The AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge is a global $100 million initiative from the Bezos Earth Fund. The Grand Challenge is exploring new ideas for multiplying the impact of climate and nature efforts using modern AI. The first round of awards will focus on sustainable proteins, power grid optimization, and biodiversity conservation, in addition to embracing visionary wildcard solutions for climate and nature.

An urgent need

Climate change and threats to nature are among the world’s most difficult problems. People are already using artificial intelligence to monitor greenhouse gas emissions, detect methane leaks and forest fires, and advance a clean energy economy — but it’s time to do more, faster. The Bezos Earth Fund wants to explore how the responsible use of modern AI may supercharge efforts to help protect our planet and our future. 

Climate and nature organizations working on the ground understand global conditions and what it takes to implement workable environmental solutions. But many of these frontline organizations don’t have sufficient technology expertise, infrastructure, or funding to apply AI solutions on their own. Meanwhile, AI researchers and technology providers understand the potential and practical application of rapidly evolving technologies, but may not have experience implementing climate or nature solutions on the ground.

A world-changing opportunity

To create and scale new solutions, we need to incentivize partnerships across experts in climate, nature, and AI. Through the Grand Challenge, these collaborators have an opportunity to bring speed, scale, accuracy, and precision to their climate and nature efforts by proposing, designing, and deploying modern AI solutions. Targeted funding — combined with access to mentorship and other in-kind resources — can incentivize collaboration, stimulate innovation, and nurture solutions that might not otherwise exist.

The first round of the Grand Challenge invites grant proposals from eligible organizations: U.S.-based 501(c)(3) entities and global academic institutions. In keeping with the Bezos Earth Fund’s commitment to equity and access, eligible applicants may collaborate with organizations all over the world to develop their proposals. Proposals from non-affiliated individuals are not eligible.

Focus areas

The Grand Challenge welcomes transformative ideas that will accelerate efforts to address climate change and nature loss through the use of modern AI. The first round of the Grand Challenge will focus on sustainable proteins, power grid optimization, and biodiversity conservation — as well as other visionary wildcard solutions.

Sustainable proteins

How can we feed the Earth’s growing population without hurting the environment? Can AI help sort through millions of protein combinations to produce meat alternatives that are just as delicious but more affordable and with a much smaller environmental footprint? While the current generation of sustainable proteins may not appeal to all consumers, new applications of AI have the potential to help identify formulations and processing approaches to advance a new generation of delicious, affordable, and nutritious protein products. Learn more about sustainable proteins (PDF).

Power grid optimization

How can we ensure our power system is ready to operate and support net zero and energy transition plans being developed in countries around the world? Can AI help us expand energy access to hundreds of millions of people by integrating renewable energy into electricity grids? By connecting grid operations with real-time data to optimize power flows, balance supply and demand, and enable the seamless integration of renewable energy sources, AI can accelerate an equitable clean energy transition while enhancing grid resilience for communities. Learn more about power grid optimization (PDF).

Biodiversity conservation

How can we protect endangered animals and preserve genetic diversity? How can we reverse biodiversity decline and restore wild habitats? Can researchers use AI image and sound recognition to identify and protect millions of species humans haven’t yet discovered? AI has the potential to transform biodiversity conservation efforts across the globe by multiplying the impact of existing interventions and opening new horizons of possibility. Learn more about biodiversity conservation (PDF).

Wildcard solutions

Climate change and nature loss are complicated, urgent issues — and we want to understand how modern AI can help identify and accelerate solutions. Do you have an idea for driving impact within climate change mitigation or nature protection using AI? If you and your team have a transformative idea that doesn’t fit within other first-round focus areas, we encourage you to submit it in the wildcard category.

How the Grand Challenge will unfold

The Grand Challenge will unfold across three rounds and offer up to $100 million in total funding. The first round will include the following two phases.

Phase 1: Proposals

The first phase will award up to 30 seed grants for promising ideas that multiply impact using modern AI. Phase 1 is open to all eligible applicants.

During the first phase:

  • Potential applicants will have access to a virtual information session, webinars introducing AI and discussing the focus areas, and a collection of curated resources as they develop their proposals.
  • A submission should articulate the proposed solution and the problem it addresses, the near-term and long-term impacts the solution will have, the potential for scaling the solution, the resources needed for development, and the approach to responsible development of the solution.
  • Phase 1 submissions are due by 5:59 p.m. Eastern Time (9:59 p.m. UTC) on Tuesday, July 30. Applicants must accept the Grand Challenge Agreement to submit a proposal.
  • An expert review panel and multidisciplinary judging panel will evaluate submissions according to Phase 1 selection criteria. Based on their evaluation, judges will recommend up to 30 awardees.
  • The Bezos Earth Fund will determine the final slate of Seed Grantees. After completing a Bezos Earth Fund grant agreement, each Seed Grantee will receive $50,000 and an exclusive invitation to participate in Phase 2.

Phase 2: Implementation plans

Seed Grantees will enter a virtual Innovation Sprint; these grantees will receive targeted support and resources from AI experts as they develop detailed implementation plans. Phase 2 is open exclusively to Seed Grantees.

The virtual Innovation Sprint will include:

  • Teaming support. Seed Grantees will build partnerships to enable development and implementation of their proposals.
  • Expert mentorship. Expert mentors will guide Seed Grantees as they refine their proposals and prepare for implementation.
  • Webinars. Seed Grantees will join exclusive webinars to hear from influential experts at the forefront of climate, nature, and AI.
  • Additional resources. Seed Grantees may receive access to additional resources, which may include computing infrastructure or access to relevant datasets.

Seed Grantees will submit their implementation plans and present them to the judging panel. Judges will evaluate submissions according to the Phase 2 selection criteria and recommend up to 15 awardees. The Bezos Earth Fund will select the final slate of Implementation Grantees. Phase 2 will culminate with the announcement of up to 15 Implementation Grantees; each team will each receive up to $2 million to close the gap between concept and viability.

Post-award implementation

Following Phase 2, Implementation Grantees will bring their solutions to life over the course of two years; during this time, they will test, iterate, and report on the effectiveness of their approaches. Awardees will also convene in person at the AI for Climate and Nature Summit in 2025.

The Bezos Earth Fund will announce more information on future rounds of the Grand Challenge at a later date. Sign up for the newsletter for announcements.

Get started on your proposal.

Proposals are due on July 30.

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