape or size of land cover types, like shadows from changing tree cover. She’ll conduct these analyses both historically and, once promising algorithms have been developed, on an ongoing basis for the coming decade.
The key outcomes — algorithms and maps to document the findings — will enable researchers, conservationists and technologists to monitor land cover change in the area, see the impact of oil activities and support conservation efforts going forward.”