Grand Challenge focus

What types of solutions would the Bezos Earth Fund like to see?

The Grand Challenge welcomes transformative ideas that will accelerate efforts to address climate change and nature loss using modern AI. Through the Grand Challenge, the Bezos Earth Fund hopes to support practitioners on the ground in dramatically increasing impact.

A multidisciplinary group of experts will evaluate submissions based on equally weighted criteria. Selection criteria for each phase of the Grand Challenge are available on AIforClimateandNature.org.

How does the AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge define “modern AI”?

Modern AI describes advances in computer technology over the last five years that enable computer models to complete complicated tasks using techniques such as deep learning, neural networks, and computer vision systems and the use of accelerated computing where applicable.

Modern AI may include, but is not limited to, specific tools such as foundational models, self-supervised learning, transformer models, large language models, and accelerated computing. The Grand Challenge explores how these tools and other recent advances in AI might help address the critical challenges of climate change and nature loss.

Eligibility and partnerships

Which organizations are eligible to submit a proposal?

The first round of the Grand Challenge invites grant proposals from eligible organizations: global academic institutions and U.S.-based 501(c)(3) entities. 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.

Can organizations submit or contribute to more than one proposal?

Organizations can submit more than one proposal as a lead entity or as a contributing entity.

My organization is not a U.S. 501(c)(3) or an academic institution. How can we participate?

Nonprofit organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status, private sector organizations, and government entities from all over the world that are not subject to U.S. sanctions may partner with lead entities to submit proposals.  Partnering organizations must be a legal entity organized under the laws of a state, country, or other governmental body.

In addition, individuals across the globe may support the challenge by reviewing proposals, mentoring teams during Phase 2, or contributing in-kind resources. Please visit this page to express interest in supporting the Grand Challenge.

What constitutes a global academic institution?

Academic institutions based anywhere in the world are eligible to submit a proposal to the Grand Challenge as a lead entity. Academic institutions are universities, colleges, or other post-secondary educational institutions that have a faculty, offer a curriculum and instruction, have a student body, and award academic degrees.

Will the Grand Challenge facilitate partnerships?

In Phase 1, teams are welcome to establish partnerships on their own to develop and submit a proposal. In the Phase 2 Innovation Sprint, the Grand Challenge will help teams identify needs and find partners to advance their proposals. Additional details about the Innovation Sprint will be provided at a later date.

Do all proposals require partners?

No. Lead entities are eligible to submit a proposal without a partner.

Solution scope

How broad or specific should the focus of a submission be?

Proposals will be evaluated across five equally weighted criteria: impact, viability, suitability, scalability, and societal benefit. Please see the selection criteria page for additional details.

Is it possible to propose a solution that aligns with more than one focus area?

Applicants must select a single focus area for their proposal. If you wish to submit a visionary solution that does not fit within the other focus areas, you may choose the wildcard category.

What types of solutions are you seeking in the wildcard category?

The wildcard category includes solutions that use modern AI to address a significant problem in climate change and nature loss. Wildcard solutions will be evaluated using the same criteria as the other focus areas.

Grand Challenge Agreement

Are applicants required to sign the Grand Challenge Agreement?

Yes. Each submission requires a completed and signed Grand Challenge Agreement to be eligible for grant consideration. The lead entity and any contributing entities on the proposal must affirm at they have read and agree to the Grand Challenge Agreement, and upload a single PDF signed by an authorized representative of the lead entity as well as authorized representatives of any contributing entities. Submissions that do not include a Grand Challenge Agreement signed by all entities involved in creating the submission will be deemed ineligible.

Are the terms of the Grand Challenge Agreement negotiable?

The terms of the Grand Challenge Agreement are not negotiable. All lead entities and contributing entities must sign the Grand Challenge Agreement and include a signed PDF in their submissions, without exception.

Can you provide more information on the rationale behind the confidentiality and intellectual property terms in the Grand Challenge Agreement? 

