Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Seven Indian Organizations to Receive Microsoft’s AI For Earth Grants

Photo Credit: Microsoft India Facebook page.

Microsoft has selected seven Indian organizations for its “AI For Earth” program that aims to build solutions for the environment through artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

According to an official statement, the recipients of the grant will have access to Microsoft Azure and Artificial Intelligence computing resources along with related education, training, tools, and additional support.

With seven recipients, India now ranks third after the U.S. and Canada as the country with the highest number of grantees, the company statement said. The aim of “AI for Earth” is to accelerate innovation and building sustainable game-changing solutions built on AI technologies and cloud computing.

Started in June 2017, AI for Earth is a five year, $50 million Microsoft initiative which allows environmental groups and researchers to collaborate to battle “some of the World’s most intractable problems by marshaling the immense power of AI, machine learning (ML), and the cloud,” the statement said. The program concentrates on climate change, agriculture, biodiversity, and water.

Wee Hyong Tok, Principal Data Science Manager of AI & Research at Microsoft said, “AI can play an important role in monitoring the health of our planet.”

The Indian organizations selected are: Indian Institute of Technology and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad for agriculture, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) of Bangalore and Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi for Biodiversity, Symbiosis Institute of Technology, Pune for Climate change and water along with India Institute of Science of Bangalore.

Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer and Lead for Microsoft AI for Earth said, “In every country around the world, we are facing unprecedented environmental challenges, impacting the ability to access water, grow healthy crops, and protect biodiversity. At Microsoft, we’ve found that one thing was accelerating as quickly as the degradation of our planet’s natural resources, and that is technology. Through AI for Earth, we’re making sure that innovative environmental researchers, like the seven here in India, are empowered with Microsoft’s AI in the pursuit of creating a more sustainable future for us all.”

Keshav Dhakad, Group Head and Assistant General Counsel – CELA, Microsoft India said, “At Microsoft, we believe AI for Earth will be a force multiplier for groups and individuals like these who are creating solutions for a more sustainable future for us all. Today’s announcement represents an expansion of Microsoft’s commitment to and investment in democratizing AI and advancing sustainability in the country. We congratulate the recipients and are excited by the potential for advances in AI and sustainability that will benefit India and the world.”

Since its launch, the project has grown from 20 grantees to 147 from across more than 40 countries, with $1.1 million of Azure credits awarded to date.