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IRCAI, AWS Launch 'Compute for Climate Fellowship' To Fund Climate Tech Start-Ups

It will select start-ups with ideas to tackle climate change and fully fund the building of their proofs of concept

IRCAI, AWS Launch 'Compute for Climate Fellowship' To Fund Climate Tech Start-Ups

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON August 07, 2023 10:32 PM

The International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), an organisation under the auspices of UNESCO, and Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) launched  Compute for Climate Fellowship. This global program will support entrepreneurs and start-ups applying advanced cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to create new solutions that address the climate crisis. 

The Compute for Climate Fellowship will select start-ups with innovative ideas in this space and fully fund the building of their proofs of concept (POC). Applications open today and submissions will be accepted and selected on a rolling basis. Applications received by August 31, 2023, will be chosen for development still this year.

"Artificial intelligence is quickly developing as both an academic and practical discipline. At IRCAI, we aim not only to be a guiding post in developing these new technologies but also to ensure they are a force for good for humanity," said John Shawe Taylor, Director at IRCAI. "Through this collaboration with AWS, we want to find some of the most innovative start-ups out there and help them ethically leverage AI and advanced computing to build groundbreaking solutions that address some of the key challenges created by the climate crisis."

IRCAI and AWS will select proposals that think big, have the most innovative use of advanced cloud computing, and the most significant promise for global impact within six key problem areas in the fight against climate change. This includes climate risk and resilience, food security, biodiversity and conservation, climate-related health, circular economy and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) analytics.

Through the fellowship, global climate tech start-ups will have access to various technical resources to build their POCs. IRCAI and AWS will provide selected start-ups with a team of AI, sustainability and ethics experts, as well as access to advanced computing services. 

Some of these are high-performance computing (HPC), and technologies including AI, generative AI, and machine learning (ML). AWS will also provide participants with credits to cover the POC build. In addition, all POCs will be designed under the guidelines of UNESCO's Ethics Impact.

Dealing With Climate Change

Climate change has created some of our most complex and pervasive problems. Earlier this month, the world recorded its hottest day with the highest average temperatures globally, according to data from the U.S. National Centers on Environmental Prediction. 

Wildfires, floods, droughts, and rising sea levels have been consistently ravaging different parts of the planet for years, posing a real threat to food security, health, and biodiversity. As we continue to see an increase in the effects of the climate crisis, thousands of tech start-ups are creating new and innovative approaches to help delay and reverse its impacts. 

The Compute for Climate Fellowship will help selected start-ups accelerate these solutions' research and development process with comprehensive technical guidance and access to AWS advanced computing services to bring their POCs to life.

"Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our generation, and our message to the innovators out there with this program is: bring us your boldest, most visionary ideas, and we'll help you build them for free," said Howard Wright, VP and Global Head of Start-ups at AWS. "By offering computing capabilities and access to new technologies, such as generative AI, to start-ups tackling climate-related challenges, the Compute for Climate Fellowship will continue our mission of driving sustainability through the cloud and hopefully help us change the course of the climate crisis."

Advanced computing and artificial intelligence have already shown great promise in helping create solutions to fight climate change. IRCAI is mapping AI solutions worldwide that are contributing to the advancements of the UN Global Sustainability Goals. 

AWS supports customers developing early-warning systems for food insecurity, analytics for health equity in the context of climate change, intelligence to power the circular economy, and modelling and simulation capabilities using HPC to identify and mitigate climate-related fires, floods, and heat waves. The advent of generative AI has also sparked ideas for new solutions in this space. 

AWS is helping customers explore how Large Language Models can help remediate biodiversity loss, support mental health interventions in impacted populations, and foster innovation among automotive manufacturers focused on reaching net-zero goals, electrification, and circularity. 

By supporting start-ups developing innovations in these spaces, the fellowship hopes to advance IRCAI's goal of applying ethical and cutting-edge research in AI and providing new solutions to AWS customers interested in becoming more sustainable.

Applications for the Compute for Climate Fellowship are now open. All applications submitted before August 31, 2023, will be considered for development this year and may have the opportunity to be showcased at AWS' re:Invent conference in November 2023. Those submitted after September 1, 2023 will be considered for development in 2024.

Start-ups who apply but are not selected to participate will have access to up to $5,000 in AWS credits through the AWS Activate program and free workshops and training on how to use AWS Advanced Compute services to build their solutions.

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