AI for Accessibility grants

Empower your work through grants, investments of technology, and expertise. We work with partners in four important areas of focus:

Program details

 

AI for Accessibility grants support projects that use AI to empower people living with disabilities. We are looking for individuals or teams who are not only passionate about making the world more inclusive, but also firmly rooted in the communities they intend to benefit. We want to invest in ideas that are developed by or with people with disabilities.

 

Azure compute credits plus grants

 

In addition to Azure compute credits worth $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000 (depending on your project scope and needs), these grants cover costs related to collecting or labeling data, developing models, or other engineering-related work. Applications are evaluated on their scientific merit, innovative use of AI technology, and potential for scalability.

 

Our community of AI for Accessibility grantees also receive Azure developer support, resources, and opportunities to collaborate and showcase their work.

How do I apply for a grant?

Submission

Submit your project proposal via the online application form.

Deadline

We accept proposals on a rolling basis and review them a few times a year. Applications are accepted in specific areas of interest for each deadline. Upcoming deadlines and areas of interest are:

 

  • Smart cities and transportation | 15 December 2020, 11:59 Pacific Time
  • Education | 12 March 2021, 11:59 Pacific Time 
  • Open call | 30 July 2021, 11:59 Pacific Time

Eligibility

We invite applications from developers, NGO’s, academics, researchers, and inventors to accelerate their work for people with disabilities. This is a global program: Grant applications from all countries are eligible.

 

If you are worried about not meeting all requirements, please connect to someone in your community who can support you and partner on an application.

Requirements

Review the proposal requirements document. Your project proposal should describe the accessibility challenge addressed, the technical solution proposed, and its potential impact on people with disabilities. Please follow the application form and be as specific as possible.

Start your grant application

Review these proposal requirements and explore our existing grantee projects for examples that we have previously supported.

Review requirements (DOC) Apply for a grant now

FAQ

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AI for Accessibility grant applications are reviewed by Microsoft employees who are directly involved in the AI for Accessibility grant selection process for the sole purpose of proposal review and to determine the grant level to be provided. Projects should be developed with or by people with disabilities. Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance: AI and/or machine learning are core to the project success.
  • Impact: Your project clearly elevates education, employment, community, or home outcomes for someone with a disability.
  • Data: Your team is open to sharing privacy compliant data for future innovation.
  • Feasible: The project is achievable within a one-year timeframe. This could be phase 1 of your project, but there should be tangible deliverables completed each quarter that are wrapped up in 12 months.
  • Capable: Your team should have the knowledge and skill to deliver the idea, or you should have a plan to partner with someone who can fill in any gaps.
  • Sustainable: The project has room to grow beyond the first year of funding.
  • Showcase-able: We want to talk about whatever you deliver!

To estimate the monetary value of Azure computing resources you need, use the Azure calculator. For example, if your plan requires 100,000 Cognitive Services Computer Vision transactions, you will need $100 per month for 12 months, totaling $1,200 in Azure credits for the one-year grant period.

After each application deadline, applicants typically receive a decision by email within 90 days. Select projects are invited to pitch their ideas to a selection committee who will score their projects based on the evaluation criteria. Once projects are selected, part of the award process is aligning on project OKRs and scope which are tracked and reported throughout the 12-months grant period. The project work starts with the official Kickoff Meeting with the AI for Accessibility team.

Yes. This award program is available worldwide.

All IP including background and foreground is solely owned by AI4A grantees. However, we do encourage all our grantees to contribute to and collaborate on open datasets related to your solution.

Please make sure to review the criteria and apply for a grant and we will get back to you.

There are no official restrictions for indirect costs. However, we do our best to ensure that we maximize the amount of cash that goes directly towards engineering, research, or data collection costs. For most universities, this means the cash is a gift to the university, but we also sign a collaboration agreement to ensure we are all on the same page with expectations and deliverables.

If you have questions about the awards program or the application process not answered in this FAQ, please email us at ai4aques@microsoft.com.