Areas of focus

AI for Earth awards grants to support projects that use AI to change the way people and organisations monitor, model and manage Earth’s natural systems. To date, we have awarded 484 grants to projects with impact in 79 countries, and we are committed to growing this community of grantees.

Programme details

AI for Earth grants provide access to Microsoft resources to support projects that change the way people and organisations monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems. Microsoft can support projects in two ways:

Azure compute credit grants

If you already have access to a labelled dataset and are ready to start using Azure AI tools and cloud computing, this grant provides you with Azure compute credits worth 5,000 USD, 10,000 USD, or 15,000 USD (depending on your project scope and needs). By being a member of the AI for Earth grantee community, you also have access to additional resources – technical advice and support, online Azure training materials and invitations to the AI for Earth Summit for networking and education opportunities.

How do I apply for Azure compute grants?

Review these guidelines and explore our existing grantees for examples of projects that we have previously supported.

Review proposal requirements Apply for a grant now


To apply for Azure compute grants, submit a project proposal via the online application form. Review the proposal guidelines for application requirements.


To apply for special grants, submit proposals to respective partner organisations. Requirements and proposal guidelines vary for each partner grant: review guidelines, deadlines and application process on each organisation's site.


We accept proposals on a rolling basis and review them four times a year. Deadlines for each period in 2021 are:


  • January 4, 2021, 11:59 PM Pacific Time
  • April 5, 2021, 11:59 PM Pacific Time
  • July 5, 2021, 11:59 PM Pacific Time
  • October 4, 2021, 11:59 PM Pacific Time



Submit your application via the online application form.


You will need to include a proposal written in English, no longer than three pages. This is the most important component of your application and should include concise descriptions of the following:


Project summary

  • What datasets will you use for your analyses? Is this data already collected?
  • Approximate timeline for key project milestones

Technical component

  • What Azure offerings will your project use?
  • We are particularly interested in projects where researchers are making use of higher-level Azure services such as machine learning (in other words, not just virtual machines and storage). You can see what’s available at Azure Cloud Services.
  • Do you have the resources and technical skills to complete the project successfully?


  • How does your project align with the AI for Earth areas of focus (agriculture, food, biodiversity and/or climate change)?
  • How does your project help transform the way we address environmental challenges?
  • How will the results of your project be disseminated (for example, academic publications and open-source solution) and be beneficial to a community of users?

Applicants can be affiliated with an academic institution, non-profit organisation, environmental start-up or even an innovative new project within a company. We recommend that the main applicant has a demonstrated background in environmental science and/or technology (such as a PhD degree), and that at least one member of the team has strong enough technical skills to complete the project successfully.


To qualify for access to ArcGIS Pro through Esri, the grant recipient must be affiliated with an academic institution, non-profit organisation or start-up organisation.

To estimate the monetary value of Azure computing resources you need, use the Azure calculator. Select all the products you would need for your research (including storage, virtual machines, and so forth) and enter these specifications into the Azure calculator. For your data, consider both the options under ‘Storage’ as well as the options under ‘Databases’.

  • Determine which size of VM you need; if you require machine learning models that use large amounts of data, heavy graphic rendering or video editing, reference GPU-optimised VM sizes.
  • Determine which geographic regions have your VM of choice.
  • Note: GPUs are often in high demand and thus are not always available in each region. If you need a GPU-optimised VM, try selecting a few different geographic regions until you can find your desired VM type.

AI for Earth grant applications are reviewed by Microsoft employees who are directly involved in the AI for Earth grant selection process for the sole purpose of proposal review and to determine the grant level to be provided.


Applications are evaluated on their scientific merit, innovative use of technology and potential impact.

After each deadline, applicants will receive a decision by email within four weeks.

Yes. This awards programme is available worldwide.

Yes. On occasion, we offer special grants, such as the recently closed AI for Earth European Union (EU) Oceans Award and the AI for Earth Innovation Grant (offered jointly with National Geographic Society). Information on special grants will be available on this website.

If you have questions about the awards programme or the application process not answered in this FAQ, please email us at