"Microsoft is constantly exploring the boundaries of what technology can do, and what it can do for people and the world," Lucas Joppa, chief environmental scientist at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We believe that humans and computers, working together through AI, can change the way that society monitors, models and manages Earth's natural systems." In a similar vein, Google just announced a partnership with UN Environment that will provide real-time data to organizations and governments about the impact of human activity on ecosystems.
Grant applications are open to researchers now and will remain open through October 8th. Projects should focus on biodiversity conservation, climate change, agriculture or water and funding requests must be $200,000 or less. Any models generated through the grant's provided resources must be made open source so that other researchers can use the tools as well. Recipients will be announced in December.