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On Science Day, 18 new researchers receive Climate Innovation Challenge grants

November 10, 2022
Nicole DeSantis

Research Marketing Manager, Google Cloud

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Editor's note: At Google Cloud we’re working with global organizations to help them use technology to build a more sustainable future. During the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27, representatives from countries and organizations around the world — including Google Cloud — gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 7 - 18, 2022 for the latest round of climate talks. Check here for perspectives from onsite, thoughts from Google experts and customers, curated content and announcements. Or catch the event for yourself on Youtube

Addressing the challenges of climate change will require a better understanding of our environment and new technologies to help transition to a decarbonized global economy. Which is why at Google we continue to support new climate research, tech entrepreneurs and startups, with investment and access to digital technologies to accelerate their innovations. Earlier this morning at COP27, the United States and Egypt announced the winners of ClimaTech Run Global Competition, a startup competition that Google co-sponsored. Today we are also delighted to share an update on our research grants, introducing the first cohort of Climate Innovation grant recipients: 18 researchers from across the globe who will receive a total of more than $500K in Google Cloud research credits for their innovative projects.

These grantees are part of the Climate Innovation Challenge, announced in April 2022, to promote groundbreaking research in global resilience and sustainability. The program allows individual climate researchers in higher education and not-for-profit research organizations to apply for Google Cloud credit grants of up to $100,000 to accelerate their projects with Google’s state-of-the-art data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) cloud services. Here are a few examples of their work:

  • Spurthy Maria Pais at the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India is using Google Cloud credits to pursue machine learning and deep learning techniques to analyze high-resolution atmospheric carbon dioxide and fill in data unmeasured by satellites. 

  • Charles Reilly at Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts is developing a platform for food preservation using naturally abundant and nutritionally beneficial chemical preservatives that can be tuned to specific applications to decrease food spoilage from farm to market sustainability. 

  • Farnoush Banaei-Kashani at the University of Colorado, Denver is designing an end-to-end framework for climate and earth scientists to develop, train, evaluate, and serve deep learning models to accurately classify sea ice in polar regions. The framework will be made available as open source software for public use. 

Other researchers are studying plant genomics, resources for land management in Australia, and populations displaced by climate change in East Africa, applying machine learning to predict global temperature changes, and using big data tools to analyze risk management for climate disasters.

To administer these awards we partner with environmental organizations to help evaluate proposals and select participants. Our first partner was the National Science Foundation (NSF) AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography (AI2ES). The Climate Innovation Challenge projects all share a commitment to collaboration between disciplines and institutions, as well as sharing data and resources. 

To apply for a Climate Innovation Challenge grant to accelerate your research in the climate sciences, click here.

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