The Earth Fund is excited about the strong level of interest in our first open and global call for grant applications via the AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge. Several applicants have raised questions about the confidentiality and intellectual property terms included in the application, expressing concern that those terms give the Earth Fund rights that could impede applicants’ ability to develop their ideas commercially. As explained below, this is not the intent of these provisions.  The exclusive goal of this program is to encourage development and dissemination of AI tools to help address climate and nature challenges. 

To submit, grant applicants must agree to the Grand Challenge Agreement, which includes terms regarding confidentiality and intellectual property. These terms are required and non-negotiable because the Earth Fund and its affiliates routinely are presented with, review, and make business decisions about proposals, business plans, proprietary information, and new ideas presented by many enterprises, including some that may compete directly or indirectly with ideas submitted as part of the Challenge. The confidentiality and intellectual property terms in the application are necessary in order to preserve the ability of the Earth Fund and its affiliates to continue their respective philanthropic and business endeavors.

Will awardees be required to sign an additional agreement prior to accepting an award? What are the terms of this agreement?

As noted in the Grand Challenge Agreement, successful applicants will need to execute the Earth Fund’s standard grant agreement in order to receive funding in Phase 1 and Phase 2. These grant agreement(s) do not impose any additional requirements regarding intellectual property and confidentiality beyond what’s required in the Grand Challenge Agreement

Judging and selection

How will proposals be evaluated?

In Phase 1, all eligible submissions will be scored by a multidisciplinary group of experts. Top-scoring submissions will advance to a judging panel, composed of experts at the intersection of AI, climate, and nature. Judges and reviewers will score all submissions according to the Grand Challenge selection criteria, published on AIforClimateandNature.org. Reviewers and judges will only review submissions written in English.

What is the composition of the judging panel?

The judging panel will consist of a diverse group of experts at the intersection of AI, climate, and nature. More information on the judging panel will be shared via the Grand Challenge website shortly.

Grant awards

Can lead entities distribute awards to Contributing Entities?

Grants will be distributed to the lead entity; the lead entity may choose to distribute awards to contributing entities. Any distribution of funds to contributing entities or team members is not the responsibility of the Bezos Earth Fund or either Administrator and is at the sole discretion of the lead entity.

Are there restrictions for how the grant awards should be used? 

Phase 1 awards are intended to support teams as they refine their implementation grant proposals during the Innovation Sprint. The lead entity for each grant application selected for funding must sign a grant agreement prior to the lead entity’s receipt of any grant funds, which outlines requirements related to accepting funds. Awardees are responsible for any taxes required to be paid due to award of a grant, any reporting obligations, any applicable indirect costs, or other financial obligations of the team.

Is there indirect cost guidance on the Phase 1 awards?
There is no indirect cost guidance for the Phase 1 awards. The $50,000 seed grant is inclusive of any indirect costs.

General inquiries

Do proposals need to be written in  English?

All proposals will be reviewed in English. Due to the high volume of submissions, the Grand Challenge cannot review proposals submitted in other languages. In addition, all Grand Challenge programming, including the Phase 2 Innovation Sprint, will be delivered in English.

Who else is involved in the administration of the Grand Challenge?

The AI for Climate and Nature Grand Challenge is an initiative of the Bezos Earth Fund. Luminary Labs is administering the Grand Challenge in partnership with Radiant Earth, the fiscal partner. Radiant Earth will also provide technical assistance during the Grand Challenge.

When is the submission deadline?

The deadline for submissions is 5:59 p.m. Eastern Time (9:59 p.m. UTC) on July 30, 2024. Proposals must be uploaded through the submission portal accessed from the Grand Challenge website, AIforClimateandNature.org; submissions received through any other channel will not be reviewed or considered for grant funding.

Please submit your proposal at least one hour before the deadline to ensure your completed submission is received. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Proposals are due on July 30.

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